Be Ramaḍān Ready
Preparation Tips for Your Best Ramaḍān
Any Muslim will tell you, the month of Ramaḍān is a special time of the year. A month that is anything but ordinary. It’s a time to invest with the Almighty. There are multiple statements from source texts regarding the virtues, status and significance for this blessed Ramaḍān season. Believers are promised increased blessings, rewards, pardon, forgiveness and prosperity.
The question is, however, why do so many Muslims fail to maximise the season. We end up entering Ramaḍān with very little to no motivation to accelerate and optimize. One reason for this state, is due to the lack of preparation and groundwork prior to the arrival of the blessed month.
Here-below are some preparation tips and suggestions to assist you in propelling to maximum potency to reap lucrative blessings during Ramaḍān. A Ramaḍān you’ve always dreamed of. A Ramaḍān that brings transformation. A Ramaḍān that is the best ever!
The key in all of this is to begin early, in the month of Rajab or at least Shaʿbān. As the saying goes, “Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to dig a well!”
If one is not prepared prior to Ramaḍān, the first leg of Ramaḍān will be spent in just trying to adjust to a sudden body change, ubrupt schedule and sleep alteration. Hence, the lack of required stamina and passion to attain a productive Ramaḍān.
Intentions with Journaling
Get in the right frame of mind by making a firm resolution to do and be the best in Ramādan. Make the intentions to use Rajab and Shaʿbān to warm up and get into the mood for disciplined devotions and responsible temperaments. Solidify your intentions by writing down your goals, action plans, activities and schedules. Synchronize your intentions with your plan in a journal. Use post-it notes and place them somewhere you can see them everyday. Your sincere intentions are powerful foundations for passionate action.
“Every individual will attain what they intend.” (Bukhārī)
Imam Ibn Qayyim (may Allāh’s mercy be with him) said, “An intelligent person will not be motivated to an action without a resolute intention.” (Ighāth Al-Lahfān)
Abd Allāh Ibn Amr (may Allāh be pleased with him) would write everything he wanted to memorize and materialize, from the advises of the Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him). When the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) heard of this, he congratulated him on his practice and commitment. (See: Abū Dāwūd, Musnad Aḥmad)
It is vital to enter the days of Ramaḍān with a positive attitude. Upon hearing about ‘Ramaḍān’ are you thinking about sluggishness, hunger, disturbed schedules and long nights of prayer? Or is positivity, activeness, meaningful fasting, excitement, worship, charity and anticipated rewards crossing your mind?
Having a positive outlook regarding Ramaḍān changes the way you will benefit from the month.
Sufyān Al-Thawrī (may Allāh’s mercy be with him) would be so excited when Ramaḍān would draw nearer. He would say, “The season of profound goodness is approaching.”
Ibn Rajab (may Allāh’s mercy be with him) would say, “How can a believer not rejoice over a period wherein gates of paradise are opened, gates of hell are shut and devils are chained? There is simply no better time than Ramaḍān!”
Mu’alla Ibn Fadhl (may Allāh’s mercy be with him) said, “The great ones would supplicate six months prior to Ramaḍān, anticipating its arrival.”
Shaykh Ashraf ʿAlī Thānwī (may Allāh’s mercy be with him) said, “Embrace the month of Ramaḍān with absolute excitement and fervour!” (Khutubāt Al-Aḥkām)
Knowing the jurisprudence of Ramaḍān, fasting, tarawīh and charity will empower you to maximise the month. Knowing the how and what will facilitate efficiency and productivity. Take a Pre-Ramaḍān course. Sit with the learned to get your clarifications. Read a Ramaḍān manual. Knowledge is a guiding light. Acquire it and use it!
“Your path to seeking knowledge will facilitate your path to paradise.” (Bukhārī)
An imperative foundational act to commence progress and productivity is to commit to leaving all bad habits and sinful activities. Many of us are very ambitious to bring positive transformation into our lives (a praiseworthy quality, by the way) but our bad habits and the lack of discipline keeps us locked down.
A man came to Ḥasan Baṣrī (may Allāh’s mercy be upon him) and asked why it is difficult for him to render good deeds such as nightly prayer, even though he intends and prepares for it. Ḥasan Baṣrī (may Allāh’s mercy be upon him) replied, “[Perhaps] your sin has imprisoned you [and held you back].”
Making tawbah (repentance) and seeking forgiveness is a vital first step. Let’s do it!
The mercy, facilitation and benevolence of the Almighty is needed to achieve anything and everything. Therefore, take out time, everyday, for at least a good 5 minutes or so. Supplicate for strength and divine assistance to maximise the best Ramaḍān.
“I am with my slave when he or she supplicates to me.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
“Keep us safe [and vibrant] for Ramaḍān.” (Ṭabrānī)
Physical preparation will keep you active, energetic and vibrant to be the best you want to, during Ramaḍān.
