Ramadan is coming, and it always seems to go by so quickly! For many of us, it's a time of reflection, spirituality, and endless bowls of daleem. But let's be honest, it's also a time when we start counting down the days until we can finally break our fast with a big ol' plate of biryani. And before we know it, it's all over and we're left wondering where the time went. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe the reason Ramadan feels like it goes by so fast is that we don't prepare for it properly?
Well, we have a theory - it's all about preparation, or rather, the lack thereof. So, dear readers! In this article, we're going to explore why it feels like Ramadan has gone too soon, and how we can avoid that feeling by preparing ourselves properly. And, of course, we'll throw in some jokes along the way to keep things interesting. So, let's dive in!
Let's be real, most of us start preparing for Ramadan a few days before it starts. We might make a list of dua's we want to recite or plan out a few meals, but that's about it. Then, before we know it, it's already the second week of Ramadan, and we're scrambling to catch up to pray, to read Quran, to get into the zone.
It's like going on a rollercoaster without any safety instructions. Sure, you might enjoy the ride, but you'll miss out on a lot of the fun if you don't know what to expect.
Think about it this way: preparing for Ramadan is like preparing for a camping trip. You wouldn't just pack a tent and some snacks and call it a day. You'd plan out meals, bring extra blankets, and make sure you have enough supplies to last the entire trip.
Now, imagine if you showed up to the campsite without any of those things. You'd be cold, hungry, and miserable. The same goes for Ramadan. If we don't prepare properly, we'll miss out on the full experience.
But don't worry, it's never too late to start preparing. All you need is some motivation and direction. And what better month to be reading this article than in Shaban.
Now, let's talk about habits. Have you ever tried to get into the zone for a competitive event? It's like trying to put together IKEA furniture without the instructions, it can be a real struggle! You go through a series of warm-up exercises, you pump yourself up with motivational quotes, and you still feel like you're missing something. You finally find your zone, and then...the event is over! It's like trying to catch a train that's already left the station!
The same thing goes for forming a new habit. You start off with the best of intentions, but then a few days in, you realize that it's harder than you thought. You miss a day or two, and suddenly you're back to square one.
So, what does this have to do with preparing for Ramadan in Shaban? Well, it's simple. If you don't start preparing early, you'll end up spending half of Ramadan trying to get into the zone! Ramadan is a time for spiritual growth and reflection, but you can't just flip a switch and suddenly become a spiritual guru. It takes time and effort to get into the right mindset.
By starting to prepare in Shaban, you give yourself the time and space to get into the zone for Ramadan. You can start by setting small goals, such as reading a few pages of the Qur'an each day, or increasing your acts of kindness towards others. You can attend pre-Ramadan workshops, seek guidance from Islamic scholars, and slowly build up your spiritual practice.
Starting Ramadan is like starting a new challenge, and as with any challenge, preparation is key. But how do we prepare ourselves to make the most of Ramadan? The answer lies in building small habits.
Let's talk about how athletes prepare for events well in advance. Athletes know that success is built on consistent habits and routines. They train every day, eat well, and get enough rest. This helps them perform at their best when it matters most. In the same way, preparing for Ramadan in advance by building good habits can help us make the most of this special time.
See, preparing for Ramadan can be fun too! So, don't be like the person who shows up to a marathon without training or the one who tries to quit a bad habit overnight. Give yourself the time and space to prepare for Ramadan in Shaban, so that you can truly make the most of this blessed month. Let's see how we can all achieve this together this Ramadhan.
Atomic Habits are small changes that lead to big results. By making small changes in our daily routine, we can create habits that will help us achieve our goals. This is especially important during Ramadan, when we want to make the most of our time and make positive changes in our lives.
So, how can we apply the principles of atomic habits to prepare for Ramadan? Here are some tips:
- Start small: Instead of trying to make drastic changes, start with small habits that are easy to implement. For example, if you want to read more Quran during Ramadan, start by reading just one page a day and gradually increase it over time.
- Make it obvious: Create a visual reminder of your habits, such as a sticky note on your fridge or a reminder on your phone. This will help you remember to do your habits consistently.
