With Ramadan less than two weeks away, the last few days I have spent preparing for Ramadan. Not for the kids, but for myself. With anything in life, if you want to succeed at something or set yourself a goal, you really have to be organised and determined to achieve it. Many sisters ask me how I manage everything: home ed, studying for my degree, dawah, running a home. Wallahi, I struggle like anyone else and I am no superwoman (trust me lol!) but I feel what helps me is being organised! All of us have goals in Ramadan but how many of us achieve them. I can tell you that I have had so many Ramadans where I wanted to read this much, memorise this much, do this much and it didn’t happen and why?? Because of poor planning. But the Ramadans where I feel (inshaAllah) were productive were because of the tawfeeq of Allah but also because I planned and organised myself.
So, here are some things that I do to prepare for Ramadan. If you find them useful and beneficial, get some reward and pass on this post. Plus I want the reward too inshaAllah! lol
What are your goals for Ramadan this year? How much Quran do you want to read? What do you want to memorise? How do you want to change spiritually and physically after Ramadan ends? What life changes do you want to make? I would recommend reading this excellent book on goal setting for Ramadan: www.outstandingramadan.com Make a list of your goals and then refine them with how much of each thing you want to do and how you will achieve your goals.
2. ROUGH OUTLINE OF YOUR DAY
Ramadan as a single woman was easy in that I had all the time in the world to do whatever ibadah I wanted to do. But did I do half of those things! No! Now as a busy mother of 3, I don’t have as much time at all! So for me Ramadan really is about planning when I can do the ibadah that I want to do which has to be planned around my 3 busy young children. So, with your goals already outlined and what you would like to do, and how much of it (always be realistic) make a rough outline of your day. When will you read your Quran? When is the best time to pray? Can you do both taraweeh and qiyam? Or just one? Naturally, things might occur which will throw your outline of your day out of the window but at least have a rough one that you can try and stick to. As mothers, we need to choose times to do ibaadah when our kids are occupied/sleeping. So, you take out a pen and paper and figure out what your days will be like in Ramadan. It is always a shame to think that we have all these goals and then we just let our days waste away.
3. WEEKLY MENU AND SHOPPING LIST
Ramadan is in no way just about food. And in order to have more time for the important things, I have made my weekly menu in advance for the entire month. Alhamdulillah, my husband is quite easy in that he always wants chourba every day for Ramadan with some borek and salad. So, I’ll just make an additional dish for me and kids, and any guests we may have. This year, I made my weekly menu which includes suhr for hubby and me, breakfast for the kids, lunch for the kids and iftar. After I made the menu, I then made my shopping list. Supermarkets tend to be so busy in Ramadan especially the halal meat shops. I don’t want to waste my time thinking about what I want to buy. Also, it is a huge danger going shopping whilst fasting because you fancy EVERYTHING. This way, I know what I need, go put it in my trolley and then OUT again. Previously I have also chopped quantities of veg that I tend to use every day in advance and then stored it away in the freezer. Sorry to repeat myself, but it is all about saving as much time as you can for the important things during this blessed month.
4. DUA LIST
SubhanAllah, I can tell you from my own experience that last year so many of my duas were answered. Alhamdulillah. Allah was truly merciful to me and my family. Had I not made my dua list, I think I would have regretted not using this special month to make dua for this and for that. What do you want in this life and the next? Maybe separate your dua list into some categories: dunya, akhirah, ibadah, the ummah, relationships etc. Go mad with your list. Remember you are going to be making dua to the Al Mujeeb – the One who responds. So, go crazy with your list. Then make dua at times where your duas are most likely to be answered – before breaking the fast, during your salah, Qiyam ul layl, the last 10 nights etc. May Allah answer and grant all of your duas. Please make dua for me too!
5. GOOD DEEDS LIST
Again, what a shame if we leave Ramadan thinking that we could have attained this reward or that reward if we had done this good deed or that good deed. So, why not make a good deeds list. Think about all the ways in which you can make good deeds. I wrote my list and then posted on my local area yahoo group and the home education forum that I run for ideas from others too. And I must say, there were some great ways of getting extra reward! One of my favourites was leaving dates and copies of the Quran in the masjid so that you get the ajr of those who open their fast with your dates and them reading the Quran you left.
6. EID PREP
Eid preparation should really be done now. Not during the last 10 nights. So, I have already decided who will wear what (thats 5 people to think about in my family – yup including the husband lol!) I’ll be discussing how we will spend Eid and where the Eid salah will be prayed with my husband. Don’t know about you but Eid morning is a nightmare in my household and it shouldn’t be. Also, Eid gifts have been bought in advance. That way I can really try and concentrate on the last 10 nights which are equal to a 1000 months.
7. RAMADAN CLEAN
Every year, I do my ‘spring clean’ before Ramadan. This involves taking one room at home every day and completely cleaning it out, throwing things away, giving things away. Alhamdulillah, I have already done the living room and bathroom. My room is down for today. I can’t tell you how it feels starting Ramadan with a house that has been decluttered and cleaned.
These have been some of my ideas. I would love to hear your own inshaAllah so that I can try and make my Ramadan a special one this year. Do share your own prep with me.
May Allah grant us all a life changing Ramadan this year. Ameen!