I want to talk to you about what it is like to have Ramadan in a convert’s household.
This may differ depending on how long you’ve been a Muslim for; but if you’re new to Ramadan and thought of fasting is a bit daunting to you right now, then I would suggest that you take these next few weeks to do some practice fast.
Try Some Fasts
It’s a sunnah to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, so if you’re not used to fasting, just have a couple of practice fast and this will prepare you mentally and physically for Ramadan, so when Ramadan comes, you’re not feeling it as such a big shock to the system.
And then you can also have a look at how are you doing during these times and see where you need to improve, what can you do to help make it better for you.
Look for Necessary Info
As for what breaks fasting and who should fast and who shouldn’t, it’s very important to find these info before Ramadan so that when Ramadan comes, you’re not in such a big panic that if you’ve done something does it invalidate fasting or not. So it’s very important to get that beforehand if possible.
I’m a Muslim now for a few years so I make sure that I have made up all my missed fasts from the previous Ramadan. If you’ve fasted last year or couple of years, make sure that you have made up all those missed fasts.
Make Spiritual Goals
It’s very important to spiritually prepare yourself. And in order to do this, it’s good to have a plan. Don’t make the plan complicated and hard to achieve.
The goal is to set yourself one or two big goals and then a few little ones that are easy to achieve that by the end of Ramadan you feel that you have benefited somehow in doing those goals.
Last year I wanted to pray tahajjud every night and Ramadan is the perfect time to start praying tahajud. Tahajjud is late night prayer, even after taraweeh. It’s important to pray in that last third of the night so you get a lot of rewards.
It’s easier to pray it in Ramadan because anyway we have to wake up for suhur. So if you wake up for two hours before suhur, pray before eating suhur. It’s really important killing two birds with one stone: you’re getting your spiritual prayer in and having your suhur.
That was my main goal last year. You can then have a couple of little goals. For example, it’s important to pray on time. And if you’re not so good in doing that in the rest of the year, this can be a goal for Ramadan so to make sure that you pray all the obligatory prayers on time.
Also another small goal if you’re giving charity, how much you’re going to give, are going to give one big charity or are you giving that throughout the month, that’s also a good plan to have.
What about the Quran?
I don’t read the Quran to complete it in the whole month, because I’m quite slow when it comes to the Quran and allow it to understand what it’s trying to say.
So I will set myself to read so many pages a day, but if you want to complete the whole quran in the month, there are websites that do tell you how much you should be reading in a day in order to achieve that so you can find that beforehand as well.
Prepare Food and Big Cleaning
Another good thing is to find out when is suhur and iftar times where you live so then you can prepare your day around this.
And it’s important that if you are cooking because you can obviously allow yourself time to prepare your meals; maybe you can freeze some meals at the beginning of each week or before Ramadan or maybe you’re going to cook many of them from scratch.
So it’s good to know you’re prepared and not rushing right before iftar. It’s important to know when is suhur so you wake up beforehand.
I would advice to do any kind of deep big cleaning before Ramadan. do not attempt to do it whilst fasting because it’s going to make you really lethargic and tired.
If you want to give your whole house a massive clean, do it before Ramadan and then just stick to light cleaning during Ramadan.
This will help you immensely and extend something on your mind for that month and you can focus on spirituality and the Quran and connecting with Allah.
Decorate your House
One really important tip, even if you’re living alone, is to decorate your house so that you create your Ramadan spirit.
It can be difficult for converts, but at least if you feel that this is a special month is mentally you’re feeling good.
Think about Christmas and we should do it for Ramadan so that we are mentally preparing ourselves. This is a great month and we need to really make the most of it and we need to spiritually enjoy it as well.
It’s very important if you have kids that are excited to this month and that they see that we are making efforts to put lights up, to put decorations up… and they get excited for Ramadan and that’s really important.
So that’s what I’m doing and I’ll do some activities with my daughter as well so that she really starts to get in the mood also.
Now, corona virus is around and we’re not sure how this Ramadan will go. So my advice is just to make sure that you carry on listening to local authorities and to understand what’s going to happen in your area at this time and just make the most of Ramadan as much as you can. It may be different this year, but it’s out of our hands and Allah knows all of our intentions inshallah.
May this Ramadan be an extremely successful one for all of you. May we all reach this Ramadan inshallah.