Imagine one fine day you get an invitation card stating that you are invited to attend a treasure hunt. You will be left for one day in a place full of diamonds, gold and silver to grab as much as you can. Naturally, out of human value for wealth, you will start preparing for this day well in advance to make sure you can accumulate as much as you can.
The reason I brought up this example is because in this materialistic world, humans can understand the worth of something only when it is compared to precious assets. Such an invitation has been given by Allah (swt) when he granted us the month of Ramadan, full of blessings and mercy.
After a year full of sins and heedlessness, each year Allah grants us the month of Ramadan:
- To expiate ourselves of the sins and free one’s neck from the Hellfire.
Prophet (pbuh) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).
- Numerous opportunities to raise one’s rank in Jannah and earn Jannat al firdaws.
Prophet (pbuh) said: Allah the Majestic and Exalted said: “Every deed of man will receive ten to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord” (Muslim).
- Earn entry into Jannah through Bab Rayyan.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“There is a gate in the Garden called ar-Rayyan which those who fast will enter on the Day of Rising, and none but they will enter it.” It will be said, ‘Where are the fasters?’ They will stand up and none but they will enter it. When they have entered it, it will be closed and no one else will enter it.” [Al-Bukhari]
We should prepare ourselves for this treasure hunt well in advance to reap the most benefits from it. Here are a few tips to help you make the most from this Ramadan.
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1. Fasting the first half of Sha’ban
Prophet (saw) used to fast most of Sha’ban in preparation for Ramadan. Just like we have preliminary exams before the final boards in order to realize our weaknesses and strengthen our preparation, fasting in sha’ban will better prepare our body and mind to welcome Ramadan.
‘Aa’ishah (R.A) said: “Prophet (saw) used to fast all of Sha’baan, he used to fast Sha’baan except a few days. [Bukhari, Muslim]
2. Plan a schedule
Plan your day as to how you can create a balance between work life / house chores and Ibadah. Various Ramadan planners are available as worksheets / phone applications to help you plan your optimal day in Ramadan.
3. Get done with your groceries & cleaning
Do your groceries and detailed cleaning up of the house 2 weeks beforehand. You will not end up starting your Ramadan with a tired body and mind engrossed in house chores rather than Ibadah.
4. Plan your meal timetable
Women end up wasting half their fast in preparing Iftar and the rest of their night preparing Suhoor. Make a whole month plan for simple yet fulfilling Suhoor and Iftar to ensure that you enjoy the feasting within limits. And you don’t have to spend time planning the iftar daily. If you make home made frozen items, do so in advance.
5. Finish your Eid shopping
Rather than wasting the last 10 precious nights in over-crowded markets, get done with your clothes shopping, tailoring, accessories well in advance before Ramadan.
6. Stop being an owl
Correct your sleeping patterns prior to Ramadan. Put all meaningless entertainment activities to a halt and follow the Sunnah way of sleeping, which is to sleep right after Taraweeh and wake up for Tahajjud. Try to have a few power naps during the day to energize yourself and prevent fatigue.
7. Delete anything unproductive on your mobile devices
If your mobile media contains songs, movies, fiction novels, delete it! Fill it with Islamic lectures and Qur’an tafsir that will help to revive your faith.
8. Say good bye to your bad habits
If you have been thinking about quitting any bad habits for a while, then this is your opportunity. Since the Satans are chained in Ramadan, you have better control of your Nafs to get rid of any addictions. The month of Ramadan is like a military camp where in you can discipline yourself and transform yourself for the better. So make a list of your bad habits and strike them off one by one as you conquer each.
The entire year we get engrossed in the world tending to our responsibilities and livelihood activities. This month effort should be made to prioritize religious duties while fulfilling the worldly responsibilities to earn the reward of Jannah.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The five daily prayers, from one Jumu’ah to the next and from one Ramadan to the next are expiation for (sins committed) in between, so long as you avoid major sins.”
So have you geared up to welcome Ramadan? Share your Ramadan preparation tips below.
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