Alhamdulilah, the holy month of Ramadan is almost here. Are you ready? There is still time to prepare to have a successful Ramadan inshaAllah. No matter if this is our first or twentieth fast, we should go into it with the intent to become better then we started once it is over. This is the time of year where we face bad habits and vices head on and the perfect time to let them go.
This is a time to moderate and set limitations on things that are permissible like eating and sleeping, to which we might be over doing. Ramadan is a time of reflection, self awareness and accountability and more importantly MERCY. This is the perfect time to be made over from within. Here three tips that I believe we can do right now in order to help prepare us for Ramadan, and even during the holy month inshaAllah.
#1 Get some rest - This does not necessarily mean to get more sleep, but to moderate or limit the amount of exposure to technology. Our brains need to rest even in its waking hours, in order to function properly. Allowing our brains to rest will make it easier to fall asleep at a decent time and to wake up, in order to make suhoor and Fajr salat. Waking up for suhoor is sunnah and there are authentic hadiths that encourage it. Even if to only have some water, suhoor allows time to prepare our bodies and mind to fast for the day and there is even time for Tahajjud prayer.
#2 Plan - Make a plan on what it is we want to get out of this Ramadan. Whether it be the Quran we want to work on, salat or relationships with out family, making a plan will help remind us of this inshaAllah. If we implement step #1 and then start to read the Quran, and other educational books and to write, this exercise will help make our brains healthier. Planning things out requires thought and focus and if we journal our progress, we allow our brains to do more what it was created to do -Think. We've all heard the old saying "if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail". May Allah swt guides us to success, ameen.
#3 Connect to the Ummah - Ramadan is the time of year where we are encouraged to pray together, read Quran and eat together and to especially check in and support each other. If you are the only Muslim or practicing Muslim in your home or area, use the limited amount of time you allow yourself on the internet to find resources that will bring you closer to Muslims. Make sure to call your family often if your far from them and utilize all of your tools and resources towards keeping you motivating during this holy month.
*Other things that are good to keep in mind are the times we are up at night. It can be tempting to make the most of the evening by staying up but keeping a limit will help get us to bed with enough time to wake up the next day ready for another round.
*Make Ramadan a celebration in your home! Decorate your room, desk or home with reminders of this holy month and this will keep you encouraged. Ramadan is a celebration, a time of unity and closeness to Allah swt.
*Invite your non-Muslims friends and family over for suhoor or iftar. Let them know about Eid and invite them to participate in their own way, and teach similarities from our Deen to theirs in a light way.
Know that you are not alone and there are millions of Muslims fasting, praying and united with you and so please ask for help/support if you are feeling otherwise at this time. May Allah swt bless us with a successful and accepted Ramadan Ameen!!!