First appeared at Arab News. It is republished with the author’s kind permission.
Ramadan is one of the most auspicious months of the year. During this month, Muslims can reap maximum amount of benefits and rewards if they spend the entire month praying and worshiping Allah.
However, the excitement of feasting over fasting and the endless trips to the markets keep most of us occupied for longer than desired. For this reason a meticulously planned Ramadan is better than one that is randomly spent so as to make the most of this blessed month. Here’s a checklist that can help you in doing just that:
Ramadan requires us to tweak our lifestyles so as to make it healthy and productive. It’s not everyday that we get up an hour or so before Fajr to prepare for suhoor meals or to pray Tahajjud (night prayer). Therefore, before the arrival of Ramadan, it is a good idea to start adjusting our sleeping habits. Start off by going to bed early and waking up early. Once we form this habit, we will not feel sleepy or lazy to wake up before Fajr for suhoor and worship.
Tools for Dhikr
To ensure that we remember Allah in our minds and hearts, set aside all relevant books and lectures that you had wanted to read and listen to but couldn’t do before for some reason. Create a bank of books on Tafseer, Fiqh, etc., apart from the Holy Quran, and audio cassettes or recordings of verses of Quran or lectures that you can listen to via earphones while in the car or in the kitchen.
Also, inquire about Taraweeh and Tahajjud schedules, and other programs in your locality mosques in advance to plan recording. So when Ramadan begins, you are ready with your power pack schedule comprising productive ways to spend your time. Indeed, idle time can be a cause for people to stray.
Grocery and Bills
Make all the shopping lists – from grocery to gas. Grind all the spices and prepare all the food items that can be prepared in advance – rolls, sambosas, kebabs as well as sauces and other pastries that freeze well. Sort, pay or arrange all other bills before Ramadan just so that you are less stressed.
Ramadan is also a time the markets love for they make excellent sales cashing in on the upcoming Eid festival. For most of us, the time after Isha prayers is the time for setting off on a shopping spree. However, on the contrary, with all the frustrating traffic, and crowded malls and market places, it can prove to be the worst of shopping experiences.
To avoid the rush, shop for all your Eid goodies and gifts before the start of the holy month. Moreover, the last ten days of Ramadan are best spent at home in the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
Those with medical conditions and health considerations should receive guidance from health professionals before fasting. Maintaining optimum health is an important consideration. Ramadan is also a good time to make positive lifestyle changes by incorporating healthy and nutritious food in the diet and stop smoking.
The prerequisite for preparing for the arrival of Ramadan is to make the intention for preparation. Our preparation begins when we start practicing humility and patience and learn how to control our anger.
Prepare yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for this great month and make this your best Ramadan ever!