Wow, Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah! Ramadhaan is here yet again!
For some reason year after year, many of us still feel as though the month has 'snuck up on us' yet again however in reality we've know that it was coming all along. If we've been organised and have thought ahead, we would now be all set, prepared and focused on the tremendous opportunity of great reward and forgiveness. But if we've procrastinated up till this point, then we might be feeling a little anxious and panicked about Ramadhaan already being upon us.
Alas, all is not lost! If we have not yet set some goals or prepared anything for the month, we still have some time to set some goals in motion with the hope of having our very best Ramadhaan ever insha Allah.
All we need to do, is set aside half a day (or a little more) and put pen to paper in order to put some thoughts and wishes into action. You can use the many Ramadhaan planners that are available online or you can simply jot ideas and goals down in a notebook.
Here are some essential Ramadhaan preparation tips and action points:
1) Have a Ramadhaan journal that you use every year so that you can always look back and refer to your previous years' goals, accomplishments and failures. This will allow you to acknowledge your amazing progress as well as attend to areas that you haven't been progressing in. Use this journal to list your duaas, goals, ideas and Quranic reflections. Spend some time reflecting on your current state of Iman, what you want to achieve this Ramadhaan and what changes and improvements you need to make in your life.
2) Write down 10 ideal goals for the month and highlight the 5 MOST IMPORTANT ones to commit yourself to. For example pray taraweeh every night, read the Quran in Arabic & English, give more charity, pray 12 sunnah prayers each day and so on.
3) List 10 bad habits that you need to change or areas you need to improve on and highlight the 5 MOST IMPORTANT ones to commit to. Examples would be less TV, stop backbiting, delaying salah and so forth.
4) Write down a duaa list that you can refer to every day when performing tahajjud and before iftar (have dinner organised early so you have AT LEAST 15 mins before iftar to read your duaas calmly). Use duaa from the Quran and Sunnah as well as your own personal supplications and wishes.
Abu Hurayrah (R) it is related that the Prophet (SAW) said,
“Whatever is prayed for at the time of breaking the fast is granted and never refused.”
5) Write out a daily Quran reading & memorising schedule so that you are reciting a certain amount each day (and reading the meaning) as well as memorising new verses and reviewing previously memorised chapters. This will help you to stay committed to your Quran throughout the month as it should be one of your daily PRIORITIES after the Salah.
6) Brainstorm a list of good deeds that you would like to do during the month. For example:
- Give lots of Sadaqah
- Clean the Masjid or someone's house (or your own lol)
- Invite others for Iftar (but keep it simple!)
- Deliver Iftar containers of food to people (if you'd prefer not to do an iftar at your house)
- Pack little bags of dates, nuts & treats to give to the worshipers who break fast at the masjid (especially those making I'tikaf in last 10 nights).
- Attend to the needs of converts, single mothers, widows, orphans and the poor in the community. Make an extra effort to help raise their spirits this month (particularly if they are going through a hard time).
- Take sweets to your neighbours with a little note explaining the relevance of this time of the year for Muslims.
- Write to Muslims in Prison (e.g. Guantanamo)
7) Write a list of Eid preparations that you need to do and get them done ASAP (especially before the last 10 nights) so that you can focus on what's important this month.
- Do your gift shopping online where you can get all you need delivered to your door! (e.g. Kmart.com.au etc)
- If you like to bake for Eid, think about doing it before the last 10 nights and freezing the biscuits, or again, just keep it simple and only do a few things so it doesn't take from your worshipping time.
8) Do some reading about Ramadhaan, look up some beneficial articles and watch lectures on preparing for Ramadhaan as they will motivate and inspire you inshallah.
9) Lastly, put together a set daily schedule so that you can adequately allocate time each day to the achievement of your goals and tasks. Inshallah you will be better able to commit to your new and improve lifestyle routine.
May Allah accept all our efforts throughout this month and grant us His mercy and forgiveness Ameen!
Here are some handy websites and links to help you with your preparations and productivity.
Productive Muslim - lots of productivity ideas for all areas of life.
http://productiveramadan.com/ - specifically focussed on Ramadhaan productivity.
ramadan.com.au - An Australia website with all sorts of useful resources and links.
Ramadanprep.com - Great videos to get you motivated!
http://ramadanbattleplan.com/ - A great example of a ready-made manual to use and fill out.
Ramadan TV - Live programs, lectures, kids shows, nasheed and more.