It’s the month of Rajab and you may be thinking that Ramadan is still so far away, so why are we talking about it?
In reality, even though the month of Ramadan is still several weeks away, there is no better time to start preparing for it than now so that we can have a fulfilling Ramadan.
Many of us yearn for the month of Ramadan and look forward to it, but during the month and after it is over, you find that you didn’t exactly get the Ramadan feeling. You didn’t have the feeling of piety and the iman high that comes with it. Rather, you just fasted, prayed and that was it.
The problem is that we can’t just expect our Ramadan to be magical if we never made any preparations for it. If we keep doing the same things that we did before Ramadan came, how then can we prepare for Ramadan in order to enjoy it?
We need to get rid of spiritual distractions that can prevent us from tasting the sweetness of Ramadan way before Ramadan even arrives.
For us to have that deeply fulfilling Ramadan, let’s look at how we can prepare for it.
Audit Your Free Time
How long do you spend doing things that do not add much value to you? How many hours do you spend on Facebook watching cat videos? Or on Twitter watching people arguing, munching on your virtual popcorn?
Many of the things we do on a daily basis take up too much of our time unnecessarily, and they also distract us from our spirituality. You find people who are so engrossed in social media that they do not remember when it is time for salah. Or they binge-watch movies for hours on end and only stand up to combine all of their salah at one time.
If we want to have a Ramadan that is spiritually uplifting, then now is the right time to start dropping these habits.
Make a note of the places that you visit online (or offline) and how long you spend there. See how you can gradually cut down this amount of time over the next few weeks as Ramadan approaches. So that by the time Ramadan arrives, you are less attached to the things that spiritually distract you and you have time for more ibadah.
One good way to keep track of the time you spend, especially online, is to take a look at your phone’s settings and how much power each mobile application has been consuming. This will tell you (although I’m sure you already know) which places you spend the most time on.
Another tip is to remove notifications for every non-essential mobile app on your phone. Because the less you see notifications pop up on your phone, the less you feel the urge to open the apps.
Recite the Qur’an More
It is said that the sahabahs used to prepare for Ramadan six months before its arrival. Out of this preparation is to increase in the recitation of the Qur’an, and this is something that we also need in our lives.
The more we recite the Qur’an, the easier it gets on our tongues, in sha’a Allah. And when it gets easier on our tongues, we are able to recite more during Ramadan. This is a habit that we have to start practicing before Ramadan arrives.
If you hardly read a surah in the six months before Ramadan, how do you expect to magically finish reading the whole Qur’an in the 29/30 days of Ramadan?
Offer more Nawaafil Salah
One of the beauties of the month of Ramadan is the Taraweeh salah. It makes the Ramadan nights filled with more ibadah and it brings everyone together. For people who are used to performing extra salah during other months of the year, tarawih is usually easy for them.
If we want to become of those who find Taraweeh and qiyam ul layl spiritually uplifting during Ramadan, then now is the time to build our spiritual strength by performing more nawaafil salah.
If Allah (SWT) wills, we will earn more rewards from praying extra salah, and we will also be able to get rid of spiritual distractions as we pray more.
Spend Time Contemplating
Our lives are busy these days, such that we need to unplug and recharge ourselves often so that we don’t burn out. Spiritual distractions burn out our iman, and to prepare for Ramadan, we need to step away from a lot of things and build try to recharge ourselves.
Find time to withdraw and contemplate with your soul. Look around you at the creations of Allah (SWT), and let your mind focus on your deen.
The more we step back to contemplate on our faith, the less we are able to focus on things that will spiritually distract us.
Nearly every Muslim has grand plans every Ramadan. We make sincere intentions and do our best. But the fact is that if we want that Ramadan where we feel super connected to our faith and are able to do as much ibadah as we want, then we need to start laying the foundation way before Ramadan arrives.