Thursday, May 10, 2018

How to Prepare for Ramadan (Ramadan Series-2)

    15 Tips to Prepare for Ramadan

    O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.
    Baqarah - 183
    The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion
    Baqarah – 185

    Assalamu alaikum!
    Ramadan is a blessed month awaited every year by Muslims all over the World.
    This is the month when the Quran was revealed.
    A month when the gates of Hell are closed and the gates of Heaven and Mercy are opened. A blessed time where All the Jinns and the Shayateen are chained up. A month that should be the changing point in your life - where you bring a mental, physical and spiritual change in yourself.
    This blessed month needs to be prepared for in advance.

    Allah says in the Holy Quran [9:46] :
    "And if they had intended to go forth, they would have prepared for it [some] preparation……"

    One of the biggest mistakes we do in Ramadan is jumping head first into it. We don't prepare our minds, bodies and souls. We should approach Ramadan similar to how athletes approach their games. Before their games, they will come early and start warming up and start running various drills. They are warmed up, their muscles are relaxed and they’re ready to go.
    The whole year we sin and expect ourselves to become saints in this Holy Month without any preparation. This is what causes us to relapse back into our old selves after this blessed month ends.
    IF one really wants to benefit from this month and be emancipated from Hell-fire and wants his sins to be forgiven, then he should prepare for this month in advance.
    The Sahabahs and the Salaf would eagerly prepare for Ramadan six months prior to it, and they would invoke Allah to make them reach it.

    Start preparing today, and welcome Ramadan the right way.

    Here are a few ways in which you can prepare for this blessed month that is coming up:

    1. Make Dua:
    You never know when you might die. It could be today or tomorrow. Ask Allah SWT to help you reach this blessed month. Don’t wait for Ramadan to come to start changing yourself. Do it today, Start now. Ask Allah to make you reach this month. Ask Him to make this month beneficial and blessed for you. Ask Him to help you stay on the right path and to keep your Iman (faith) strong.
    For five minutes turn off your phone, get away from the laptop/computer, and other interruptions. Then, make a deep, sincere Dua to Allah that He make this the best Ramadan of your life, especially in terms of spiritual benefit.

    1.  Purify intention:
    Allah (SWT) only accepts and rewards deeds which are done sincerely for His sake.
    So purify your intention to fast for His pleasure in Ramadan – not for show off or because your Muslim family/ friends are doing so – and you will be rewarded in full measure. And strive to carry out your deeds according to the sunnah so that it becomes a form of worship.

    1. Refresh/Increase your knowledge:
    Ramadan is the most blessed month of the year. It's important to enter this month with the right information.
    What better way to prepare for Ramadan than learn about it?
    Read books and magazines and articles about its Significance, What the Prophet and the Companions and the Salaf used to do in this month to prepare for it, Read the Quran and the Sunnah and learn what Allah SWT says about Ramadan.
    Learn the importance of fasting, its rulings and how it should properly be done.
    This way you'll get a lot of tips and tricks on how to make this coming month your best Ramadan.

    1. Set goals for Ramadan
    Ramadan is the month of change. Sit down with a piece of paper and make a list of all the things that you want to change about yourself in this blessed month.
    Set targets in terms of what you want to achieve. Come up with a plan using this list and targets and describe how you want to fulfil them
    What do you want to achieve in Ramadan and beyond?
    Make a list of tour top goals and work towards it from now. Having an actual plan will give you a direction to work instead of being lost.

    1. Warm-up for Ramadan:
    Like I've mentioned earlier, throwing ourselves headfirst into Ramadan without any preparations will only result in a backlash. Suddenly refraining our bodies to hours without food will only cause us to become weaker and lazier - we won't be able to focus on any of the Ibadahs(worships).
    We need to warm up slowly to the month - to fasting, to refraining from several actions.
    We need to slowly get our bodies, souls and minds prepared for what is coming by warming up like athletes before a run.
    A few ways you can warm up to Ramadan is by:
    •  Increasing the Ibadahs during the month of Shaban
    • Performing some nafl fasts like fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.
    • Increasing the recitation of the Qur'an
    • Giving some extra sadaqah
    • Reciting the daily Adhkar
    • Replacing bad habits such as music with Nasheeds and Quran
    • Getting used to the new schedule by going to sleep early, right after Ishaa and Taraweeh so you can get up in time for Suhoor.
    • Taking a short nap in the afternoon. Set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes and find a safe, calm place
    When Ramadan comes, you will already be warmed up and you will hit the ground running.
    Try to ease into Ramadan on an upward slope and maintain your consistency throughout.

