Written By: Sabreen Said
ramadan is upon us!
Alhamdulillah, Ramadan is approaching faster than ever! Each year, it appears to go by quicker and quicker, subhanAllah. It is my absolute favorite time of year for many reasons, which I will discuss. With this year's Ramadan being very unique, it is a good idea to prepare yourself and what your Ramadan will look like, inshAllah.
Before I begin, I pray that Allah swt blesses you and your family with a beautiful, healthy, and beneficial Ramadan. Now, let's get started!
my love for ramadan.
Growing up, you don't necessarily see the true benefits of Ramadan. Sometimes, it's easy as a young child or teenager to view Ramadan as a headache, inconvenience, or a burden - it's sort of normal. It's okay to feel this way if you haven't truly learned the benefits you get from Ramadan and how important it really is. Ramadan is a cleanse for our mind, soul, and bodies. It is to teach lessons and to purify our hearts. It is to guide us closer to our Creator and to practice being better Muslims while the whispers of shaytan are no longer guiding our actions. It gives us the chance to ask Allah swt for His forgiveness of all sins and protection of all evils and immoralities. If we truly take advantage of each Ramadan that Allah swt gives us the chance to be here for, we will then have a successful Ramadan, inshAllah.
PREPARING FOR RAMADAN.
This Ramadan, as we know, is going to be a very unique one. With what is going on in the world with Covid-19, this Ramadan is going to feel quite difficult. We will not be able to go to our Masjids to pray Taraweeh, we cannot visit family and share iftar together, and we cannot even celebrate Eid as we normally would - it's upsetting and could be demotivating for some of us. Without all of these things, there are still some ways to ensure you have a great and beneficial Ramadan, inshAllah. Read more to find ways to prepare you for this Ramadan.
1. goal setting
It's always a great idea to begin Ramadan with a few realistic goals not only in mind, but written down on paper. This will give your brain more of the push that it needs to accomplish those goals. It feels more legitimate, more serious, and feels like you've committed to something. Get a small journal or just a sheet of paper, and list the the goals you want to accomplish during this Ramadan.
For example, my goals are:
1. Pray all five prayers each day of Ramadan and after.
2. Pray Taraweeh at home every night.
3. Read 30 pages of the Quran per night with my husband.
4. Learn and memorize a new Surah once a week.
5. Learn how to read and write more Arabic.
You should put your goals somewhere you can see them each day of Ramadan and even keep track of them! Each night, I'm going to check off if I've done everything I needed to for that day. Checking things off really do help keep your motivation and help you feel accomplished!
2. food intake
Ramadan can be extremely tough for some of us with large appetites! If you're anything like me and eat a ton of food each day and literally look forward to your next snack or meal, it's time to start cutting back. In order to prepare not only our minds, but our bodies, for Ramadan, we have to make cutbacks, slowly but surely. The week or few days leading up to Ramadan, try to limit your food intake to prepare your body to fast for almost sixteen hours (give or take).
Breakfast - Coffee
Lunch - 2 dates
Dinner - Small meal
This will help your body be satisfied and comfortable with less food. If you do this, even for the few days before Ramadan, it will put ease on you, inshAllah.
3. cozy PRAYING corner
Inspired by @ghenas.diary on Instagram, I've created a really cozy corner in one of my bedrooms to have as a relaxing space during Ramadan and inshAllah after. It's nice to create a corner that you find comforting to pray, read Quran each night, and to just relax. This is where you can write down and keep track of your Ramadan goals and make duaa, etc. Decorate it with all of your favorite things (e.g., a plant, diffuser or candle, flowers, fuzzy blanket, cozy area rug, basket with prayer rugs, your Quran, pillows, etc.) Ever since I've done this, it has been motivating and reminding me to be committed and consistent with my salat. It just may be the push you need!
4. changing habits
A great way to prepare for Ramadan each year is to start breaking any bad habits that you have - whether it be greed, envy, pride, smoking, swearing, wearing revealing clothes, dating, badmouthing, gossiping, disrespecting your parents, listening to bad music - the list goes on. Try to break these habits and replace them with good habits!
Ramadan is the perfect time to break bad habits - the shaytan is locked away and Allah swt is always the Most Forgiving! It is never too late to seek forgiveness. It is also in the time of Ramadan where you have the best chance to confront the bad habits you are partaking in and break them with the help of Allah swt.
Create good habits by not listening to music during Ramadan, complimenting and appreciating others, being respectful to everyone around you, being well-mannered, holding your breath every time you want to gossip or swear, and so on.
You know yourself the most. Maybe, you can write down these bad habits in your journal and write down ways to break them by turning them into good habits! It is the perfect time to do so - take advantage of it and inshAllah your new habits will stick far after Ramadan ends!
