Steps to Prepare for Ramadan
As Muslims, we often take for granted the blessing bestowed upon us having been chosen/guided to Islam. How often have you completely zoned out while driving? You could be completely spaced out, or thinking about something you need to do, and all of a sudden you snap back into reality. You feel a pang of anxiousness before you remember, wait I know how to do this, I just went on autopilot.
Unfortunately, this happens a lot in our day-to-day lives as Muslims: we know our overarching goal is to be good humans, follow our religion, and hopefully end up in Jannah in the afterlife. But we end up going through the motions, not present in our Salahs, in our Duas. Oftentimes we know what we need to be done to change this.
All of us have completely different schedules, so a set plan of habits to incorporate before Ramadan might not be able to set you all up for success. Think about the small things you can do and then you can make a plan to incorporate these things moving forward.
1. SET YOUR INTENTIONS
The first step you need to take right now so that you can incorporate healthy, within-reach positive changes into your life before Ramadan is to make the intention, the pure unwavering intention to do it. To be more aware, to be more focused, and to be more present in the things that bring peace.
2. Start Your Morning With A Dua
Every morning, on my way to work with my two little guys, we read the same morning Duaa together. This makes me feel as though I’ve done my job asking for protection for myself and my entire family at the start of my day.
A way to incorporate this into your routine is to find a morning Duaa you love, add a personal touch to it, print it out, and pin it above your coffee maker.
3. Fill Your Time up with ThikIr
How often are you caught between meetings, classes, TV shows and you pick up your phone to scroll through? I recently read something about how the angels in Jannah are waiting for you to make Thikir so they can continue building your castle. Make it a habit to stop and make Thikir for a minute between tasks, in lieu of picking up your phone . The Barakah comes from being conscious of how we are spending our time and ensuring we incorporate the little positive remembrances of Allah SWT.
4. Get your Prayers back on Track
I have to admit, this is one of the hardest for me to do. My plan insha’Allah with sunnah prayers is to make sure I do one sunnah Salah a day. I’ll do this for one week and stack another sunnah Salah on the next week, and so on. By the time Ramadan comes around, I should be in the habit of praying my Sunnahs insha’Allah.
Nowadays with Fajr coming in at a reasonable hour, this should be an easy habit to fit in. It’s going to be hard, but set those alarms, set your phone away from your bedside so that you have to get up to turn off the alarm. And if you’re still finding it hard to get up, recite in your head or out loud “la ilah illa Allah, Muhammad Rasool Allah.” Making Thikir will awaken your spirit and push you forward. You got this!.
5. FoRGIVE YOURSELF
Forgiveness is difficult for some, and sometimes it’s not about forgiving others, but rather yourself. In my family, the culture was to put others above yourself, above your own needs. We are constantly reminded to forgive others. But there is not much emphasis on forgiveness of ourselves. This can be extremely detrimental to your own growth. With everything going on in the world, we must give ourselves some grace and treat ourselves with just as much kindness as we are offering others. So be kind to yourself and forgive yourself so you can allow yourself to grow.
6. DO A SOCIAL MEDIA CLEANSE
Unfollow the pages that you find make you lose your focus, and follow some Islamic pages that share Duaas, feel good stories, and general Thikir reminders. if you want to bring Barakah back (oh I like that: BBB) into your days, get rid of pages that you feel don’t benefit you, trust me. Instead, do a deep dive on accounts that have consistent and relatable posts.
Some good pages you should check out: @muslimatoday, @islamreflections, @islamic.matters, @roadtojannah1, @path2paradise, @islamic_teachings, @quransayings, and @islamify
We all have off days. We miss a Salah, it becomes two, and then before you know it you only caught prayer once or twice that day. And then that sense of failure creeps in, and we just don’t pray at all the next day. And then it could become a week. A month. Do not give in to that feeling.
You missed a few Salahs. That’s okay, get up now and prayer what just came in. You’ll do better next time. Do not let the little mistakes become overwhelming pockets of failure that your mind can’t fill. Do not stop altogether. You cannot instill these habits overnight. “Walk towards Allah, and Allah will run towards you.”