TIPS FOR RAMADAN

7 Tips for Ramadan- How to Make the Most Out of This Ramadan

Is it just me or do you also load up your plate with tonnes of goals for Ramadan, and end up burning yourself out sooner than you think? If you do, then you are in the right place! In the previous articles on Ramadan, we learned how to prepare ourselves for Ramadan, and some of the most important facts about Ramadan. In this article, I will explain ways to make this Ramadan experience a fully productive one. You will learn:

  1.  True Purpose of fasting in Ramadan
  2.  Spiritual tips for Ramadan- Tips for boosting your Imaan during Ramadan
  3. Time management tips for Ramadan
  4.  Health tips for Ramadan in a FREE guide- The Ilustrated MYP Guide on how to stay healthy and fit during Ramadan

So let’s get started, shall we?

4 CORE STRATEGIES FOR BALANCING YOUR TIME BETWEEN IBADAH, WORK AND FAMILY IN RAMADAN

7 Tips For a Productive Ramadan

# 1: Recall the true purpose of fasting

It’s easy to lose sense of purpose when we don’t nourish it regularly. Purpose is like a toddler. It needs constant unrelenting care and attention or else Shaytaan’s persistent efforts to make us lose our sense of purpose will take over. So what is the true purpose behind fasting in Ramadan? In one sentence? It is to gain Taqwah and become closer to Allah.

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous. [Quran-Surah 2: Ayah 183]

And how do we gain Taqwah by staying away from food and drink?  This is how:

1. The Quran was revealed in the Holy month of Ramadan. With the devils chained down in this Holy month, the negative energy is replaced by positive energy and it becomes relatively easier in Ramadan to strengthen our Emaan.

2. As humans we tend to take everything in life for granted and forget to thank our Creator for His many blessings. But in Ramadan, fasting instills in us a sense of gratitude. Fasting makes us appreciate the value of food and drink. Gratitude elevates our Taqwah.

3. Consequently, we become more compassionate towards the poor and needy. We start giving charity in the way of Allah and that brings us closer to Allah.

4. In Ramadan Allah has promised us forgiveness for all our past sins if we beg Him for forgiveness sincerely. It is the best time to repent to Allah, make duas and recharge our relationship with Allah.

# 2: Step-by-step approach for Time management in Ramadan

This is by far the biggest pain point for majority of people I know, including myself.

How do we divide time between Ibadah and everything else in Ramadan? Let me take you through the step-by-step process of managing time in Ramadan.

1. The first thing to do is make a plan and define goals.

I can hear you making annoyed sounds. Just do it.  

Decide your goals for this Ramadan and make a plan ahead of time. But if you didn’t plan ahead and Ramadan is already on the doorstep, then start planning now. It’s never too late.

The most important thing about planning is setting realistic goals for yourself. Frankly speaking, that’s something I find really hard to do sometimes. But if you don’t want to bail out on your plan later because of burnout, then I suggest you make realistic goals.

For example, have a look at the goals for Ramadan below:

  • Read Quran
  • Pray
  • Read tasbeeh
  • Make duas
  • Read Tafsir

Umm.. do you think that the plan above lacks something? Maybe some definition? So how would you correct the goal setting of the person above? Here’s how I would rewrite the goals above:

  • Finish reading Quran once during Ramadan
  • Pray 5 prayers (Obligatory), Salatul-Taraweeh (definitely), Ishraq prayer (try my best), and Qiyyam-ul-Laiyl (try my best every night, but definitely the last 10 nights)
  • Read Durood and tasbeeh after every prayer
  • Make lots of duas before Aftaar everyday and during Qiyyam at night
  • Read the tafsir of atleast one ayah a day

Do you see the way those goals got a clear definition and frame? That’s really important if you aim to manage your time efficiently during Ramadan.

2. Now decide on the amount of time you can separate from your day for Ibadah. 

How do you do that? First find out the amount of time your daily responsibilities as well as mandatory tasks like sleeping, eating etc consume.   

Let’s have a look at this scenario of a more-or-less typical day for a regular Muslim:

  • work: 6 to 8 hours a day
  • sleep: 6 to 7 hours
  • family time: 2 hours
  • Self-care (shower, dress, self-talk): 1 to 2 hours
  • Ibadah?

If you minus time taken up by all those mandatory activities, you are left with atleast 4 hours a day. That’s good time for Ibadah (particularly the spiritual acts of worship) if availed.

BTW, if you are doing all of the above because you want to please Allah then all of the acts become Ibadah.

3.  Now decide on the time you will allocate to each one of your Ibadah  goals.

For example, if you want to finish reading Quran once in Ramadan, then you should divide it into 30 Juz. Observe how long it takes for you to read one Juz. 

Suppose it takes you one hour to read a Juz, then you should separate 1 hour from the 4 hours of Ibadah everyday JUST to read Quran.

Furthermore, you can divide the 1-hour of Quran reading time into 2 or more pieces of 30 minutes. The next step is for you to decide what time of the day is best for you to read Quran.

If you can separate 30 minutes after Fajar and 30 minutes after maghrib everyday, then you will easily complete reading the entire Quran once in Ramadan.