- Make it attractive: Find ways to make your habits enjoyable.
- Make it easy: Remove any barriers to your habits. For example, if you want to eat healthier during Ramadan, make sure you have healthy food options readily available.
Understanding how the Salaf approached Ramadhan
The Salaf, which refers to the pious predecessors of the early generations of Muslims, used to take special care in preparing for Ramadan, including during the month of Shaban, which precedes Ramadan. Here are some examples of how the Salaf prepared for Ramadan during the month of Shaban:
- Increasing fasting: The Salaf used to increase their fasting during the month of Shaban to prepare themselves for Ramadan.
- Reading Quran: The Salaf used to read and recite the Quran more often during the month of Shaban. They would also reflect on its meanings and try to implement its teachings in their daily lives.
- Engaging in extra prayers: The Salaf used to engage in extra prayers, during the month of Shaban to prepare themselves for the long nights of prayer during Ramadan.
- Giving charity: The Salaf used to give charity during the month of Shaban, recognizing that it is a time to give generously to those in need and prepare themselves for the blessings of Ramadan.
- Making dua: The Salaf used to make dua (supplication) during the month of Shaban, asking Allah to bless them and make them among those who are guided and forgiven during Ramadan.
Implementing Atomic Habits for Ramadan Preparation
Let's break down the habits we would all love to have during the period of Ramadhan, and break down how we can apply the principles of Atomic Habits on them. Some of the common ones are:
1) Preparing for Fasting
"The month of Shaban is a time to fast, as a means of preparing for Ramadan. Fasting during this month helps one to get used to the feeling of hunger and thirst, which they will experience during Ramadan. Moreover, fasting during Shaban can help one to develop a greater sense of taqwa (God-consciousness), which is essential for making the most of Ramadan." (Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Lata'if al-Ma`arif, p. 226)
- Make it Obvious: Set a clear goal for the length of fasting you want to achieve each day during Ramadan. Write it down in a planner, notebook, or on a calendar to make it visible. Create a schedule that includes meal times, and set reminders to avoid missing Suhoor or Iftar.
- Make it Attractive: Choose nutritious and delicious foods for your Suhoor and Iftar. Involve family members in meal preparation, and use beautiful plates and utensils. Reward yourself with something you enjoy after completing your daily fast.
- Make it Easy: Start by gradually increasing your fasting periods before Ramadan. Break your fast with dates and water, and avoid overeating during Iftar. Take naps during the day if needed to avoid feeling exhausted.
- Make it Satisfying: Focus on the spiritual benefits of fasting, such as feeling closer to Allah and increasing empathy for those who are less fortunate.
2) Preparing for Quran Recitation
"The month of Shaban is a time to seek knowledge, as a means of preparing for Ramadan. By learning about the virtues of Ramadan, the recommended acts of worship, and the fiqh of fasting, one can better appreciate the blessings of Ramadan and make the most of its opportunities. Moreover, seeking knowledge during Shaban can help one to develop a greater understanding of Islam and a deeper connection with Allah." (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, vol. 4, p. 161)
- Make it Obvious: Start by setting a clear goal for the amount of Quran recitation you want to achieve during Ramadan. Write it down in a planner, notebook, or on a calendar to make it visible. This will serve as a reminder of your goal, and you will be more likely to achieve it. Set specific times for Quran recitation each day and stick to them.
- Make it Attractive: Choose a comfortable and peaceful place to recite the Quran. Listen to recitations that you enjoy, and choose translations that resonate with you. Use beautiful Quran copies with good paper and font sizes, or use a good Quran App. You can also reward yourself with something you enjoy after completing your daily recitation.
- Make it Easy: Break down your Quran recitation goal into smaller, manageable steps. For example, recite a certain number of pages or Surahs each day. Use apps such as Al-Quran, which can track your progress and provide reminders. Take breaks when needed to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Make it Satisfying: Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be. Take time to reflect on the meaning of what you have recited, and find ways to make your recitation emotionally rewarding.
