Preparing your body
Fasting is taxing on the body
This year 1443 AH (2022), the initial fasts will be 14 hours long, the final ones will be closer to 16. Make sure you are physically up to the task.
The time to eat in Ramadan is limited and therefore it is more important what we put in our bodies. We need an optimal amount of energy and hydration. Try to stay away from fried food and plan your sehri and iftar beforehand. Try to cut down your food consumption in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Ash-Shafi’i (may Allah have Mercy on his soul) said: “I have not filled myself in 16 years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clean understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.”
Your body will go into shock if you go cold turkey on caffeine, a good tip is to use decaf tea/coffee in the run up to Ramadan. Try cutting off caffeine completely the month before Ramadan (i.e. Shabaan).
Plan your meals ahead of schedule, try to have the first week of Ramadan’s meals prepared before the month starts.
Voluntary fasts are a good way to prepare for Ramdan both physically and spiritually. There are different fasts to help you prepare for the month. You can fast the ‘white days’ (the 13th/14th/15th days of the lunar month). There is also the tradition of fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. These are both things that you can practise outside the blessed month. You can also fast the winter months to help you make up any missed fasts.
You should also try to fast the month of Shabaan.
Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Shabaan.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” (Narrated by al-Nasaai)
We all need to improve our prayers. Ramadan is the best time for us to focus on our daily routine. Our life should revolve around the 5 daily prayers. Ramadan is a good month for us to get into a better routine for our prayers. Some of us need to give effort to pray more nawafil, some people need to start praying their sunnah prayers and some need to make up the fardh. Try leaving your phone away when praying, make the space free so it is just you and your Lord. Don’t let the month come and go without making these practices consistent!
God says in the famous Hadith Jibreel, “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory on him.”
The month can also be a good time to learn more about the Prophet ﷺ and follow his actions. “Say, [Oh Muhammad], If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 3:31)
Charity purifies wealth. We can enter Ramadan in a greater state of purity if we make our charity consistent.
The Prophet ﷺ also said: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Al-Tirmidhi). The Prophet (pbuh) has told us, “Allah says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent on.’”
The month of the Quran
Ramadan is the month of the Quran. The Quran is unending in meaning. The more you recite it, the more you uncover its depths. Don’t let this month pass without attaining a deep connection with it.
It was in the month of Ramadan that the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So any one of you who is present that month should fast… - Abdul Haleem (2:185)
Consistency is key
Just like Ramadan is the spiritual centre of the year, the Quran should be the spiritual centre in our daily lives. Use Ramadan to build a habit that lasts the whole year and improves by the next time Ramadan comes about. Fix something in your life, no matter how small and keep it as a daily practice. It’s stones that build mountains, drops that create the sea and sand particles that make a desert. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones, even if in little amount.”
Set yourself a goal
Set yourself 1 goal for the whole of Ramadan. For some people it may be to complete multiple recitations of the Quran, for others it may be to complete one recitation of it, for others it may be to complete a few ayahs.
Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) related that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.” (Muslim)
Fast from bad habits
Ramadan is not just about stopping eating from Fajr to Maghrib. It is a time in which we can improve our character. We should fast with all our limbs and protect our hearts from all harm. This could mean avoiding TV shows with bad scenes, not participating in conversations with bad language, back biting or argumentation and even spending less time on your phone. These are undeniably harder than the physical effort of fasting. Try implementing this in your life now and you will achieve more from this Ramadan. You should leave Ramadan having become a stronger person and picking up better habits, just like a soldier who is fully trained and geared to fight when leaving their camp.
The Prophet ﷺ used to say: “The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.” (al-Bukhari)
Look out for the world around you
Overconsumption and the Environment
As an Ummah we have an ironic tendency to over consume and waste during Ramadan. Be sure to plan your meals in advance. Use ethical or fairtrade companies so there is more barakah in what you consume and use. Be conscious of the rubbish you create during this month. Saving rubbish by using less single-use plastic will help the environment and embodies the Prophetic example of being ‘A Mercy to all the worlds’.
Service to others
Also use the run up to Ramadan to serve the community. Please see our volunteering page to see how you can help the Masjid.
Prepare for Eid
You should shop for Eid gifts BEFORE Ramadan. You do not want to spend your energy in the last few days inside a shopping mall.