Did you get your Ramadan preparation checklist ready?
It is said that “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” and it cannot be more true when it comes to preparing for the holy month of Ramadan. Since it is a time of the greatest reward, Muslims should race to reap as much of this reward as possible and that’s why this article will offer you beneficial ways to prepare for Ramadan that encompass three aspects; body, mind and soul.
Let us begin laying the groundwork by addressing some fundamental facts related to the month of Ramadan. These pieces of information are essential to know how to do Ramadan fasting for the first time.
Here are some of the basic questions that need to be addressed to guide you on how to prepare for your first Ramadan:
1. Who celebrates Ramadan? Or which religion practices Ramadan?
Ramadan is a sacred month in the religion of Islam and it is celebrated every year by Muslims around the world. A Muslim who practices Ramadan has to abstain from consuming any food and liquids and engaging in marital relations from Fajr time until Maghreb.
2. When does Ramadan begin?
In countries where Ramadan is celebrated, Muslims await the sighting of the new crescent moon. This sighting signifies the start of the first day of Ramadan which is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.
3. Is Ramadan mandatory?
Fasting Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam that comprise the foundation for a Muslim life (alongside Shahadah, prayer, Zakat and performing Hajj for those who are physically and financially capable). Therefore, fasting the month of Ramadan is considered obligatory for those who are physically capable of performing it.
However, Islam is a religion that does not aim to overburden people so in cases such as severe illness, traveling and menstruation for women along with other conditions, they are given permission but they need to make up for the missed days later.
4. Why Ramadan is important to the religion of Islam?
Muslims observe the month of Ramadan and it bears great significance to them because:
- It is the month when the first verses of the Holy Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
- Fasting Ramadan is the fourth Pillar of Islam.
- It has what is known as the Night of Decree or the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months.
- During this blessed month, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the Shayatin are chained up.
- It is a great chance for repentance and reaping multiplied rewards for righteous deeds such as prayer, donations, reciting Quran and remembrance of Allah.
- The minor pilgrimage or Umra’h in Ramadan is equal in reward to Hajj.
- Ramadan is important for the individual but also for the whole nation collectively as it serves to strengthen their times through fasting and congregational prayers.
How to prepare for Ramadan:
Hence, preparing for such a glorious time should strive to be on an equal footing with the promised reward.
We will divide Ramadan preparation checklist into three sections; body, mind, and soul.
- 1. Body:
To gear yourself up for Ramadan, you need to physically train yourself by following these steps:
- Eat less:
Many of us face some difficulty when it comes to fasting because we are used to eating large quantities of food, especially fatty food. Thus, adjusting your daily consumption of food is of great importance to your health and it will also give you more energy for worship as it will reduce the feeling of fatigue and laziness.
- Consume less salt and sugar:
Try to gradually reduce your intake of salt and sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Reduce your caffeine intake:
Another challenge for some of us while fasting Ramadan is our addiction to caffeine and not being able to function without our morning coffee. Taking the time to reduce your caffeine intake will help you avoid withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, restlessness and those unbearable headaches on the first few days of Ramadan.
- Adjust your sleeping pattern:
Make sure to have at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep at night so that you have enough energy and concentration during the day.
- Plan meals ahead:
Use some of the time before Ramadan to prepare some meals ahead of time in order not to waste much of the precious time of Ramadan in the kitchen cooking food from scratch.
You can also make Ramadan food preparation checklist and buy the essential groceries to free up more time during Ramadan for acts of worship.
- Declutter and donate:
Cleaning the house could be a time-consuming task for most of us so make use of the days prior to Ramadan by cleaning your house and getting rid of any clutter.
This is helpful because a clean and tidy space brings more comfort to the mind and also because decluttering your closets means you have some items to donate for charity to those in need.
- Prepare your house and your family:
Ramadan is a splendid time of the year for Muslims that should be welcomed with joy and exuberance. As a parent, you can decorate your house with lanterns and colors and create a prayer corner where you pray with your kids. In that corner as well, you can sit together as a family and recite Quran, read Islamic stories or plan for charity work to do together as a family.
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The second aspect that requires preparation is your mind. Check the following checklist for guidance:
- Learn the basics about Ramadan:
If you are not sure how to do Ramadan fasting for the first time, it is of the utmost importance to seek knowledge regarding the rules and conditions of fasting -some of them were demonstrated at the beginning of this article- so that your fast is valid. It is also important to know about the things that could invalidate your fasting.