    1. Remove distractions:
    The month of Ramadan only comes for a limited time. Having distractions that will consume our time only takes us away from the Remembrance of Allah. Our schedules are already altered with the early morning Suhoor, occasional naps and late night prayers. Allowing everyday distractions to continue throughout the month only results in us wasting precious time that could be used in gaining the immense blessings of this month.
    It's important to create an atmosphere in the house that will help and encourage in working towards gaining Allah's pleasure. This can be done by cutting out television, movies, video games and other such things that will only waste our precious time and distract us from our ultimate goal.
    Replace these useless things with family time where you could sit together and read Quran, talk about Allah and spend time together.
    Fasting hinges on self-discipline and restraint in many ways.
    Distractions could also include wasteful interactions. Limit your eating, talking, and other things you do on a daily basis and reserve your energy for what's more important

    1. Clean up!
    Do some serious cleaning right now. Whether it’s a Physical, Spiritual or Mental clean up, do it RIGHT NOW!
    You could start with spiritual cleaning by purifying your intentions - that you're fasting SOLELY for the sake of Allah.
    Do a mental clean up by ridding your mind of all worldly worries - you will have time for that later. Focus on this month - right now and leave the future up to Allah. Rid your mind of ill thoughts, grudges and any hatred you have towards others. Fix up all your broken relationships and put your mind at ease.
    Physically cleaning the area around you is just as important. It will help you stay focused and nobody wants to work in a dirty environment anyways!
    Clean up and organize your fridge, kitchen, bedroom and even entire apartment. It will keep you focused on fasting when the time comes.

    1. Make time for Quran:
    The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion
    Baqarah – 185
    Ramadan is the month of Qur’an.
    The Qur’an was sent down in this special month. While a lot of people focus on finishing the Quran a number of times this month, they forget that it's not important how many times you read the Quran but rather how much you’ve understood. It's important to build a relationship with the Word of Allah - to understand what He's saying. And this can only be done gradually. Therefore, it's best to start now!
    Set out a small window of time for building this special relationship even if its 10 minutes after Fajr prayers. Get in the habit of reading, understanding and pondering over it form now.

    1. Find a Ramadan Buddy:
    Find ONE person that you think will be a good partner to help reach your goals. Support each other and keep each other accountable for your Ramadan goals. Make it a mutually beneficial relationship where you both seek the Pleasure of Allah SWT and help each other race towards Jannah

    1. Spread awareness:
    Talk to your family and friends - Muslims and Non-Muslims- about Ramadan.
    Remember the information you gathered back in step three?
    Share this information with posts, books, flyers, lectures and pamphlets with authentic information and make everyone aware of how much of a BIG deal Ramadan is.
    Find any place and time and use any kind of opportunity to talk about Ramadan and its importance.
    Ask and answer questions in an open and friendly way. Speak awareness and share your knowledge. There are many people who lack awareness about Islam and its important pillars. Spread the right information and in Sha Allah, you will be rewarded for it every time someone follows your advice.

    1. Make a list of Duas:
    Take a paper and write down all the Duas you want to make for yourself, your family, friends and everyone else this Ramada. Sit with it right before you break your fast and make Dua from the list.

    1. Complete the menial tasks:
    We've already established how much of a blessed time this month is and how limited It is. Therefore it's important to not waste it by doing menial tasks that can be done earlier like shopping. We usually do the Eid shopping during the last 10 days of Ramadan. You see the markets overflowing with people trying to find the perfect dress, accessories or makeup to wear on the day of Eid. These ten days are best days of the month. One of these nights is equal to a 1000 months! Do we want to spend this precious time in the markets - the most hated place by Allah?
    Finish your Eid and grocery shopping before Ramadan. Dedicate the whole month for Allah alone.
    Anything that can be done before this month arrives, should be done and put out of the way.

    1. Make a meal plan:
    Usually, the ladies of the house spend hours and hours in the kitchen preparing a feast for the Iftar. Ramadan is not a month of feasting,  but rather of Worship.
    Make a meal plan before Ramadan and stick to it so you are not stuck in the kitchen most of the blessed month. Share the cooking and clean up tasks among the family on a rotating basis.

    1. Get in the mood:
    Decorate your house with Ramadan lanterns, lights and bukhoor. Involve kids in making posters and decorations so you can feel the excitement. Make cards or E-Cards and send them out to family and friends or Post them on Facebook wishing them a "Ramadan Mubarak". Put up reminders around the house.
    Print checklists and any task lists and put them up where you can see them.
    Ramadan and Eid are supposed to be happy occasions so get in the mood and spread the excitement.

    1. Do a Countdown:
    Use a wall calendar or a digital one to tick off daily as you countdown to the special training month.
    This will prepare you mentally and keep you in strong anticipation for the sighting of the new moon.
    You won’t be left feeling lost and confused when you hear Ramadan is in two or three days' time.

    That’s it for today folks!
    Wishing you a very happy and fruitful preparation of Ramadan.
    I hope these tips helped you out.

    Remember the focus of this month should be on improving yourself and your lifestyle - don’t let it be the exact replica of the other months.

    Check out the Previous Post in the Ramadan Series - How to make the best out of Ramadan
    Stay tuned for the next post in the Ramadan Series (There will be FREE checklists) to help you have a productive and fruitful Ramadan!

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