"Whaaaat – Ramadan is less than 100 days away?"
Yup! It's just 3 months until the beautiful month of fasting, unity, Tarawih prayers and delicious iftars commence. 🤲🏼
But, as it's a time that requires much of our physical and mental efforts to make the most of it, what can we start doing now to prepare ourselves for Ramadan 2023?
Welcome to your Ultimate Ramadan Prep Checklist! ✨
🥤Start Fasting Twice a Week Before Ramadan
Getting into the habit of fasting will no doubt ease your body into the act of abstaining from food and drink – but why twice a week?
Our beloved Prophet ﷺ would fast on both Mondays and Thursdays, so if you're choosing a pre-Ramadan schedule to stick to, you can follow the Sunnah by fasting these two days!
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The deeds are presented on Monday and Thursday. Thus, I love for my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 747
It's a huge shock to our system when we go from eating all day every day to completing cutting out food and drink until sunset.
Keeping some fasts before Ramadan is a great, practical way to train your body.
😌 Build my Knowledge on Ramadan and it's Virtues
For a lot of Muslims, Ramadan has been embedded into their lives for as long as they can remember. There's childhood memories of family iftars and we've always known for it to be a time of great blessing.
But as important as it is to observe and give the month of Ramadan it's due right, it's also fundamental for us to know why we are doing what we're doing.
Building your knowledge will prepare your mind for this time and also help you set the most sincere intentions beforehand.
“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (pious).” [al-Baqarah 2:183]
Get my Salah in Check!
If praying all five of your obligatory prayers is something you struggle with, working on this particular area before Ramadan comes around is a step in the right direction.
Start by making yourself aware of the different times for prayer – you can do this by downloading a Salah app (I'd recommend Muslimah, Daily Muslim, or Pillars App). These apps can notify you of when each prayer is about to happen, even when you're out and about! This will help you build a more conscious mindset of Salah and (InshaAllah) encourage you to fulfil each one.
Always keep a little bag of prayer essentials with you everywhere you go to ensure that you're always ready to pray – my travel prayer mat saves me every time! These winter months pose the perfect opportunity to practice consistency with prayer because of how close together the times are, too. By the time Ramadan comes around, you'll have formed a habit to last a lifetime, by the will of Allah. 😌
✨Limit Media Consumption
Try to reduce the amount of time you spend on socials (at least while building the habit). Our phones are the biggest modern day distraction which can lead to extreme procrastination and lack of motivation. Create an environment around you that is positively influencing your deen, and therefore your connection with Salah.
💰 Put Money Aside in a 'Ramadan Pot'
This is actually something that a lot of people don't do but it's such a great hack!
During the month of Ramadan, we should be even more generous and giving with our wealth than how we strive to be usually. There is so much ajr (reward) in being charitable during this month, so it can be tough if we don't find ourselves with the means to give.
To prepare ourselves for extensive ajr, create a separate space, whether it's a designated bank account or a physical pot, and put money aside each month until Ramadan.
Make the intention of using the money for charity and for giving to those in need, so that you can earn the immense pleasure of Allah SWT and really make the most out of your Ramadan.
Of course, try not to limit yourself to just these savings as we should aim to give as much as we can, but this pot will lend itself as an awesome starting point!
☕️🍬Start Cutting Down on Caffeine and Sugar
Can't start your day without your Double Shot Caramel Macchiato with soy? (I don't even know if that drink exists tbh). Either way, we're gonna need some words!👀
Okay, it's ironic that I'm sitting in a cafe with an iced coffee while typing this, but cutting down on caffeine before Ramadan is super important for so many reasons.
We may not be not be getting our coffee fix first thing in the morning during Ramadan, but maybe you can try train your body to not even need it.
In terms of the sugar, now's a good time to swap out those sugary cereal for a simple porridge and cutting back on the daily snacking. 🍬
Your body will lose it's attachment to high amounts of sugar and you thank yourself for it once Ramadan approaches!
🤲🏼Working on my Reading of the Qu'ran
There's no question that reading the Qu'ran (and striving to complete it) during Ramadan holds enormous amount of reward.
But there's a disheartening feeling that many feel when they pick up their Qu'ran in Ramadan after weeks or months of neglect, and they struggle to read it, perhaps like they used to.
The Qu'ran is something that every Muslim should hold close to their heart and implement in their lives, not only through reading it but acting upon it. Some of the greatest concerns of the the companions of the Prophet ﷺ was memorising the Qu'ran, learning it, acting upon it, and teaching it to others.
Take these next few months to read a page a day and build a connection with the book of Allah, so that a habit can form before the month of fasting commences.
🤳🏽Be More Conscious of my Social Circle
Why does 'refining and reviewing' your social circle matter before Ramadan?
Whether we see it or not. our friends influence us. We pick up and utilise their language, their style, their mannerisms and vice versa.
Ramadan is a time for reflections, purity, and achieving as many good deeds as you possibly can to seek the reward of Allah SWT, but it'll be tough to make the most of this time if the people around us aren't good for us.
Focus on these questions when in your 'review and refine' stage:
- Do my friends encourage me to do better when I fall short?
- Do my friends advise me the right way?
- Do my friends and I socialise in a way that is good for us? (Think about the places you go!)
- Can I trust them to support me if I want to good deeds?
Keeping a healthy distance from people who aren't beneficial for us is a tough but important lesson to learn. As Ramadan approaches, be conscious of creating an environment that allows you to be the best Muslim you can be. ❤️
✍🏼Write a List of Unique Goals for That Month
What do you want to achieve specifically? What's something you've been lacking on that you want to accomplish?
Praying on time? Controlling the tongue and avoiding bad language? Regaining patience and control? Respecting parents more?
As much as the points we mentioned above are important, having a personal goal that is between you and Allah is just as crucial.
This could be a bad habit or toxic trait that you just haven't been able to kick to the curb – now's your chance!
Write them down, store them in a safe place and, most importantly, make dua to Allah to help you achieve them.
And that's a wrap! We've gone through some of the different ways you can prepare yourself from Ramadan starting from today! Remember to renew your intentions along the way and constantly ask Allah for help to achieve each and every one of these goals. 😌