06 May A Ramadan to remember
Ramadan is here once again and once again we find ourselves asking that question: how can I make this Ramadan better than my last? And whilst we are living in one of the most uncertain times in living memory, one thing is for sure: this Ramadan is going to be unlike any other.
Every year we tell ourselves that we are lucky to have lived to see another Ramadan but this year we actually mean it when we say it. There are millions of people who were here last year but are unfortunately not here this year and the uncertainty of what is currently going on means that we can’t be sure as to whether we will live to see another Ramadan either. Which means that we really have to make this year count as it may be our last. To help you make the most of this sacred month, below are some things that you can do.
The first thing that you need to do is reflect. You can’t improve yourself if you don’t know what to improve on. Just take a moment and close your eyes and think about the previous Ramadan. What did you do? What would you like to improve on? Maybe you only finished reading half of the Quran and would like to finish a full one? Maybe you prayed only some of your Taraweeh prayers and would like to pray all this year? Whatever the improvement is, no matter how big or small, it is important. Write it down somewhere so that you can see it and remember what was written.
Enhance your worship
The next thing you can do is enhance your worship. Instead of just praying the Fardh, why not pray the Sunnah and Nafl along with it? But it might not just be about the little acts of worship. It could also be about the bigger life changes you want to make like starting to wear a Hijab. After all, Ramadan is like a massive boxing day sale. You’ve been waiting the whole year for the sales to come because that bag, shoes and perfume you’ve been eyeing are all finally cheap enough for you to buy. Ramadan is similar: we can finally do all those deeds we wanted to do because they’re so much easier. To begin with, all the Shaytans are locked up and you no longer have that nagging voice in your ear telling you that this is a waste of time. In addition, you are motivated as you are not preoccupied with thoughts about lunch and dinner and what to eat. Furthermore, we know that we are getting seventy times the reward we will normally get so now is the best time to cash in on the good deeds.
Make a dua list
Moreover, you can make a Dua list. Allah loves it when his believers ask – so ask, ask and ask again. With this knowledge, think of everything you would like to ask. At the moment, your mind might go blank but take the time to think things through. What is your heart’s greatest desire? What do you want more than anything else in the world? Don’t lose hope if your Dua is not answered the first time. Remember, one of three things will happen: your Duas will get accepted, you will get something better in return or you will get mountains of reward simply for asking! So, whichever of the three outcomes you get, it’s all win-win.
Plan your day
Despite wanting to do every act of worship every second of the day, things will have to be kept realistic and practical. You have to plan your day. You can’t just go with the flow; you have to have a structure and organise your schedule. This will maximise your efficiency because, this way, you won’t be exhausting yourself and you will be allowing your body time to rest and to have energy for the worship ahead. And, to have a productive day, here are three tips:
- Try to have a nap in the afternoon to recharge your battery. Even if it’s a short one for twenty minutes, power naps have been proven to re-energise your body. For those who work, have a short nap after work or, for those who are parents, get in a short nap whilst your kids are napping.
- Keep your day easy. If there are any tasks that are not vital or can be postponed until after Ramadan, leave them. You need as much time and energy as you can get.
- Iftar is inevitable. You will have to eventually think about what to make. But make it as light and simple as you can. Make simple dishes and use paper plates to avoid washing up and to decrease your workload.
Evidently, we all have responsibilities that we cannot put off or tasks that we have to base our schedule around such as work, school or looking after kids. It doesn’t matter if you are unable to stay up the whole night for worship, do as much as you are able to but strive to make it more and better than it would be outside of Ramadan. And think about the last ten days. What are you going to do to make that superior to the rest of the month? Think about it and write it down so you remember. Do something that motivates you and mix up your forms of worship so that you do not get bored. And remember, whilst you are worshipping during the night, it is important to eat and stay hydrated.
For women who are on their period, don’t be put off by it. Make the most of it. Instead of reading the Quran, listen to it. You can make dua, help make Iftar or give charity because even these little actions will get you a lot of reward. The path of good deeds is endless.
Whilst the coronavirus is seen by many as a nuisance, we can actually use this to our advantage. This year, we are going to be at home all month: no school, no work and no unnecessary outings. This also means no time wasted. With the time freed up from not having to commute to work or going to pick up the kids from school, we can spend a lot more time worshipping instead. And because everyone is at home, take this time to develop and worship together as a family.
Don’t overlook the fact that many of the people who were here last year are not here with us this year. And it is only because of Allah we are still alive and that is something we should be thankful for. We should show our gratefulness through the worship we do. And this habit we develop should not be just for Ramadan; Ramadan is merely a way of helping us to get our act together for the rest of the year. At times, the marathon will seem too long to complete and you may be feeling tired but hang in there and push yourself. Don’t just make this Ramadan a good Ramadan. Make this the best Ramadan ever.
By Sumiyya Iqbal and Maryam Muneeb
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The Prophet (Pbuh) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small.