3) Preparing for Tahajjud
"The month of Shaban is a time to repent and do good deeds, as a means of preparing for Ramadan. By repenting and doing good deeds during this month, one can purify their soul and prepare themselves for the blessings of Ramadan. Moreover, repenting and doing good deeds during Shaban can help one to develop a habit of righteousness, which they can carry over into Ramadan and beyond." (Imam Al-Nawawi, Al-Adhkar, p. 208)
- Make it Obvious: Set a clear goal for the number of Rak'ahs you want to perform during Tahajjud each night. Create a schedule that includes time for Tahajjud, and set reminders to wake up on time. Place your prayer mat and necessary items in a visible and easily accessible location.
- Make it Attractive: Choose a comfortable and peaceful place to pray. Listen to recitations that you enjoy, and use beautiful prayer mats and attire. Reward yourself with something you enjoy after completing your Tahajjud.
- Make it Easy: Start with a small number of Rak'ahs and gradually increase them over time. Take breaks when needed, and try to sleep early to wake up refreshed for Tahajjud. Avoid staying up late at night.
- Make it Satisfying: Reflect on the meaning of the verses you recite during Tahajjud, and find ways to make your experience emotionally satisfying. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be.
4) Standing Long in Prayer and Tarawih
"The month of Shaban is a time for preparing oneself for Ramadan. One of the best ways to do so is by reciting the Quran and engaging in extra prayers. By doing so, one can purify their soul, increase their faith, and prepare themselves for the long days of fasting during Ramadan. Moreover, reciting the Quran and engaging in extra prayers during Shaban can help one establish a regular routine of worship, which can be carried over into Ramadan and beyond." (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah Al-Wabil al-Sayyib, p. 22)
- Make it Obvious: Set a clear goal for the number of Rak'ahs you want to perform during Tarawih each night. Create a schedule that includes time for Tarawih, and set reminders to attend the mosque or perform it at home. Place your prayer mat and necessary items in a visible and easily accessible location.
- Make it Attractive: Choose a comfortable and peaceful place to pray. Listen to recitations that you enjoy, and use beautiful prayer mats and attire. Reward yourself with something you enjoy after completing your Tarawih.
- Make it Easy: Start with a small number of Rak'ahs and gradually increase them over time. Take breaks when needed, and try to sleep early to wake up refreshed for Tarawih. Avoid staying up late at night.
- Make it Satisfying: Reflect on the meaning of the verses you recite during Tarawih, and find ways to make your experience emotionally satisfying. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be.
5) Making a Personal Connection with Allah through Dua
"Whoever desires to make the most of Ramadan and get its maximum benefits, should prepare for it before its arrival. And the month of Shaban is the best time to prepare for it. During this month, one should increase their worship and devotion, recite the Quran more often, give charity to the poor and needy, and seek forgiveness from Allah for their sins. By doing so, one can purify their heart, rectify their intentions, and prepare themselves for the blessings of Ramadan." (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Zad al-Ma`ad, 2/59)
- Make it Obvious: Set a clear goal for the number of times you want to make dua each day during Ramadan. Create a schedule that includes time for dua, and set reminders to do it regularly. Choose a quiet and peaceful place to make dua.
- Make it Attractive: Use beautiful dua books or apps that contain a variety of duas for different situations. Make dua for yourself, your loved ones, and those in need. Reward yourself with something you enjoy after completing your daily dua.
- Make it Easy: Start by making dua for a few minutes each day and gradually increase the time. Use duas that are easy to memorize, and practice them regularly. Use positive affirmations to reinforce your belief in the power of dua.
- Make it Satisfying: Focus on the spiritual benefits of making dua, such as feeling closer to Allah and having a sense of peace and calm. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be.
So there you have it, folks! We've learned that preparation is key to making the most out of Ramadan. Just like how you can't expect to win a marathon without training, you can't expect to have a spiritually fulfilling Ramadan without putting in some effort beforehand.
And if you still feel haven't started, don't worry - just start preparing for Ramadan now! That way, you'll be ready to hit the ground running (or rather, praying) when the holy month comes around soon.
But until then, let's all enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Maybe even treat yourself to a nice bowl of ice cream - after all, you've earned it for all your hard work! Just remember, everything in moderation...except for our love for Allah (SWT), of course.
Until next time, happy fasting and may all your duas be answered.