At the end of every Ramadan there is always mixed feelings of loss that the blessed month has ended alongside the joys of the celebration of Eid. Then it gets to Hajj season and six months to the next Ramadan and we start fearing the return of the month of fasting. Rather than looking forward to Ramadan (and its blessings) we start to fear the long days, and the usual things like ‘how will we fast for so long?’, ‘I can’t go to work and fast, it’s just too hard,’ etc. In this article I will look at ways that you can start looking forward to Ramadan with such a passion that you will wish it was tomorrow In sha Allah!
We know that the Sahaba used to start preparing for Ramadan six months in advance. If you can do that then that’s awesome. However, for many of us with busy lifestyles and the hustle and bustle of life, our priorities are not always right. That doesn’t mean it is too late. There is no doubt that we should be aiming to make the best of every act we do in Ramadan, and preparing for the blessed month will help us in multiple ways.
Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” [Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1887].
The 3 things I recommend every year to prepare for Ramadan are:
Abu Hurairah reported that the most the Prophet would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that and he said: “On Mondays and Thursday Allah forgives every Muslim except two who have forsaken one another. He says: ‘Leave these two until they reconcile.’” [Ibn Majah].
Not that you need any more reason to do voluntary fasting but what is absolutely amazing is that modern scientific research is showing the benefits of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is basically the scientific name for fasting two days a week, or 3 days a month, or fasting every other day. Each of these are clearly set out within the Islamic tradition and it is wonderful that these practices are now being advocated by non-Muslims.
If you feel that doing a 16-hour fast is too difficult outside Ramadan at this stage, then I suggest you cut down on your food consumption for a few days a month so that you can prepare your body for the food reduction that will take place.
This isn’t charity-giving in a conventional sense but working out how much you will give and planning it with your family- your spouse, your children, maybe others.
Prophet when asked which charity is best, “He said: Charity in Ramadan.” [Tirmidhi] and Aishah narrated that “He said: ‘Do as much of good deeds as you can, for Allah does not get tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of deeds to Allah are those that are continuous, even if they are a few.’ [Nasai]
These hadiths remind me that even though we should give charity in Ramadan, rather than being overzealous and giving everything in the first few days or saving it all for the last 10 days of Ramadan, why not work out how much you will give and then split it over the 30 days? For example: My children have £30 to give in charity. Through the ‘charity planning’ meeting we discuss how they will give this out and they usually decide to give £1 a day. They can then give this to any cause they choose and it’s the small consistent act that has powerful impact outside Ramadan. Often they will make charitable donations outside Ramadan because the habit of giving was formed in Ramadan. Alhamdulillah.
The Power of Dua
Many of us know how to make dua but at the same time we have no idea how to ask Allah for the things that we desperately want. We go on year on year, day by day making the same old dua for the same old things. If you want to turbocharge your life this Ramadan, this needs to change. You need to adopt a new dua habit In sha Allah.
Prophet Muhammad said “The most excellent worship is Du’a.” [Sahih Al-Jami', no. 1133]. And Allah tells us in the Qur’an “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’ Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” [Qur'an: Chapter 40, Verse 60].
So why have we stopped asking Allah for what we really want? In preparation for Ramadan I urge you to take some time out and dedicate it to working out what you really want from your life so you can strategically plan your duas this Ramadan. Don’t be shy of Allah , and don’t ask for a little. His bounty is huge and He can answer all your duas without diminishing his bounty.
Make this year’s dua planning session different to those you have done in the past by writing things down. Work out what it will look like when you have achieved it and also plan a few milestones.
If you are able to do these three things then In sha Allah this Ramadan will change your life. Many times I have read articles like this and then only put one of the recommendations into action or carried on without any change. My suggestion to you, dear reader, is to take a few moments to reflect upon what you just read and think about how you can put this into your life. Remember it is small changes that are needed. There is nothing radical in these suggestions its just the impact is huge especially if you do all three… and I know this from personal experience!
About the Author:
Saiyyidah Zaidi is a Business Coach and Positive Psychologist. She is currently studying Arabic and pre- Alimiyyah studies in London. Saiyyidah is also the founder of Working Muslim and has delivered various online seminars including Chocolate Centred, Journey Planner and Earning Halal. Saiyyidah can be contacted at www.facebook.com/WorkingMuslim