The Qur’an says: Wazhakir faina zhikra, tanfau-l-Mumineen: “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” When it comes to approaching our Islamic duties/ obligations we do so little in advance, especially for Ramadan. We have to remind ourselves that there is no better time than now to prepare for the month. In fact, our preparations should have reached crescendo, bearing in mind that it is less than two weeks from now. The companions of the Prophet began preparation for the glorious month six months in advance.
Some of us deceive ourselves into thinking that within the month of Ramadan, we will suddenly change and do all the acts of worship. But if we fail to internalise the acts, we may not be doing ourselves any good.
That is why some people after the first week, or so, they return to their former self. The mosques which are always filled at the beginning of the month become scanty after a couple of weeks into Ramadan especially during Tarawih.
Recitation of Qur’an
One important act is the recitation of the Qur’an. But for many of us the Qur’an has gathered a lot of dust since the last Ramadan. So, we must clean it and start to build a close relationship with the Qur’an. You need to constantly read the Qur’an if you are not the type that makes the Qur’an your daily companion. If possible read to test yourself with the speed and accuracy in order to know how fast you can complete the Qur’an in the month. Some can complete the Qur’an two or three times over within four weeks.
So, let us get into the habit of reciting the Qur’an now than to begin it in the month of Ramadan. We should recite the Qur’an with its meanings and try to understand and implement it into our daily lives.
We should set ourselves realistic targets for how much we should begin to recite each day for e.g. we will recite 1 or 2 pages a day, half a juz, or 1 juz etc. We should recite however much we can manage and then build up gradually.
Then endeavour to always perform some superrogatory prayers, (nafil). In order for us to take advantage of these immense rewards we should start begin now by praying all of the daily Sunnah and Nafil prayers so by the time Ramadan comes we will already be in the habit of praying all of our Sunnah and Nafils and so we can increase our voluntary prayers even more so during Ramadan. This would be difficult if we were not in the habit of praying Sunnah and Nafil prayers before Ramadan.
By increasing our voluntary worship, we can also give more attention and concentration to our regular daily salat and thus gain closeness to Allah.
We can also get into the habit of making Dua’a. What better time than now for us to get into the habit of regular communication with Allah via Dua’a. So, by the time Ramadan arrives, we would have already got into the habit of making the long and intense Dua’a which will readily be accepted during this blessed month especially whilst we are fasting and in the latter part of the nights during Tahajjud.
Ramadan is a time for generosity and giving. It is a time when we think about the less privileged and also show gratitude to Allah for everything he has given us. Ramadan is an honourable and blessed month, and the rewards for generosity are multiplied in it. Bearing that in mind, we should set aside part of our wealth to fulfil this act of ibadaah. It will not be nice if we are caught in the web of ill preparation for this profitable act.
Moderation in eating:
Some erroneously believe that a few weeks before Ramadan, they will have to eat voraciously to make up for the period of fasting in the month of Ramadan. This is antithetical to the teachings of the Prophet. One hadith says: ”No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach.
Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’I, Ibn Majah) Besides, by controlling what we eat now we will not only benefit our health in the short and long term, but moderate eating will make us less heavier and enable us to maximise the amount of worship we do everyday during Ramadan and the rest of our lives.
Change your sleeping habit
If you are an individual who is used to staying up to the late hours of the night, it may be wise to alter your sleeping patterns in order to ensure that you can wake up for suhoor as well as attaining the benefit of Qiyaamul-Layl. You know what works best for you; just make sure that you take the necessary precautions.
There are probably other wisdoms that one can derive from this special month and recommendations that can be given, but these should hopefully be sufficient for a reminder inshaa’Allah. Feel free to share a reminder of your own in the comments below!
Controlling your tongue and character.
We must start controlling our tongues now. Bad habit can not be controlled in an overnight process. We must make a start now so that by the time Ramadan comes we would have achieved the necessary changes in our manners and characters. Let us begin to feel that Ramadan is here and anything we want to do must be in consonance with what is permitted in Ramadan.
May Allah gives us the grace to witness this forthcoming Ramadan, observe it and grant us the strength and ability to maximise the reward therein. O’ Allah save us from the punishment of the hereafter. Amin.