Its almost that time of the year again! Here’s a list of things to do before the start of Ramadan to ensure maximum productivity and benefit:
1- Make a list for EVERYTHING. Including:
Grocery lists! I cannot begin to explain how many headaches, heartaches and stomach aches this has prevented! Buy everything except fresh produce in bulk; such as wheat, rice, sugar and flour.
Activities you want to take part in such as charity events, lectures, seminars, workshops, study groups
Areas in your life you want to work on and reform on the spiritual, physical, personal level
Your reflections on last Ramadan and how you would like to improve this time around inshaAllah
2- Start memorizing, revising and researching. Memorize more of the Quran and start revising what you have already memorized. This will definitely make your Taraweeh/Tahajjud more special, more so if you are studying the translation or tafseer as you go. Remember that a little goes a long way! Contact your local Imam in case you have any doubts or questions, and do some research yourself by reading Fiqh books that explain the rulings in a simplistic manner.
3- Cut down on garbage: Music, movies, television, magazines and immoral books will be a definite barrier between you and serious spiritual reform. Give yourself a break and cut down on screen time; including social websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Know your weaknesses and keep yourself busy to avoid getting into difficult circumstances and situations. Fasting is all about consciousness.
4- Plan a study circle with your friends to revise, memorize, contemplate, or to take notes on a recorded lecture series. It would be preferable to plan this at the time of the day when your energy level is low so that you don’t find yourself dozing off until Maghrib salah, or worse, fixed in front of the brain-freezing television set.
5- Find healthy recipes and resolve to eat moderately. Baked appetizers, soups and salads are a much better choice especially if you want to stay active and energetic for extra ‘Ibadah.
6- Fasting in Sha’ban as preparatory ‘Ibadah. Its like warm up before exercise.
7- Pray more Nawafil. Take extra care to incorporate the Sunnah prayers in your day such as two before Fajr, four before and two after Dhuhr, two after Maghrib and two after ‘Isha. Memorize du’as for your Witr prayers and make it special.
8- Make a list of du’as you want to make. Remember that you are beseeching the King of Kings and He does not tire of answering you. Remember to pray for the Ummah, your family and loved ones.
9- Buy all necessities before hand such as ‘Eid clothes and gifts. Clean out your closets and give away what you do not need. Clear up your kitchen and if preferred, freeze some food for emergency iftars.
10- Plan an act of charity per day with your family. Keep it small, but keep it consistent. Making iftar for the neighbors, giving a Riyal a day and installing a water cooler at the local masjid are all small acts of charity.
Finally, be proactive and don’t give up. Repent, repent, repent, and remember that your waking up every morning is another chance that Allah gives you to come back to Him.
Keep an eye out for our Ramadan series!
– The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)