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Imagine taking part in a marathon. You’d train months in advance to be able to give it your best shot.
Now, imagine Ramadan is a marathon- 29 or 30 days of fasting, praying taraweeh at night, and rushing to increase in doing good deeds. Surely, no one wants to miss the blessings of the month in which the rewards of good actions are multiplied.
But, how many of us pay attention to welcoming Ramadan? Year after year, we find ourselves distracted and suddenly, we are already in Ramadan.
Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq al-Balkhi, the uncle of Imam Tirmidhi, said: ‘The month of Rajab is the month of planting (your seeds), Sha‘ban is the month of irrigating / watering (them), and Ramadan is the month of harvesting the crop’.
What are the seeds that you can plant in order to harvest your garden in Ramadan?
Now that we are in Rajab, the seventh month in the Islamic calendar, we are only two months away from Ramadan. We want to welcome Ramadan with open arms- present, mindful and ready to embrace the blessings of the month- not surprised, hurried and tired.
So, what are the seeds that you can plant in order to harvest your garden in Ramadan?
Just like how one registers for a marathon prior to the event, we should be intentional in preparing for Ramadan.
Start making dua to be given the opportunity to meet Ramadan.
Setting the intentions to reset our habits in preparation for Ramadan can help set the tone. We want to be prepared for Ramadan, so that we are in the right frame of mind.
The sahabah (companions of the Prophet ﷺ) would get ready for Ramadan early.
Ma’ali bin Fudail said, ‘They used to ask Allah, six months before Ramadan to grant them long life so that they could reach Ramadan and they used to ask Allah, six months after Ramadan to accept their fasting’.
If this is going to be your first Ramadan, research and seek your local Imam or religious teachers to guide you on the do’s and don’ts of fasting.
If you have medical conditions, meet with your physician who understands the obligation of fasting in Ramadan, to discuss if you are fit for fasting. If you are unable to fast due to medical reasons, or other excuses permitted in Islam, speak to a religious teacher to understand what you need to do.
“Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramadan˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.”
(Surah Al Baqarah, verse 185)
One of the 5 blessings the Prophet ﷺ told us to be mindful of is time.
Ibn Abbas reported: Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.”
How are we spending our time?
During Ramadan, we want to ensure that while we fast and increase in doing acts of worship, we do not neglect other duties such as work, caring for our families and extending a helping hand to those around us.
With only 24 hours in a day, we want to be wise with our time. Perhaps we can start testing recipes that only require 30 minutes in the kitchen- ready to whip them up during the fasting period.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.
If we have a goal to complete reciting the entire Quran, it is good to start timing how long it takes us to finish one juz (there are 30 juz in the Quran). Do we run out of stamina and focus after reciting only a page? Perhaps we can start to strengthen our Quran stamina.
One way is to recite along with the reciters on the Muslim Pro app. With a Premium account, you can choose from any of the 5 reciters and download the entire recitations for offline playback.
By reading the Quran on your Muslim Pro app, alongside the reciters, you are able to pace yourself in order to complete the goals that you’ve set out to achieve, In Sha Allah.
There are various titles on Qalbox to help you prepare for Ramadan in the sacred month of Rajab.
Allah s.w.t mentioned in the Quran,
“Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and donate from what He has entrusted you with. So those of you who believe and donate will have a mighty reward.”
(Surah Al-Hadid, 57:7)
Giving charity is a deed beloved to Allah.
Our charity is our investment that brings guaranteed returns. Don’t wait for Ramadan to give sadaqah, but perhaps it is the donations we make today that will increase our opportunities to give even more during Ramadan, In Sha Allah.
Waking up early for suhoor and going to bed later after tarawih prayers means less sleep. Our bodies will typically take some time to adjust to our new schedules.
We can train our bodies to prepare for this by doing sunnah fasting in the next few weeks, as well as increasing in sunnah prayers at night.
No one runs a marathon without testing the route. Surely we don’t want to be caught by surprise during Ramadan either.
Could our inability to focus be a result of what we consume daily?
Are we binge-watching shows that are void of meaningful lessons and values, or are we being conscious of the shows we choose to “consume”. Yes, consumption does not only refer to what we eat and drink, but what we read and watch.
We eat healthy meals to have the energy to get through the day, and we need to guard our sights to ensure our hearts are ready to take in the blessings of the special month.
It’s always hard to suddenly switch our habits, but we can start with baby steps. Choosing shows that remind us of our deen and values can create the right environment.
With Qalbox– the new video streaming service- on the Muslim Pro app, we have the ease of choosing shows that are curated for the global Muslim community.
As we gear up for Ramadan, more titles will be added to elevate your Ramadan experience with Muslim Pro and Qalbox- the digital home for all things Muslim.