The Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) used to prepare for Ramadan six months in advance. So, if we really want to make the best of this Ramadan, then we need to prepare for it now! As we know, fasting is more than just abstaining from food but from indecent speech and lustful desires as well. Fasting pushes us to be cognizant of our actions, to be patient and to be moral individuals, thereby increasing our Taqwa (God-consciousness). Here are some ways we can improve on different aspects of our life so we can fully benefit from Ramadan, a time when deeds are multiplied.
Make the right intention
Beginning right now, make an intention that this Ramadan will be a time of great spiritual effort and sincerity. To help turn that intention into reality, make checklists of both daily goals for Ramadan (read a section of Quran or a beneficial lecture every day, etc.) and goals for the overall month (visit a home for the elderly, etc.).
Seek knowledge about Ramadan
This will help you to ensure doing things correctly and perfectly for Ramadan, as there are many motivational aspects and events in the month to look forward to and finally it is a reward reaper. The more you know about Ramadan the more you can apply, hence multiplying your rewards.
Prepare your body
Make sure you are ready physically by adjusting the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and have smaller meals in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Also reduce your caffeine intake so that the lack of your morning coffee or afternoon tea doesn’t weaken you in the first few days of the holy month. If you sleep late, start sleeping early.
We all know that Ramadan is about Fasting, Praying, Reading Quran and giving in charity. Start these worships early; don’t expect to just click into it as soon as the first day of Ramadan starts. Start doing extra prayers from now, start revising and regularly reading Quran now, get used to being generous and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and fast during Sha’baan which comes just before Ramadan. If that proves too difficult, try to implement some of these other Sunnas: fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, or fasting on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month: the 13th, 14th and 15th.
Focus on your character
Imam al-Ghazali discusses the inner dimensions of the fast in his Revival of the Religious Sciences, which you can observe before Ramadan arrives. He mentioned that one must learn to fast with all the limbs, from all that harms the heart. Start working on your patience. You can, for example, avoid certain television shows to keep the eyes from seeing nudity, leave particular conversations to keep the ears from hearing foul language, and control the ego to keep the tongue from argument or backbiting. The inner fast is among the most important aspects of fasting Ramadan and is often more difficult than the physical fast from food, water and sexual relations, so the earlier you begin to practice this, the better!
Written by Ustatha Menna Kotb
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