It’s with so much joy that I compose this blog post! I am a huge aficionado of Ramadan and everything that it entails. For those who are unfamiliar with Ramadan, it is the ninth month on the Islamic calendar in which Muslims are commanded to fast (abstain from food and drink) from sunrise to sunset. This is done to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). During this month it is advisable to engage in more acts of kindness and charity and to spend increased amounts of time in prayer and worship to God. This time is also utilized by us to seek God’s mercy, forgiveness, guidance, and love. Whilst energy levels are low due to decreased fuel intake it allows us time to reflect and exhibit humility, empathy, and patience.
“O you who believe! Observing al-sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).” (2:183)
It brings me back to my first conscious Ramadan, 2011, where I experienced such a strong presence of God in my life. I call it my first conscious Ramadan because that was my first Ramadan of my choice. At a time where I consciously made the decision (the BEST decision) to revert to Islam. I vividly remember one night of Taraweeh in particular. I was so overwhelmingly overcome with emotion. So grateful, feeling so undeserving, so full of conviction. When prostrating down in sujood I began to cry. I cried silently and felt no embarrasement about the tear stains mixed with mucous sliding down my face. To be surrounded by such devotion and worship, I mean to actually be a part of such magnificence….words cannot begin to accurately describe the feeling.
Needless to reiterate, I love the month of Ramadan and I personally believe that the key for success during this time is PREPARATION! I have taken the liberty of compiling a few of my preparatory steps. Check them out below!
– Begin making a list of what things you will opt to stray away from, outside of food and drink, during the month of Ramadan. Be it gossiping, backbiting, laziness, cursing, lying, watching un-Islamic TV/YouTube shows, social media addiction, music, ect.
– I always tend to donate more financially during the month of Ramadan. My husband and I will discuss the best way to donate to multiple entities and come up with an agreed amount. It’s not necessarily the amount of money donated but the amount of heart behind each donation. God knows what is meaningful and what is for show. Do this solely for the sake of Him. Search your heart and do what you can.
– Start to think about what goals you’d like to achieve during this Holy month. Some aim to read the Qur’an in full. Others intend to make it to Taraweeh prayer each night or to donate food items weekly to the mosque. Whatever you’d like to accomplish begin by making it a concrete goal with actionable steps.
– Write out a list of prayers or duas you plan to recite or ask for. This is a great time to search the depths of your heart. What do you truly want to pray to God about? What would you like to ask for? What pains/sorrows do you want eased? Think about yourself, your family/loved ones, your fellow Muslims, your community, those across the world struggling, those slowly losing their souls. Pray for those making a difference in this life. Though your list can easily become pages long, hold onto it and sincerely pray to our Lord.
– Is taking time off for the last 10 days an option? Even if just for a few days, it WILL BE WORTH IT! During the last 10 days Laylatul Qadr, also known as the Night of Power, occurs. This is a time in which every good deed from Maghrib prayer until Fajr will be rewarded a minimum of at least 83 years’ of worship! Some of us won’t even see 83 years on this Earth, Glory to God! How immensely powerful is this?! For your own sake, plan to participate to the best of your abilities.
“Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an: The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.” (97:3-5)
– Start preparations ahead of time for a timely and stress-free suhoor and iftar. Chop vegetables in advance. Cook foods and begin to store them in the freezer. Purchase ‘grab-n-go’ foods such as breakfast bars, dates, assorted fruits, carrots and hummus, ect. Anything that will lessen the amount of time spent in the kitchen and will increase the amount of time in devotion should be done.
– We know all good actions benefit from multiplied rewards during the month of Ramadan. So start to train your mouth and mind now to sing His praises and engage in dhikr (remembrance of Allah). It will become second nature and much easier to do next month.
For more helpful resources check out this link: http://productivemuslim.com/ultimate-ramadan-preparation-resource/
Came across this during my research and found TONS of great and easily understandable tidbits.