5. making AMENDS
This may be a tough one for most... But making amends with past friends, family members, and coworkers is such a blessing in disguise. You don't want to go into the Holy Month of Ramadan feeling some sort of grudge or hatred against someone. I'm not saying to reconnect and apologize to a girl you stopped talking to five years ago... I'm saying that if you had any recent affairs with someone and there is some sort of tension between you guys, resolve it. You don't have to be on speaking terms again (although that would be wonderful), but at least prepare a meaningful apology to them or let them know that you accept and forgive their wrongdoing(s) towards you. Accepting apologies and accepting the wrong people have done to you is actually more beneficial to your mind and soul than it is to them! Go into this Ramadan feeling free of any drama, tension, or hate in your heart. It will feel so good - I promise it is worth it.
6. REPENTING YOUR SINS
Ramadan is all about repentance and forgiveness. It is such an enormous blessing for us to realize our wrongdoing(s), to understand that we have sinned, and to know that we should not have committed those sins. The guilt you feel is a sign from Allah swt - do not ignore it. This means He wants you to repent and be guided onto the right path. If Allah swt did not love you or did not have hope in you, He would not allow you to feel this. Confront your sins and repent in the days leading up to Ramadan and throughout Ramadan.
The worst thing you could do is know you've committed sin and hide from it. Do not just brush it under the rug and "try" to forget about it because you feel guilty - you will never forget about it. The only way you will forget, not hold guilt in your heart, feel terrible about yourself, avoid your religion is to repent for your sins and ask Allah swt to forgive you for those sins, in detail. Beg for His Mercy as Allah swt is The Most Merciful! If you believe He will forgive you as you give your sincerest apologies and repentance, He will forgive. You will be relieved of all your guilt and stress, and you will feel much closer to Allah swt as well as your deen. Do YOURSELF a favor and repent to Allah swt before Ramadan, so you can enter with a clean, guilt-free, and purified heart and mind.
If you were not praying prior to Ramadan and you feel guilty about it, it's okay. Ramadan is the best time to change that habit. Start by repenting to Allah swt about all the salat you've missed and ask Him to guide you to Him and to strengthen your salat every single night. Ask Him to forgive you for not praying and to shower you with His Mercy.
Please read this amazing quote below.
Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah Almighty says: Whoever comes with a good deed will have the reward of ten like it and even more. Whoever comes with an evil deed will be recompensed for one evil deed like it or he will be forgiven. Whoever draws close to me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to me the by length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to me walking, I will come to him running. Whoever meets me with enough sins to fill the earth, not associating any idols with me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness.”
7. preparing a schedule
One thing you should definitely do is plan a schedule for Ramadan. This will help keep the stress off your shoulders! I know we cannot share iftar with family and friends this year, but schedule time aside to call them or FaceTime them on a regular basis to still feel connected to them during this Holy Month.
Also, schedule a plan for dinners you'll look forward to eating each day of the week, that way you can feel organized. Especially with Covid-19, you don't want to be at the grocery store every single day - write a plan of what you're going to cook for the entire week and get everything you need from the grocery store in one trip!
Plan specific things to do throughout your day with your family or spouse (if it's just the two of you). For example, set aside time for you guys to read Quran together, discuss Hadiths, play a friendly game, bake dessert together, and to just spend time with one another instead of everyone sleeping in their room until it's time to unleash!
8. Decorate for ramadan
These days, there are so many decorations you can purchase for Ramadan! I know it's not something that used to be very popular back in the day, but nowadays, there is such a large selection of beautiful decorations for our Holy Month. I've never decorated my home for Ramadan before, but this year, I plan to. Especially being forced to stay at home all of Ramadan, due to Covid-19, I want to make my home feel extra spiritual. Unfortunately, we are going to lose out on a lot of Ramadan spirit this year simply by not being able to attend our Masjid for Taraweeh and not visiting family members, etc. You might as well make home lift the Ramadan spirit since you'll be there all month long! You can even find some beautiful decorations on Amazon!
Well, that's all, folks! Those are my preparation tips for Ramadan this year. If you've made it this far, I thank you! I hope that my words helped enlighten you and motivate you. I also hope that this preparation guideline truly helps you prepare for your upcoming Ramadan, inshAllah! If I have forgotten any tips, feel free to comment below to share with my readers!
May Allah swt bless you and your upcoming Ramadan, make it beneficial to you, and open your heart to seek forgiveness and guidance. May Allah swt protect you all from Covid-19 and keep you healthy and safe to fast this entire Ramadan, inshAllah!
Comment below with an Ameen!
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