Using the same step-by-step approach, allocate your time for every one of the spiritual goals on your list.

BTW, I’ve put together a complete training for you for managing time in Ramadan, especially if you’re working. In this training, you’ll learn:

  • The meaning of “balance” (It does NOT mean dividing 24 hours of your day equally between work, Ibadah, and family. HINT: It’s all about managing 3 KEY aspects of yourself]
  • The limiting barriers (beliefs) in your way of finding success in Ramadan.
  • How to create a DO-ABLE but powerful action plan for this Ramadan following a simple  framework I’ve laid out for you.
  • The ONE thing that matters most in Ramadan.

Sign up below to join me in this free training. I’m stoked to share this material with you. 🙂 It’ll help you have an amazing Ramadan, Insha’Allah! 

 

4 CORE STRATEGIES FOR BALANCING YOUR TIME BETWEEN IBADAH, WORK AND FAMILY IN RAMADAN

# 3: Embrace all kinds of prayers in Ramadan

The prayers that need our attention during Ramadan are:

But before we jump head first on the prayer mat, let’s decide which one is the most important of all. The daily five obligatory prayers.

If you are in the habit of praying 5 times a day on time, then you should definitely go for the other Sunnah prayers.

Narrated Abu Huraira:I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying regarding Ramadan, “Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 2008,  Book 31, Hadith 1, Vol. 3, Book 32, Hadith 226]

But if you don’t pray regularly, then you should work hard on fixing your obligatory prayers first. Make the most important task on your Ramadan goals list to fix your daily Salah.

4 weeks is plenty of time to make or strengthen a habit.

And what habit could be superior to praying the Fard Salah on time everyday?

 

Another thing to add here is that there are plenty other ways to do Zikr of Allah.
Prayer is a “practical/physical” form of Zikr. The 2 other forms of Zikr are “verbal” and “silent”.
During Ramadan, one should keep the mind and the tongue occupied by Zikr.
In this case, you can do Zikr either verbally or silently. The following are some of the ways to do so:
  • Making Duas
  • Praising Allah
  • Thinking, comtemplating and pondering over signs of Allah (tafakkur & tadabbur)
  • Reading Tasbeeh
  • Sending Durood-o-salam to our beloved Prophet S.A.W
  • Reading or revising the memorized Surahs
  • And ofcourse, reading Quran..

# 4: Take time out Daily to Read Quran

Let’s start with the regular days first and then move on to Ramadan. People often ask how much Quran should I read daily?

Wish we could say there’s one fixed answer to that question. But there isn’t. Or else Allah would have told us Himself to read a particular number of surahs or pages of Quran everyday.

Instead, what is the Sunnah? To read it everyday. How much? Well, that depends on one thing majorly.

How much Quran CAN you read everyday consistently? Can you spare 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour everyday for reading Quran?

You might end up saying 2 or 3 hours in a wave of emotion. The problem with that kind of emotion is that it’s unsustainable. So you should start by giving 10 minutes everyday to reading Quran.

Once you have been following that goal regularly for at least a month, then you can safely increase the target time. Your starting time could be different according to your current status.

If you are already spending half an hour on reading Quran daily, then you can raise the target time by adding an extra 15 minutes to it, making it a total of 45 minutes everyday. You get the idea, don’t you? It’s basically called incremental change.

Now the question most relevant to this post would be, how much Quran should I recite in Ramadan? The mathematical jargon I wrote above was necessary to mention before we answered this question.

There are 2 important aspects to the answer. First, try to finish reciting the entire Holy Quran atleast once during Ramadan. Why? Because it’s a very important Sunnah of our beloved Prophet S.A.W. Afterall, The Holy Quran was revealed in Ramadan.

Ramadan is the (month) in which the Quran was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgment (so that mankind will distinguish from right and wrong)” [Quran- Surah 2: Ayah 185]

The second aspect to the answer is to find out how much Quran can you continue reading regularly even after Ramadan ends. 

Therefore, you should allocate a fixed time for reading Quran (10 minutes or 30 minutes etc) according to the incremental change I mentioned above.

In addition to that, you should also allocate some extra time in Ramadan for reciting Quran (an hour or so depending on how long it takes for you to read one Juz).

So by the time Ramadan ends, you will not only have completed the entire recitation once, you will also fall in the habit of reading Quran at a particular time everyday, InshaÁllah!

# 5: Charity in Ramadan-It doesn’t always have to be spending money (specially if you don’t have any)

“Those who patiently persevere seeking the countenance their Lord; establish regular prayers; spend out of (the gifts) We have bestowed for their sustenance secretly and openly; and turn off Evil with good: for such there is the final attainment of the (Eternal) Home.” [Qur’an, Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:22]

Charity has a special place in Islam. It’s like that red button you turn on in your heart to feel “intense and immediate self-satisfaction, peace and happiness”. Charity does not always have to mean “giving money”. Charity can mould into so many forms.

