By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” (Quran 2:183)
The month of mercy is getting close with every passing day, and already, we can feel the buzz and excitement as people look forward to it. The month of fasting, whose reward is paradise is a month in which we maximize our worship of Allah (st). As Muslims, we recognize the importance of fasting in the month of Ramadan, and more importantly, the significance of the Night of Decree (Laylat ul-qadr).
Every minute in the month of Ramadan is a chance for us to earn the blessings of Allah, to have our sins forgiven, and to increase our Ibadah (acts of worship). As such, this month should have as few distractions as possible. Due to the special nature of this month, there are usually a lot of activities going on, and all Muslims need to be well-organized in order to focus on their worship. Here are five things we can do to prepare for the month of Ramadan.
Complete your Ramadan and Eid shopping
From groceries to Eid outfits, it is best to get as much shopping as you can out of the way before Ramadan, and focus on more important things during fasting. Write down a list of all the things you will need for this month. You can stock up on non-perishable pantry items for the month and buy fresh produce whenever you need them. Shopping for Eid clothes and accessories early enough may even save you some money and avoid a last minute rush.
Plan your meals
This may be daunting and seemingly unnecessary at first but when you plan your meals in advance, especially if you have a large family, you spend less time worrying about what to make or eat during Ramadan. I advise pre-cooking meals and freezing them, if possible. You can boil chickpeas and freeze them. You can even cut and freeze vegetables in advance and bring them out whenever you need them. This will free up more of your time and enable you to engage in worship during the nights of Ramadan. Making a tentative timetable for the Iftar and Sahoor meals will also ensure that you are able to shop in advance for all the ingredients you would need.
Spring clean your home
Spring cleaning gives your home a new look and a fresh start. Clean out all corners, shelves, rooms, refrigerators, freezers, appliances, and everything from top to bottom. Take out everything you no longer need or want, and either throw it away, recycle it, or give it in charity if it is in a good condition.
Cleanse your heart
Now is also a good time to check ourselves, our Eemaan (faith), and our relationship with Allah. Have we been letting our busy lives get in the way of our worship? We need to mentally and physically prepare for the arrival of Ramadan by getting rid of things that may have caused our hearts to deviate and do more of the things that bring us blessings. In this regard, you can:
- Forgive those who have offended you
- Seek forgiveness from those whom you have offended
- Recite the Quran more often
- Engage in more Dhikr (remembrance and praise of Allah)
- Give Sadaqah (voluntary charity)
- Repent to Allah sincerely
- Perform all your obligatory prayers and engage in more voluntary prayers
- Make more supplications
May Allah make us among those who will reap the blessings of this year’s Ramadan. Ameen
Amina Salau is a freelance writer passionate about women’s issues in Islam.
© IIPH 2015