This knowledge could be sought through the means of Islamic books and lectures as well as listening to preparing for Ramadan Khutbah at your local mosque. These sources will provide you with both knowledge and motivation to fuel you for the upcoming month.
- Spread the knowledge:
A deed that is promised with great reward as well is the spreading of knowledge. When you learn about the rules and regulations of fasting the month of Ramadan, share the information with your family, friends or people who would benefit from this knowledge.
- Eliminate distractions:
A distracted mind cannot by any means focus on achieving goals, especially when these goals are in regard to a sacred month such as Ramadan.
Therefore, eliminating distractions whether in the form of negative thoughts, social media or any other would greatly help you focus on reaching your Ramadan goals.
The last and probably the most significant aspect of the Ramadan preparation checklist is the preparation of the soul.
Fasting is a way for Muslims to attain Taqwa by performing actions that please Allah and abstaining from ones that displease Him. Thus, in order for us to prepare our souls for Taqwa the following steps should be taken into account:
- Attempt to purify your heart from grudges against your brothers and sisters as these grudges could stand in the way between you and the great rewards promised by Allah for those who fast Ramadan.
- Free your heart and soul from severe attachment to worldly pleasures and desires.
- Start Ramadan with a clean slate by repenting to Allah for any sins you have committed. In Ramadan, Muslims abstain from permissible things such as eating and drinking so it is even more significant to refrain from prohibited actions such as gossip and backbiting.
- Improve the quality and quantity of your Salah. Perform the five daily prayers on time without delay and gradually increase the Nawafil prayers. Moreover, get used to Taraweeh by praying at least 2 Rak’ah at night.
It is of equal importance to work on the quality of your prayers by eliminating the aforementioned distractions and creating an environment that helps you to build a stronger connection with the Creator in your prayers.
- Ramadan is known to be the month of Quran. Hence, it is crucial to recite more Quran prior to Ramadan so that you keep up with your goals for Ramadan. For more insights you can check this article of how to finish Quran in Ramadan.
Make yourself ready by getting a copy of the Quran that has a translation of the meanings and Tafseer to ponder over the meaning of the verses as you recite them.
- Increase your voluntary fasting during Sha’ban, the month prior to Ramadan, which was the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad PBUH by fasting every Monday and Thursday or three days of the month (13th, 14th, 15th days of the Islamic calendar).
- Prepare your list of Duaa’. Muslims are promised accepted duaa’ at the time of breaking the fast so prepare a list of things you would like to ask Allah SWT for during the month of Ramadan such as asking for heavenly reward or ease from an ongoing hardship. Make duaa’ for yourself, your loved ones and for the whole Muslim Ummah.
- Dedicate time for morning and evening Dhikr.
- Seek the support and companionship of your fellow Muslims.
- Learn the recitation of new surahs to recite while praying and try to learn the meaning of the verses as well. Our online Quran recitation classes at Almuhammadi Academy could be of great help.
You can find the whole Ramadan preparation checklist and a Ramadan daily checklist PDF here. These printables will make the previously mentioned points easier to digest and follow. It will also make you better able to hold yourself accountable.
Preparing for Ramadan with Sincere intention
One of the most crucial aspects that need a lot of effort to perfect is preparing for Ramadan with a sincere intention. Fasting Ramadan is one of the deeds that are done in public but also in private which means that you need to purify your intention for the sake of Allah.
One way to do so is to put in mind the great reward that Allah promises for those who fast during the month of Ramadan. To name a few:
1. Allah SWT stated that “every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’
2. Allah promised a special gate to Jannah called ‘The gate of Rayyan’ for those who fast and it is closed after they enter.
3. Observing the month of Ramadan could be your chance to have your previous sins forgiven by Allah SWT.
4. On the Day of Judgment, fasting and the Quran Intercede for us.
You need to realize that it does not matter if you read this article a month prior to Ramadan or just a few days before it because it is never too late to start. Set maintainable goals for the month and start preparing for them as much as you can. Make sure that these goals get more challenging as the days of Ramadan go by until the last blessed ten days.
The month of Ramadan and the Quran are profoundly related so in preparing for this blessed month, you should dedicate sufficient time for learning and improving your recitation of the Quran.
This could be so much easier and accessible through our online classes at Almuhammadi Academy where our talented tutors are there for you to achieve your Ramadan goals concerning the recitation of Quran.
If you are a parent who needs to deepen their kids’ connection with the Quran prior to the month of Ramadan, you can benefit from our online Quran and Tajweed classes for kids. So don’t waste time and join our online classes now!