By Amreen Pathan
1. Do make slight changes in your eating habits and diets. Consuming three meals a day with snacks in between? Reduce one snack. Dependent on your caffeine fix? Swap it out for decaf. This is all about preparing your stomach for what is to come in the blessed month of Ramadan.
2. Do fast as much as possible. After the month of Ramadan, there was no month that the Prophet (PBUH) could be found fasting as much as he did in Sha’ban. Be mindful of one’s health. If fasting makes one weak, then energy should be preserved for the obligatory month of fasting.
3. Do increase your diligence towards your prayers. Skipping the Masjid for Fajr (the morning prayer)? Set yourself a goal for the week. Rushing to offer your Dhuhr and ‘Asr prayers? Consider how you can allocate time towards these prayers in the metaphorical middle of your day to avoid that hasty, catching a train, duty done feeling. Focus on the Sunnah prayers as much as the obligatory ones.
4. Do challenge your sleep pattern. Try getting up earlier and getting to bed earlier too. This will prepare you for what I like to call the Suhoor (pre-fasting meal) battle – half the challenge is getting up!
5. Do rekindle your bond with the Noble Qur’an. Increase your volume of recitation whether this be a few lines, a Ruk’u or a Surah.
6. Do set some intentions for the month of Ramadan. We have already discussed gearing ourselves from 1 – 5 steadily. In light of this, set different intentions across different fields: spiritual, religious, physical, educational and whatever else is relevant to you. Consider what changes you would like to embed within your daily routine too.
7. Do detach yourself from your vice. This might be a television for some, social media for others or something else completely. Doing so intentionally and steadily will reduce the ‘withdrawal’ one is bound to endure from detaching from their drug of choice.
8. Do consider what you’d like to pray to Allah for in the month of Ramadan. The best way of doing that? Simple: start asking now. Forgiveness for the ‘Ummah, protection from Hell-fire, entry to Paradise, the death of a true believer should be at the top of our lists. Ask for worldly things too – Allah is the Provider of both worlds and His provision never runs out.
9. Do reflect on your character. Ramadan is about change in all aspects and one’s faith is not solely stringent on worship. In fact, as the Prophet (PBUH) stated: “Verily, the most complete of believers in faith are those with the best character and who are most kind to their families.” [At-Tirmidhi] Besides, we all know how much an empty stomach and a dehydrated mind can test one’s patience.
10. Do be charitable. Many fund-raising projects commence from Sha’ban in the spirit of Ramadan. Donate what you can. A little goes a long way.
11. Do your gift shopping for ‘Eid before Ramadan begins. Traipsing around the stores or browsing online in the most blessed portion of Ramadan is a little counter-productive.
12. Do stock up the pantry. We don’t need Einstein to tell us the outcome of shopping on an empty stomach!
13. Do acquaint yourself with the virtues of this month. This will pave the way to a profitable Ramadan if you understand what it is you lose if you do not take full advantage.
14. Do calculate your Zakat (obligatory charity).
15. Do have fun with it all. Fasting and worship should never be a burden. Cherish the run-up to Ramadan and the anticipation of it all. Time lost cannot be regained.
1. Don’t increase the calorie intake. You won’t store the energy like a camel does water. You’ll just feel ravenous the entire day!
2. Don’t leave all the house organising, meal preps and decluttering to ‘pass some time’ until Iftar.
3. Don’t get involved in pagan rituals such as decorating a ‘Ramadan tree’. I’m not quite sure what the ruling is but I am not convinced this is wholly Islamic. Setting up a corner for prayer or decorating the house for Eid is great of course but be mindful of how this is done.
4. Don’t wait till the first evening of Ramadan to wipe the dust from the cover of your noble Qur’an.
5. Don’t be afraid of the challenges you may face in Ramadan. Fasting is about more than just detoxifying the body.
What do you do to prepare for Ramadan? Leave your wise words below so we may all benefit!