7 Tips to Get Ready for Ramadan

posted in: Islam | 0

Imagine that you are getting ready for one of the most important tests in your life. Now imagine that this test has the ability to change so much about how you think, act and live. It could be a complete turning point that allows you to better yourself and your life. Wouldn’t you spend as much time as you can preparing, planning, and studying? Wouldn’t you stay up well into the night and wake up in the early hours of the morning, doing what you can to get ready for this test?

Now imagine that this test is Ramadan.

Ramadan is a time to focus on reconnecting with Allah (swt), increasing our eeman and taqwa but how does one achieve that especially with the hustle and bustle of life? It's extremely important to plant your seeds in Rajab, water them in Sha'ban, so that you may harvest as much as possible in Ramadan. Right now, there is only one month left until Ramadan. If you haven't started planting the seeds, ie. working on the habits you wish to change, creating goals to achieve and writing a plan to get there and so on then it's time to start doing that now. We want to benefit as much as possible during the blessed month of Ramadan and make the most out of it which means we must start preparing now.

Here are some tips to get you started: 

 

1) Write Down Your Goals

The first step for any journey is deciding where you want to end up. Take some time out of your busy day right now and sit down to draft a Ramadan plan. It's important to remind yourself as you do this of the intended purpose of fasting.

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed
upon those before you that you may become righteous" {2:183}

Set achievable goals that won't overwhelm you especially as a parent then go into more detail and write down actionable things you can do to achieve each one of these goals. If you're a parent it might include things such as, while the kids are napping I am going focus on learning something new in our Deen . Or every morning I am going to spend 5-10min reading Qur'an. Try to also set some goals that are a bit outside of your comfort zone and challenge you to become better. Consider setting goals in terms of the amount of dhikr you want to make, praying on time and with focus, how much Quran you'd like to read, giving to charities and when/how much, and connecting with family and the community.

Don't forget to set goals in terms of what you want to teach or instill in your kids this month also. It's important to instill a love and understanding of Ramadan while are kids are young, especially since they are bombarded with seeing other holidays everywhere else. Focus on teaching them the beauty and importance of Ramadan, read Qur'an with them around, involve them in acts of worship and explain their importance. Try to plan a few activities to do with them throughout this beautiful month to engage them and build their knowledge. One great resource is the Ramadan Activity Magazine by myDeen for kids ages 2-4, 5-7, and 8-11 that is filled with lessons, puzzles, crafts, stories, contests, activities and more. Its saves you some much needed time in preparation and your child will truly love completing every page while also learning at the same time!

Click Here for Goal Setting Worksheet

2) Focus on Dua'a

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:
“Supplication is the essence of worship.”
{at-Tirmidhi}

As you work towards planning for Ramadan, remember to first renew your intentions then make dua'a that Allah(swt) allows you to live until the blessed month and helps you in your planning and preparation. Then begin to brainstorm and write down what you would like to ask Allah(swt) for in Ramadan. There are many opportunities in Ramadan for your dua'a to be accepted, such as when you're breaking your fast, during the day fasting or while praying at night. Consider sitting down for a few minutes ahead of Ramadan and brainstorming about all you would like to pray. Being able to think carefully now and plan this out will greatly help you take advantage of those times so you don't forget to make dua'a.

3) Keep a Journal

Allah(swt) has blessed us with 29-30 days that only come once a year, and in them is a night that is worth more than a thousand months, which is 83 years! That could be more than your entire life. In order to make the best of those days, try to find out where you can optimize your time especially as parents with busy schedules and a million things to do. For a couple of days, keep a time journal in which you keep track of your activities, down to the minute if possible. It can be very exhausting, but it is important as it makes you more mindful of how you spend your time and can help you figure out where time can be saved and reutilized for worship. Doing this ahead of time will allow you the chance to re-arrange your day, critically assess your time and come up with the best plan and organize your time accordingly.

4) Increase Your Worship

The best of worship, is that which is consistent even if it is little. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

"Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah  is the most regular and constant even if it were little." {Sahih al-Bukhari}

The best way to achieve your goals this Ramadan, is to start consistently working towards them now. Pray on time and the sunnah when you can; create a Quran routine and link it with amount of time rather than amount of pages to encourage reflection/understanding; try to pray two raqaas of Qiyyam even if it's just once a week. The idea is to take small steps towards achieving your Ramadan goals now so that when Ramadan arrives you've already gotten ahead start.

Try including your children in these acts of worship whenever possible, so that you can get them used to what Ramadan will look like and also to help them learn about the spirit of worship regardless.

5) Condition Your Body:

Ramadan can take a toll on the body physically and it’s a good idea to prepare for it beforehand. Do some light exercising consistently in the time leading up to Ramadan, even something as simple as walking for a bit. Eat lighter food that is lower in salt and fat content. Try to stand up longer in prayer. Go to the doctor or dentist if you feel you may have any issues and don’t postpone; deal with these before they possibly get worse and disrupt your Ramadan.

It's also a very good idea to fast starting a month prior to Ramadan as a way to have your body adjust to having less food during the day. This will help you not feel as fatigued and tired during the first week of Ramadan so that you can focus your energy and the other things you want to get done. It is reported that the prophet Muhammad (saw) used to fast the most outside of Ramadan during the month of Sha'ban.

6) Reduce Your Responsibilities:

Ramadan requires you to balance responsibilities, ibadaah, and life in order to get the most out of it. Try your best to cut down on as many responsibilities as you can. For example clean the house thoroughly beforehand so only a little remains during Ramada. Plan a few set meals for Ramadan and stock your house in advance. If you’re able to meal prep so that you aren't left worrying and busy just with cooking that you are unable to do other things. Do your Ramadan and Eid shopping prior to Ramadan rather than during the last days of Ramadan. If you have any work deadlines or obligations, see if you can finish the bulk of them before Ramadan starts or get extensions.

Click Here for Meal Prep PDF Guidebook

7) Repent and Rejoice:

Take a moment to remind yourself how valuable these coming days are. They are unlike any other days of the year and to not plan for them would be to miss a huge opportunity. Ensure you have the right intentions and begin preparing yourself, your home and your family for this blessed month. Bring a joyful and thoughtful spirit to Ramadan by remembering it is a time for repentance and a time of celebration of Allah’s mercy. Encourage your family members to ask Allah for forgiveness and demonstrate that yourself daily. If you have young kids make sure to add some decoration, plan activities and make this time of the year special. It’s important that the family as a whole comes to recognize that Ramadan is a happy time of the year to re-connect/increase our connection to the Qur'an and Allah(swt).

Now that you know the test is coming and less than 30 days away what are you going to do to be as ready as you can to pass with flying colours?

 

Written by: Rania El-Badry

Edited by: Sanaa Izreig

Sanaa is the Editor-in-Chief for myDeen Magazines.