Tips For Planning Towards An Outstanding Ramadan
1. Repent to Allah; Start preparing for Ramadan by repenting to Allah subhanahu wata’la. Our hearts are rusty from the sins that we have accumulated since the last Ramadan. We cannot start the marathon of Ramadan in fifth gear without removing this rust from our hearts. And there is no other way of removing this rust except by repenting to Allah. Repent to Allah and abundantly ask for His forgiveness. Make abundant istighfar; sit in Qiyam, reflect on the year, cry out to Allah & sincerely repent
Also reconsile with your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. The worst thing that could happen to anyone of us is to go through Ramadan and not have out fasts forgiven because of a grudge we are holding. Whatever has happened has happened. If you have a person you’ve boycotted, call up that person and end it now.
2. Set realistic Goals and be confident about them; I can’t over emphasize the importance of goal setting and planning in Ramadan. If you want to succeed in anything , you have to do serious planning.
It is a very gloomy reality that Muslims youths today do not have lofty goals when it comes to his or her religion. We spend time planning and having goals about life (school, marriage)or school(graduate, postgraduate ) but with Deen it’s just the barest minimum and just whatever comes our way.
Tips on Goal Setting
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T
S-Specific. Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s as specific as possible. That means having all the details about how you’re going to reach your goal specified.
M-Measurable. This is very important as you’ll only you’ve succeeded at something when you’ve completed your task. So what you can do is to be charting your progress so you can physically see it on paper so
If you’re lacking it’ll motivate you. The heart wheel journal is a good chart for that.
A- Attainable – Proper goal setting means that you choose goals that are within your reach. Goals should be tailored to what you as an individual can achieve.
Realistic – While you do not want to limit yourself. You should keep in mind that your goal must be in line with what can physically and logically be arranged at the time.
T- Time Bound – Each goal you set for yourself should be locked in time. This means that there should be a deadline in which your task or goal should be completed.
*Do what you love, There are so many good deeds that you can do. Some people love to feed the poor and cook food and give to others. Others invite a lot of people to their house or take food to the masjid. Other people love to read the Qur’an a lot and dedicate more time. Other people love to do salah and qiyam’l-layl. Some people love spending more time in the masjid and others love to spend more time in seclusion. Some people push themselves so hard in what is not what they enjoy in acts of ibaadat and may force themselves to read the Qur’an more and are too exhausted to doadkhaar or tarawih, and this is not a smart plan. Do what you really love to do. Choose and select the good deeds you enjoy doing and increase them more and more. Make your plan around these deeds that you love and enjoy doing.
●Be prepared & adaptable; you may fall sick, or have to travel, or an important test comes up; don’t change it but make changes to your schedule.
If you start reading five juz every single night and then realize that they are too much and then decrease to threejuz and then you are short two juz. As you try to make up and do seven, you start to lose hope. Expect yourself to adapt and change. Do something reasonable every single night like reading three juz and move on with your schedule. Don’t simply cancel the good deeds you have started just because you think you are falling behind.
3. Dua list
Ramadan is a great time to make dua. A dua list will ensure that you will not miss out any important dua that you want to make to Allah subhanahu wata’la during this blessed month. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The dua of the fasting person will not be refused.” [Reported by al-Bayhaqi, 3/345; al-Silsilat al-Saheeh, 1797] Ask your family members for their specific Duas and write them down; this’ll take care of the time consumed to be remembering the various Duas.
4. Tie loose ends; if there is a project report that is due in the middle of Ramadan, finish it before Ramadan. Buy all your groceries and stock them in your house before Ramadan. Whatever you want to buy for Eid, buy it before Ramadan. I will not be exaggerating if I say that it is a calamity to go out for shopping during this blessed month. Because going out for shopping will deviate you from your daily routine, distract your focus, destroy your inner peace, cost your precious Ramadan time, and put you in trial, as markets are places where Allah is scarcely remembered. Majority of the stores give Eid promotions during the month of Ramadan and unfortunately people fall for it. You will find that shops are packed when qiyamul layl is going on in the mosques. Isn’t it a calamity that people choose some miserable promotions of duniya over the promotion of Allah subhanahu wata’la?
5. Eating habit; Ramadan is the month of fasting not feasting. We all grew up knowing Ramadan to be when we’ll be eating special kinds of cuisine and I’d be lying if i said i too don’t look forward to Ramadan because of that.
I’m not going to tell you to stop preparing different all the dishes but I just want to advice us to mind our eating habits. Overeating is a bad habit especially in Ramadan, it makes us weak and we won’t have energy to do things. Sh. Kamal El- mekki in his lecture, eating habits in Ramadan, made a very noteworthy analogy, he said ‘Food is supposed to give you strength, so if you eat food and it makes you weak then you must be doing something wrong’.
When we overeat during iftar, we get sluggish in taraweeh and at sahoor, when we overeat we just go to the toilet in the morning and go back to being hungry for the rest of the day.
So let’s be cautious not to overeat in Ramadan.
6. Cyber itikaf; I can’t tell you to eliminate the internet completely in Ramadan as there are alot of beneficial resources in Ramadan, alot of lectures, articles, series, etc . But i’m going to tell you to reduce the amount of social medias you engage in in Ramadan. Do you really need Facebook,whatsapp, Bbm, Twitter, snapchat, and instagram all in Ramadan? ! If you genuinely want reminders then 1 or two will be enough. Social medias really take up our time, you’ll understand when you do it. E.g when you log onto instagram, you keep going from one page to another- and can use up to 10 minutes, do you know how much you could’ve done with those ten minutes? !
References: Planning For an Outstanding Ramadan by Amirah Mauthoor, 10 points for excelling in Ramadan by Yaser Birjas