8 simple steps to prepare for Ramadan
By: Wesam Kerayem
Source: Jamiatul Ulama
Have you ever wondered why it is difficult to concentrate in your prayer? Or why your faith throughout the year is not on a high like it is during Ramadan or through Hajj? Maybe it is because we usually jump straight from a phone conversation into Takbir or because we just go with the flow in Ramadan and are influenced by the environment around us and not our own ‘real’ feelings.
A lot of us usually live life and have our faith dependent on an upcoming major event i.e. “I’m going to start reading a page of Quran a day as soon as Ramadan starts; I’m going to start praying Qiyam every night when I come back from hajj; or, I’m going to stop smoking when my child is born.” And because of this way of thinking we usually end up with an anticlimax; we don’t end up giving up smoking, we don’t end up praying Qiyam and we start reading Quran but then get back to our normal old self after a few days or weeks.
This is because these ‘statements’ or ‘feelings’ are based on impulse and not a real thought out plan. We usually don’t prepare for Ramadan or hajj or have a plan for our faith to stay at the increase; we just go with the flow and expect it all to happen. Well, it doesn’t!
Wouldn’t you love to enter the month of Ramadan on a real high and have the effects of this beautiful month be a permanent impact on your life thereafter?
How can this be done? Below are the 8 steps for a Legacy of a Ramadan.
Step 1 – Create a Ramadan Count Down
Counting down for Ramadan (whether it is done mentally or by keeping physical signs around the home or office) will help create hype and buzz in your mind and amongst the people around you. When you and others are counting down to the same event, it becomes part of regular conversation and excitement spreads.
Step 2 – Seek knowledge about Ramadan
This will help you ensure you will do things correctly and perfectly for Ramadan, it will create a hype as there are many motivational aspects and events in the month to look forward to and finally it is a reward reaper. The more you know about Ramadan the more you can apply, hence multiplying your rewards.
Step 3 – Make a Ramadan plan
Be it reading the entire Quran, ensuring you pray taraweeh every night or inviting families over for iftaar; make a list of things you would like to achieve in the month and then how you plan on achieving these goals. It is important that goals are realistic and it is better that your life doesn’t need to entirely take a different road in this month (i.e. take the month off work or change work hours etc.) so that you may continue to do these deeds after Ramadan. Knowing what you want to achieve in the month will help you stay focused. Ensure you plan your day every night before you sleep when Ramadan starts (try to continue this even after Ramadan).
Step 4 – Know your life
Be aware if Ramadan affects anything that is happening in the month or shortly after. Do you have exams during Ramadan? Or is there a major family wedding after Ramadan by a short time? Moving house? If so, plan for these events from now. Study now so that you are prepared for the exams before the month starts. Be packed and ready to go before Ramadan or plan that you do it after so that it doesn’t take time away from your worship. The last thing you want to do is spend Ramadan at the shopping centres. Buy any Eid presents and prepare for any wedding before the month starts.
Step 5 – Prepare spiritually
We all know that Ramadan is about Fasting, Praying, Reading Quran and giving in charity. Start these worships early; don’t expect to just click into it as soon as the first day of Ramadan starts. Start doing extra prayers from now, start revising and regularly reading Quran now, get used to being generous and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and fast during Sha’baan.
Step 6 – Prepare your mind
Fasting is to refrain from more than just what we consume in our mouth. Start working on your patience; be extra vigilant with your conversations: ensure you are not backbiting, slandering or talking about useless things.
Step 7 – Say ‘good riddance’ to bad habits
Know what bad habits you have and stop them from now, don’t wait until Ramadan begins. If you sleep late, start sleeping early, if you are a Facebook junky start cutting down, have a coffee craze, slow it down etc. It might sound much easier said then done, but once you’ve committed yourself, purified your intentions – make sincere dua for guidance. Insh’Allah, these bad habits will be easier done with than you ever expected.
Step 8 – Plan your life around your worship
For instance; instead of working through your prayer or setting up meeting etc., at prayer times, plan that you have a break at prayer time. Don’t take your phone with you to the place you pray and forget the world as you stand between the hands of the almighty Allah(glorified and exalted be He).