Getting into the Groove
Get into the habit of everything you want to do in Ramaḍān now. Do not expect a sudden change on the first day of Ramaḍān. If you want to be punctual with prayers, start praying now. Attend congregational prayers in the masjid, at least for ʿEshā everyday, so you will be accustomed. Attending tarāwīḥ won’t be as difficult. Fast at least a few days in Shaʿbān so it won’t be a complicated transition when Ramaḍān sets in. Get into the groove and mood well in advance.
The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him), Companions and the pious predecessors started practices of Ramaḍān in Rajab and Shaʿbān.
ʿAmr bin Qays (may Allāh be pleased with him) would significantly reduce his business activity and dedicate time for worship and Qurʿānic recitation once the month of Shaʿbān would set in.
Anas (may Allāh be pleased with him) says, “Muslims would delve into Qurʿān related activities once Shaʿbān would enter.”
Ramaḍān is the month of the Qurʿān. The Qurʿān was revealed in Ramaḍān. There is an intimate and special connection with the two. Therefore, developing a strong relationship with the Qurʿān is necessary during Ramaḍān. If you are not accustomed to reciting or studying the Qurʿān, take out at least 15 minutes a day to recite, read and understand. This will give you a massive advantage as you enter Ramaḍān.
Food and Fasting
Start reducing your food intake prior to Ramaḍān. Cut down on few items slowly as Ramaḍān draws nearer. Fast on Mondays and Thursdays. Try fasting the bright days 13th, 14th and 15th of Rajab and Shaʿbān. This way you generate the habit of fasting and ease the matter for the blessed month.
The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said, “The best fasts are the fasts of Shaʿbān, in preparation for Ramaḍān.” (Bayhaqī)
It was the consistent habit of the Messenger (peace and blessing upon him) to fast the entire month of Shaʿbān except the last two days.
Develop a suitable sleep schedule that will enable a smooth transition into Ramaḍān. Start waking up for qiyām[and or tahajjud] now, at least once or twice every week.
Humām Ibn Ḥārith (may Allāh’s mercy be upon him) would schedule a suitable amount of sleep in order to engage in nightly prayer. He would then supplicate to Allāh, the Almighty, by saying, “O Allāh, facilitate maximum comfort for me in little sleep, grace me with moments of obedience [and prayer] during the early parts of the morning, prior to dawn.” (Siyar Āʿalām Al-Nubalāʾ)
Sufyān Al-Thawrī (may Allāh’s mercy be upon him) told his students:
“The best way to manage your sleep is to set up your sleep schedule and sleep early. Thereafter, once your eyes open from the night’s sleep, spring out of bed and get up to worship the Almighty.” (Ḥilyat Al-Awliyāʾ)
Let the people around you know of your goals. Those at home, school and work. Ask them to remind you. If they are Muslim, get them on board with you. Promise to each other, you’ll motivate, remind and inspire each other to maximise both the days leading up to Ramaḍān, as well as the moments in Ramaḍān.
Salmān (may Allāh be pleased with him) said:
“True believers are those who support and benefit each other in good deeds.” (Iḥyā ʿUlūm Al-Dīn)
Did you know we all have 720 hours in the month of Ramaḍān. If we minus 8 hours of daily sleep, we will be left with only 480 hours. We need to really manage our time well to maximise every minute.
It is advisable to complete all your shopping and groceries prior to Ramaḍān. Your ‘Eīd garments and gifts should also be taken care of before the blessed season. Reschedule any unnecessary appointments for after Ramaḍān. If you can take some time off from work, that would be even better.
“Oh Abū Dhar (may Allāh be pleased with him)! Be watchful over your time more than your wealth.” (Makārim Al-Akhlāq)
This is also an amazing time to set up your Ramaḍān schedule and related goals. Write down everything you want to achieve and set up a planned schedule. For example, if you would like to complete the recitation of the Qurʿān during Ramaḍān, you can have a fixed schedule to recite one juz (part), daily, either in one sitting or at a few intervals during each night and or day.
The days leading up to Ramaḍān, is a great time to remove all the distractions. Eliminate or at least minimize time wasters, such as gossip, social media, unnecessary meetings and also entertainment. Groom yourself to be very disciplined with these things. You’ll have so much time for better meaningful activities. Get into the habit before Ramaḍān. Watch yourself propel to heights of productivity and creativity.
“It is from the excellence of a person’s Islam that they should refrain from everything that is of no concern to them.” (Tirmidhī)
The pious predecessors would actually remove not only distractions, however even some of their regular positive activities so that they may maximise and accelerate in Ramaḍān. Imam Mālik (may Allāh’s mercy be upon him), the great jurist, would stop teaching ḥadīth during Ramaḍān, giving his students holidays, so that he and his students could individually engage with the Qurʿān during Ramaḍān. This is an inspiring example from those who seriously desired to maximise Ramaḍān.
Let us all take the inspiration and make this Ramaḍān the best ever by planning, preparing, practicing, scheduling and engaging.
I pray for your success.