This year, the global COVID-19 pandemic means that your Ramadhan will most probably be quite different from what it usually is. The mosques are closed, and iftar parties are off the table. If you are working from home, are quarantined, or practicing social distancing, the only people you will be around are your family members if you're lucky. Many are also unable to spend Ramadhan at home and instead face the prospect of a Ramadhan spent in isolation. If the thought of a different kind of Ramadhan has you nervous, here are 7 things you can do to help prepare yourself for Ramadhan at home.
1. Purify your heart and set the right intentions
The key to making your Ramadhan a meaningful spiritual journey is having sincerity and purity in your heart. Make dua to Allah to help rid our heart of diseases and sins, and pray that Allah softens your heart to fully embrace the blessed month of Ramadhan
"O Allah, grant my soul its piety and purify it, for You are the best to purify it. You are its protector and guardian” (Muslim).
2. Get rid of bad time-wasting habits
One of the biggest culprits to a meager Ramadhan is wasting time. We are only given one month to gain the mountain of rewards Allah has offered to us. Imagine you're in a game, and you're given one bonus round where you get to collect multifold of points non-stop, but you waste it by going shopping or scrolling through your phone all day. What a waste! Prepare yourself for Ramadhan by deleting mindless time-wasting apps off your phone. Gradually reduce your screen time whether it’s Netflix/Youtube/Social media etc. Detach yourself from chatting needlessly on Whatsapp groups. Fix your sleep pattern to prepare for longer nights of ibadah and waking up for sahur.
3. Prepare your mind
While fasting, one should have an increased awareness of their actions. Fasting is not just about abstaining from food and drink, but it is also a training ground for your mind and body to be in the best shape possible. Some practices mentioned in the seerah include working on our patience and being careful with what words come out of our mouths. Actively stop yourself from backbiting, gossiping, or useless speech, which could severely cut into our Ramdhan rewards.
4. Increase and perfect your acts of Ibadah
Before Ramadhan arrives, try to perfect the acts of ibadah you are currently doing. Pay attention to your wudhu, try and deepen your khushu’ in prayer, make sure your compulsory ibadah is in the best form going into Ramadhan. Pay attention to what distracts you during ibadah and work on reducing those distractions. Try and pray more sunnah prayers as well so your mind and body are ready for the Ramadhan marathon and you can hit the ground running instead of wasting the first week or two getting in the groove.
5. Set your Ramadhan goals and start your action plan
Setting goals is important so you can visualize clearly what you want to achieve. When setting Ramadhan goals, try and use the SMART technique. Make your goals:
- Realistic, and
6. Strengthen your relationship with the Qur’an
Ramadhan is also known as the month of the Qur'an. In addition to increasing your Qur'an recitation, try to improve your tajweed. Read the translation and tafseer of a few verses a day and contemplate deeply on their meaning. Think about the message contained within each verse, how it applies to you, and how it fits in with a larger frame of reference, eg: family/community/ummah. Qur’an journaling can help you keep track of your tadabbur/reflections. List down any verses which resonate with you or which you feel are good reminders for yourself. You can also keep a list of your favorite du'as from the Qur'an, which would come in handy during tahajjud and other times when du'as are readily accepted, such as when breaking our fasts.
7. Seek knowledge
Arm yourself with as much knowledge about Ramadhan as you can. Find out the virtues of this blessed month and learn more about our Creator. Read stories about how the Prophet and his sahabah used to devote themselves to worship in Ramadhan so you can use them as the best examples. There are so many blessings that can be reaped during this holy month; the more you know about the virtues of Ramadan the more you can perform, thus multiplying your rewards. The more you learn about Allah, the closer you will feel to His love and to attaining his pleasure.
Ramadhan is one of the most beloved times for any Muslim. The sense of peace and community it brings is a blessing in itself. There is hikmah to everything Allah has ordained, and perhaps the pandemic is Allah's way of giving us the most beautiful Ramadhan experience we could have within our lifetimes. Insha'Allah, by applying these tips, you will be prepared and ready to welcome Ramadhan no matter what the circumstances are. It's up to us to make the most of it!