Thursday March 25, 2021
With the blessed month of Ramadan almost upon us, a lot of us promise ourselves that: “This will be the year I will bring about a major change in myself and my acts!”. Nevertheless, do we really change? Is the change in our lifestyle during Ramadan transitory or permanent? The reality is most of us who consciously incorporate religious habits and righteous deeds into our lives during Ramadan, end up going back to their normal routines once Ramadan ends. So why not start preparing for Ramadan a little early?
The blessed companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) really looked forward to the holy month and started their Ramadan preparations six months in advance so they were properly equipped to reap its benefits. Ramadan is a month of fasting, jam packed with blessings and unlimited rewards for this life and the Hereafter. It serves as a channel to strengthen our bonds with Allah (SWT) and reignites our sense of reverence, remembrance, humility and humanity.
“And it is better for you that ye fast if ye only knew." (Quran 2:184)
So stop waiting for Ramadan to bring about that change in you and your actions, start today. Follow these basic and simple ways to prepare yourself for your best Ramadan:
1.Repent with all your heart and soul
The act of repentance should be carried out consistently and continuously. It is not limited to any time or day. Do not wait for tomorrow to ask for forgiveness for your sins. Get started today so you may enter Ramadan with a clean state. Take a moment every day and repent for your sins and ask for forgiveness from the Almighty for He is All-forgiving and All-merciful. This way you may proceed with the worship in Ramadan with a lighter and purer heart. Allah (SWT) says:
“And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed.”(Quran 24:31).
Fasting on a voluntary basis before Ramadan gears your body and mind for the upcoming holy month of worship and fasting. It is also our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) sunnah to fast in the month preceding Ramadan i.e. the month of Shabaan. However, if it is not possible for you to fast on a daily basis, skip a few days and do it alternately. You may:
- Fast on Mondays and on Thursdays
- Fast on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month, which are basically the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every
3.Step up your Quranic recitation habit
At the start of Ramadan, every Muslim sets a personal goal of finishing the whole Quran. However, most of us fail to fulfill that goal. Hence, in order for you to not fall short this year, get into the habit of reciting the Holy Quran on a daily basis. This will eventually incline you towards reciting the Quran for longer periods. Take baby steps; begin by reading a little bit every day, even if it is one page or a few surahs. Every bit counts, no matter how small. Recitation invites showers of blessings, especially during the month of Ramadan.
4.Pray some extra prayers
Seeing as Ramadan is a month full of extra voluntary prayers and worship, it’s good to get into the practice of it beforehand so it becomes easier for you to continue and that too, on a greater scale. Aside from the obligatory prayers, take out some time to pray those extra nafal and tahajjud prayers. A little extra effort right now will go a long way! Rewards and blessings of every act of worship are magnified and doubled in the month of Ramadan, so why wouldn’t anyone want to grab that opportunity? Take it one day at a time, set a schedule for yourself, sacrifice those minutes of sleep or leisure, and turn to your Lord. Moreover, don’t forget to make dua to Allah (SWT)- an act he loves most.
5.Introspect and start with yourself
Fasting is more than just the outward acts of abstinence from food, drink, and sexual relations, it is about something much more. The fast is as much of an external act as it is an internal one. It is about purifying your inner sense of self and your relation with Allah (SWT). Our relation with Allah (SWT) is strengthened by our good deeds, good intentions and the purity of our inner character. Ramadan is also about refraining from things that could potentially taint our heart and soul. So take a moment to introspect and question what all do we do in our daily lives that may harm the purity of our heart, mind, and soul. Once you know, make a daily effort to break those habits and steer yourself towards things that nurture your inner self and the world around you and things that bring you closer to Allah (SWT). Work on being a good person; be kind, be gentle, be helpful and be a source of comfort to the people around you. If you feel there is room for improvement in becoming a better person, make a conscious effort to do more good and abstain from evil.
These early preparations and a little extra effort will bring about a permanent change in our lives inshaAllah. So do bit by bit every day and inshaAllah you will be well equipped for the sacred month of Ramadan and the rest of your life.