Narrated Abu Dharr: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) has said: ‘When you smile in your brother’s face, or enjoin what is reputable, or forbid what is objectionable, or direct someone who has lost his way, or help a man who has bad eyesight, or remove stones, thorns and bones from the road, or pour water from your bucket into your brother’s, it counts to you as Sadaqah.’ [Tirmidhi hadith no.594]

A common form of charity in Ramadan is to make some extra food for aftaar and send it to the needy or poor or the  workers outside. It will not only add barakah in your Rizq but also serve as a chance to collect duas from the people you are helping. Moreover, Sadaqah (charity) also expiates sins. 

Narrated Mu’adh ibn Jabal (ra), the Prophet (saw) had said,

“The fasting is a shield against evil, the charity extinguishes (the fire of sin) just as water extinguishes fire,”[Transmitted by Tirmidhi Hadith no. 2, Ahmad, Ibn Majah]

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# 6: Put filters on your tongue

Control the tongue? That’s harder than controlling an army of children. Or was that too exaggerated? Seriously though, controlling the tongue is probably the most difficult task in the world. The most common crimes committed by the tongue are:

  • Lying
  • Gossiping
  • Cursing
  • Backbiting

But verily, over you are appointed angels to watch over you.  Kind and honourable, writing down your deeds.  They know all that you do. [Quran-Surah Infitar, 80: Ayah 12] Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it). [Quran-Surah Qaf ,50: Ayah18]

Ofcourse there are plenty other crimes that our relentless tongue can commit. A simple formula to keep the tongue in its place, is by literally keeping the tongue in its place.

Whenever a foul word, a verbal missile, an element of irreversible destruction is trying to make its way out of your mouth, physically bite your lip, close your mouth and swallow.

And in those few short moments of putting a lock on your tongue physically, think.

Think about an hour from that moment. Think about how you will hurt only one person the most by letting go of your tongue. Yourself.

Because in the moment of anger, hate or hurt, a person stops thinking about others and the pain their words might cause others. But the tiny voice from “self” never really dials down easily, does it?

So listen to the voice, convince it that you are the only one you will be hurting with your words, and you will be able to put a filter.

Later when the anger seeps out of your system, you will realize the collateral damage your words might have caused and thank yourself.

Another great way to control your tongue, is to get up and leave when you can. This is not always possible, but when the opportunity is available, take it. Start practicing these simple tricks and let me know what happens. 

# 7: Cut down on the social buzz

Dressing up and going to aftaar parties everyday, seriously? Raise your hand if you are guilty. Great. Now only you can see if you are guilty or not. Raise your hand if you love this blog? Oh great. Would have been nice to see your hand raised. But that’s about where bloggin’ ends *sigh*. Can’t see anything on the other side. *tears* ;( I’m sorry, what were we talking about?  Got a little emotional. Oh right. Parties.

It’s nice to invite relatives or friends over to your house for aftaar. Sometimes. Not every other day. Why?

Let’s do some maths. Oh c’mon now, enough with the annoyed groans.

Ramadan only comes once for 30 days. That’s a total of 720 hours ONLY.  In 8,760 hours of the entire year (that was pretty nerdy of me to calculate, I’m not proud), Ramadan only takes a small portion of the year.

Now let’s calculate the amount of time one aftaar party consumes more-or-less.

Preparing the food= 2-3 hours

Dressing up, cleaning and decorating the place= 1-2 hours

Receiving the guests and spending time with them= 3-4 hours.

That’s a total of 6 hours minimum for one aftaar party.

Isn’t that a little crazy?

Why not make a little extra aftaar and send it to the poor in that time? Or do Ibadah.

Ofcourse every once in a while, you should invite your relatives to keep good relations with them and to celebrate fasts. But not too often.

All that maths was just to convince you that there are better ways than celebratory dinners to spend your time in Ramadan. AND I promise I’m done with maths for today 🙂

As for health tips for Ramadan, I have created a complete Health Guide for you to help you stay fit and healthy during Ramadan. Have a look below!

Health Tips for Ramadan in The Illustrated MYP Guide to a Healthy Ramadan

A 20-page guide with every page illustrated so you don’t have to pour through boring eBooks congested with info. This mini e-Book has it all covered: 

  • the physiology of fasting 
  • all the “WHYs”, i.e, benefits (social, physical, mental) of fasting
  • the special link between spirituality and food
  • Some “Sunnah rules” of healthy eating in Ramadan
  • The Right and wrong kind of foods (especially for Ramadan)
  • 5 Healthy Ramadan recipes… ALL Illustrated! *Because visuals make everything so much easier!*  😉
    Are there any tips for Ramadan you would like to share? Let me know in the comment section below, would love to read them!
    planning-productivity-bootcamp-for-muslims

    SALAM! I’M AIMEN.

    I help Young Muslims on their journey of Personal Development. I believe it’s always the right time to make ourselves better, what do you think?

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    Founder & Author l Muslim Youth Programme
    Aimen is a Medical Doctor who teaches self-development to young Muslims struggling with the fitnah of this century. Her aim is to educate and empower Muslims with practical advice on self-development, productivity, studies and health, with insights on Islamic psychology. Jumpstart your productivity and take action on your goals by signing up to her latest FREE productivity Bootcamp for Muslims.

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