As the Hilaal for Shaaban is sited take a moment to stop and introspect. The most blessed, beautiful an auspicious month is dawning on us and it is up to us to ensure that we are ready to make the most of the month. By that I don’t mean the pies, samoosas and cutlets in the freezer. I refer to spiritual preparation.
The sahabah used to prepare for Ramadan six months ahead so if we want to make the most out of the month of the Quran we need to start now. We have no guarantee that we will experience another Ramadan so we should take advantage of every opportunity we get to reap the benefits of this auspicious month.
Some of us tell ourselves that we will change as soon as Ramadan comes in but who are we deceiving? We are all in this world to bank for the aakhirah (hereafter) and we know that the reward for every good deed in the month of Ramadan is multiplied. Why then are we so relaxed about it?? It’s like when a huge sale is happening at our favorite franchise store. Would we just sit back and ignore? Highly unlikely!!
Ramadan is a month where we are deprived of the things that we take for granted..food, drink and sleep. With all these daily buffers limited, are we going to be ourselves or are we going to be ones that find it difficult to even smile and be pleasant to others.
Yes, Daily life in Ramadan will find us in different situations and how we deal with the situation without a full belly and a good night’s sleep is who we really are.
Fasting is more than just abstaining from food it also asks us to stay away from indecent speech and lustful desires as well.
Fasting pushes us to be cognizant of our actions to be patient kind and tolerable thereby increasing our Taqwa (God consciousness) and in turn cleansing our hearts.
Let’s make this Ramadan the Ramadan of change. Here are some ways we can improve on different aspects and try to reap maximum out of the coming Ramadan. A month where in rewards are multiplied.
1. Voluntary fast
The best way to practice for a whole month of fasting is to start fasting often to gain control of your nafs(Desire),your actions and your stomach. This month, Shaaban is perfect to start. Mondays and Thursdays as well as the 13th,14th and 15th (white days)
2. Begin Quran recitation
Work out a pattern for reading Quraan. Maybe allocate a few pages to be read after each Salaah starting from fajr. Ramadan was the month where in the Qur’an was revealed so we should devote much of our time of the Blessed month to recitation of Quran. Another way is to set realistic targets for each day and gradually increase.
3. Nafl prayer
Nafl prayers done in Ramadan acquire the reward offered in normal time. In order for us to take advantage of these rewards we should get into the habit of our daily Sunnah and Nafl players so by the time Ramadan comes we are already in the habit of performing our salaah. We should increase involuntary worship we can also gain the closeness to Allah Subhanahu wata ala.
A lot of us lose out on the benefits of duas because our hearts are not often present whilst we are supplicating to our creator. We should try and give more attention to our duas, be sincere about it and concentrate more. Consider your dua, your dialogue with Allah. We should also humble ourselves and try to cry if we can and have full yaqeen (hope) that Allah will accept, if not in this world then in the next. Inshallah.
Another good way to start is to make a list of things you need to ask from Allah, we can even refer to this list as a reminder making our supplication more sincere and longer
Ramadan is a month where we can get mercy and forgiveness from Allah for all of our sins past and present. Allah is most merciful and most forgiving and loves to forgive.It’s best to get into the habit of repenting to Allah now so that we may make the best of your repentance in Ramadan and continue doing so for the rest of our lives
6. Generosity and kindness
We should get into the habit of giving in charity now so by the time Ramadan comes we will increase in our generosity. We should give to those less fortunate than ourselves. Allah looks at our intentions so we should give whatever is within our means.
Rasullalah (SAW) became even more generous in Ramadan then he already was.
7. Control your tongue
Ramadan helps to control our nafs (desires) and our tongues.We should protect our tongue from vain speech, idle talk and foul speech. Make an effort to stay away from lying, backbiting, slander and other things forbidden in the Qur’an. We should think before we say anything and if we do not have anything good to say, then it is best to remain silent.
8. Improve your character
Everyone can be a little more kind in different aspects of our character. Maybe even note a bad habit that you hope to leave behind this Ramadan and replace it with a good one.
9. Eat in moderation
With less time to eat in Ramadan we need to pay attention to what we eat. We should research the nutritional value of what we eat and we should ensure that what we eat in Ramadan provides us with optimal energy to accomplish our daily tasks and ibadah. This should be done during Ramadan and every day of our lives as our bodies are an ammanah to us
10. Sunnah in our lives
The best habit we can inculcate is adopting the sunnah in every aspect of our life so that everything we do becomes worship. One should try and learn the duas for our daily aspects like waking up, sleeping, eating, wearing clothes,etc. if we start this now by the time Ramadaan is here we will be in the habit and gain more rewards. Inshallah.