Ramadan is almost a month away. Have you seen the memes going around? If you’ve felt a sense of shock and disbelief you aren’t alone. The season of fasting and feasting comes as swiftly as it passes which is why it’s crucial to take advantage of the blessed month and plan accordingly. Every family member begins their own form of preparation be it through iftar food wish lists, requesting days off work during the odd nights, writing letters to schools informing them of fasting children, and sending dinner invites to family and friends.
Here are 5 practical ways you can prevent a Ramadan rerun:
1. Make a Goal and Start It Now: It takes a while to build momentum which is why it’s important to list your goals and get a head start. Granted there is a spiritual rush and feeling of blessing in the days of Ramadan; but there is no miraculous start button we can push and robotically tackle our goals. It takes planning and preparation, for example: if you decide to sponsor an orphan for the month with HHRD. That’s $1 a day you can put away and donate as soon as you reach your goal! Don’t stop at one orphan; with a head start you can make it two!
2. The Sunnah The Better: The Prophet (pbuh) would fast on Mondays and Thursdays (Tirmidhi) as well as in the month prior to Ramadan: Sha’ban. Get your body used to idea of reducing your food and water intake. This way it won’t be a shock when Ramadan rolls around. Any meal you normally eat out can be donate towards HHRD’s Education program. For $2 a day you can help put a child through school. Imagine that, your sandwich money is now filling the young mind of a person in need.
3. Curb the Caffeine: You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Reduce or cut out the intake of coffee, tea, soda and other beverages that keep you up at night or produce a major headache when you go without them. Whenever you feel like having caffeine substitute it with water. Water is always better and truth be told its considered liquid gold in regions that don’t have access to clean drinking water. Pool together some money with family and friends to sponsor a water well and share the khayr.
4. Eat. Pray. Sleep: Let’s face it, Ramadan hours put us all in zombie mode. The best way to prevent that is by setting alarms and reducing screen time. Limit your daily intake of social media and finish the marathon you may have going on of your favorite show before Ramadan. Do your best to ensure you are sleeping earlier than your phone prevents you. Enter Ramadan with fewer distractions. When you find yourself reaching for a device make tasbih instead.
5. Treat It as Your Last Ramadan: Imagine this being your last Ramadan; allow yourself to come to terms with the fact that you need to give it your all. Entering Ramadan with this mindset allows the opportunity to push oneself to do more. Every supplication, prostration, recitation, and charity becomes an act of sincere worship.
Make Ramadan reruns a thing of the past; truly experience the sweetness of fasting and worship this blessed month by preparing yourself in advance. Zero in on your shortcomings or missed opportunities to ensure you can avoid them. May this Ramadan be a blessing to us all.