The month of Ramadan is a time when we should maximise good deeds. Being active at a community level is one way of doing so. Ramadan offers you the opportunity to serve your community and to get close to it. Here are some tips for achieving this:
1. Help at Home
During Ramadan, everyone wants some extra time for reading the Quran and making dua. However, some members of the family are busier and have more responsibilities than others. Sharing these responsibilities and re-organising the way tasks are distributed at home for Ramadan could help everybody to have more time for Ibadat. Here are some ideas to help organise household chores:
(i) Sit down with the whole family and decide on who does what. For example, iftar is quite a hectic time. If everybody knows exactly what to do, it saves on time and avoids confusion (everyone trying to do the same task at the same time) and the whole family is left with enough time to make dua. However, since doing the same task everyday can become tiring, do a roster so that each week members of the family have a different task to do.
(ii) Time management is very important during Ramadan and therefore it is best to organise and allocate tasks according to the schedule of each member. For example, the last person who leaves home tidies the house before leaving and the first person to return home starts preparing iftar. The youngest or busiest members may set the table and do other lighter tasks.
(iii) Try to wake up earlier and do your Ibadat and other personal work during this time so that you can help others later. Do not keep your personal work for hectic moments when others need help.
(iv) The most important thing is that everybody should maximise on Ibadat. If you can do more work than what you are used to, do it as this might make more Ibadat time for another person. This is also a good deed. Instead of trying to divide house chores equally, see to it that everybody has the same amount of time for Ibadat.
2. Help in the Mosque
Try to free yourself from not-so-important activities and spend more time in the masjid. You will always find some beneficial things to do.
(i) Mosques are busier and more active during Ramadan. You can offer your help by proposing to clean the masjid, by bringing some iftar, etc.
(ii) Most mosques have a notice board. Write a hadith or a verse from the Quran that inspires you every day. This way you might learn something new and you might also teach or touch somebody who is in need of it.
(iii) Organise talks with the children. With a group of friends, speak to the children about the role of the masjid and the etiquette’s of people who go to the masjid. This way, children would be more interested to come for prayers and at the same time they would understand how they should behave in the masjid, especially during salah time.
(iv) Organise study circles and discuss matters which might help you during Ramadan. Students could also do their school work together. This way they take less time doing the work and help each other as well.
3. Participate in Community Life
(i) Pick up people while going to the masjid. If there are old people or people who do not have a car in your area, propose to pick them up while going to the masjid.
(ii) Once in a while, prepare iftar for your relatives, friends, and neighbours, Muslims and non Muslims. You could do this every week by preparing iftar for neighbours in week 1, friends in week 2, etc.
(iii) Help those who want to go for I’tikaaf. If you are not going for i’tikaaf yourself, help those who are. You could propose to bring their meals every day. If some of them have old parents, help them by preparing their meals, doing their groceries, etc.
4. Help the Poor
(i) Collect Zakat and sadaqa. Although there are organisations that do this, participate by going out and meeting the poor, to see how and where they live. Go out of your way by visiting poor people who live far away.
(ii) Zakat ul Fitr is usually paid during a time when most people are busy preparing for Eid. Plan what you have to do a week ahead, and keep some time to distribute Zakat ul Fitr. Invest yourself in this task thinking that you might be helping families to have a nice Eid.
Community life is important and can be very fulfilling. Above all, it helps you collect good deeds and prevents you from idling away your time.
About the Authors:
Loubna, Nushrat and Hanna are sisters and students at different levels. Since they face the same challenges in the course of their studies, they thought that Muslim students around the world might be in the same situation. They want to share some of the things that have helped them.