How To Prepare For Ramadan
Alhamdulillah, Allah has brought us closer to another blessed month of Ramadan. It is a month promised to the believers that the doors of Jahanam are shut and the Shayateen are put away. A month where Allah’s Mercy, Forgiveness and Blessings are showered on all those who simply ask. Allah's Apostle (SAW) said,
"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the shaitaans are chained." (Bukhari 3.123 Narrated by Abu Huraira)
So how can we not take full advantage of such a beautiful month?
Even the sleep of a fasting person is regarded as worship. Ramadan, my brothers and sisters, is for us! It is a chance to gain closeness to our Creator, to reap the rewards of this life and the hereafter, and to experience the true Islamic way of living. It is only through patience, sacrifice and perseverance that we will find ourselves spiritually fulfilled, learn to please Allah, and have hearts that are content.
So how do we prepare for a month so great? Here are a few suggestions…
1. Time For Paying Back
If you haven’t already - pay back any missed fasts from the previous Ramadan, any salah that you missed from previous years, and complete any tilawat of the Qur’an that is still incomplete.
2. Take a Moment to Reflect
Try to understand the wisdom behind the act of fasting. It is an opportunity to realize the bounties that Allah has given us. Every day we sleep with our stomachs full and wake up knowing we’re going to fill it again. When we’re hungry in Ramadan, we should try not to groan about our empty bellies, and rather make shukr for the times it is filled. When we fast, we stay away from food because we choose to, what about the millions of starving people who are left with no choice?
3. Use Your Time Wisely
Realize that Ramadan is only one month of sacrifice. Switch off the television, ease-up on social networking, forget about the FIFA World Cup and the various other distractions for at least this month. Use that free time to decide what you could be doing to gain Allah’s Pleasure. Recite the Qur’an, perform Zikr and Nafl salaah. As long as you have Allah on your mind and have left sin far behind, you’re heading the right way.
4. Start Setting Goals
Be realistic, there’s a good chance you will be successful, Inshallah. Perhaps last year you read one juz of the Qur’an per day, this year try reading two juz to finish the Qur’an twice. The aim is to beat the achievements you made the year before. If you paid charity last year whenever you could, this year you can get involved in a volunteer program aimed at feeding and tending to the less fortunate. There are several ways to improve your previous Ramadan's resolutions, all you need to do is beat your own competition.
5. Instill Good Manners
It is truly wonderful how many of us try our best to become better people in the month of Ramadan. We tolerate what we normally wouldn't, and we become more understanding and forgiving. But who says we should only be that way in the Holy Month of Ramadan? It’s not something you should switch on and off. So if you feel there are some aspects of yourself that need improvement, why not work on it from now already, then maintain it even after Ramadan.
6. Learn To Be Charitable
Ramadan is a time that people open their hearts and homes to others. We share our meals with others, give gifts, and worry about those less fortunate than ourselves. Alhamdulillah it is a month of much blessings, but as Muslims, we should be charitable at all times. Start today by doing simple acts of kindness or random good deeds, both in business and at home. Do some nice act unexpectedly for someone, and keep them guessing what got into you. Most importantly, bite your tongue before saying anything harsh whether it's true or not. What do you have to lose right? All these acts are charity too.
7. Realize The Essence of Ramadan
Remember that Ramadan is not about the food. Parents, it’s okay if the meal isn't extravagant. Now and then if you make someone’s favorite iftaar then by all means enjoy, but there is no need to make so much food that everyone leaves the table feeling like they have to roll to the prayer mat. The key is to prepare enough to nourish our families to get them going for the Taraweeh prayer and another day of fasting.
As for me, I'm all geared-up to make the most of this Ramadan Inshallah, so I hope that this has been an insightful read, so you too will get ready and prepare early for Ramadan. May Allah (SWT) Accept our fasts through His Grace and His mercy. Surely Allah Ta’ala is the Most Generous and the Most Kind.
Author Sister Fatima - Studying journalism and memorizing the Holy Qur’an. Eloquent and beautiful words have always captured my attention, and when I read the Glorious Qur’an, it captured my heart. I believe that there are mountains of knowledge, but we have yet to stumble upon it. Every day we should learn something about our Deen… something inspiring, something motivational, and something interesting. My aim is to inspire and warm the hearts of others while I journey on this path of knowledge, and through this, I hope to get closer to Almighty Allah (SWT)