I woke up just a few minutes ago and felt the powerful need to write this post.
I have no idea what time and day you will be reading this, but it’s currently 02:29am and Ramadan is just 3 days away. I pray that everyone fated to read this post will remain healthy throughout the period of this pandemic and will be counted amongst those who successfully observed the month of Ramadan and will have all their past sins forgiven and prayers answered.
This year’s Ramadan is undoubtedly special and one that has never been experienced in recent times. Many muslims cannot go to the mosque to pray their Fard prayers, Jummah or Taraweeh and experience the joy, unity and peace that comes from worshipping Allah in congregation. The Kaaba is empty and we can’t change the tv channel to the islamic channel and witness the live prayer being observed in Makkah with millions of Muslims in attendance. Majority of us are confined to the walls of our homes and cannot go out to even volunteer or donate blood at hospitals because several of them are now isolation centres and unsafe. Neither can we invite our loved ones to our house to break the fast with us or celebrate Eid with them.
A lot of the activities we normally look forward to during Ramadan will not be taking place this year. While this news breaks our hearts, we have to remember to place our trust in Allah and try to still make the most of the Ramadan this year and that leads me to an important question.
Do you have any tangible plans for Ramadan? If you do then I must applaud your zeal and proactivity in preparing for this ramadan despite the unusual challenges we are being faced with. If you haven’t made any plans for Ramadan, I am here to let you know that you have nothing to worry about because Allah has guided you to the right place and you can make use of the free plan I’ve prepared for you.
Before planning anything I always try to remind myself that while I can like to prepare and plan for the things I would like to take place in the future, Allah is the best of planners and my future ultimately lies in His hands. If things go exactly the way I plan, Alhamdulilah. If things do not go the way I plan, Alhamdullilah all the same. For a plan like a ‘ramadan plan’, we can only ask Allah to reward our intentions and effort and to count us among the successful people and not the losers who miss the great opportunity and blessings that this holy month has to offer.
I would like to assume that you all know the importance of Ramadan but I will run through some of its importance for those of you who need the reminder.
Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month in the islamic calendar. The word Ramadan comes from the word ‘Ramad’ which literally means burning or that which is intensely or vehemently heated by the sun. Imām Qurtubi narrates that it is named Ramadan because it burns the sins of people with righteous deeds.
Ramadan is the month where Allah instructed all believers to fast; Allah mentioned in suratul Baqarah:
“You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God.”Al Baqarah [2:183]
Ramadan is also the month where the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammadﷺ.
Allah (swt) mentioned in suratul Baqarah:
“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 sees in that month should fast, and anyone who is ill or on a journey should make up for the lost days by fasting on other days later. God wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful.”Al Baqarah [2:183]
Ramadan is also the month that contains the night of decree. Allah in suratul qadr mentioned:
“Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.”Al Qadr (97:1-5)
Abu Hurayrah (ra) also relates that the Prophet (saw) said:
“Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of Ramadan) out of faith and in hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven, and whoever spends the night of laylat al-qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”Sahih Al Bukhari
Lastly, Ramadan is the month where the gates of heaven are open and the gates of hell are closed. Abu Huraira narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
“When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”Sahih Al Bukhari
There is no denying how great and special Ramadan is. It is a month of self-purification. It teaches us to exercise restraint and master self-discipline and to break away from our bad-habits. We learn to control our desires and abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. We repel and guard ourselves from every foul and evil speech and action. We increase the level of our worship during this sacred month and observe as many good deeds that we can, in order to earn the mercy and pleasure of Allah.
The first thing to do when preparing for ramadan is to renew and establish our intentions for the month. What does this mean? You simply commit and communicate to God that you intend to fast for the whole month and you hope to earn His forgiveness and pleasure and reap the full rewards of your fasts and good deeds during this month. Before going to sleep every night during Ramdan, make sure to always re-new your intention for the next day.
Other things you can do to help you get into the spirit and better prepared for Ramadan is to start observing some sunnah or nafil prayers during the day. You should try to set a body alarm by cultivating the habit of waking up in the last third of the night to pray tahajuud. You should finish reading the English translated version of the Quran to fully understand the message and beautiful words of Allah if Arabic is not your first language. You should listen to lectures of your favourite scholars on Youtube. You should unfollow or block all the accounts you follow on Social Media that will tempt you to sin i.e by looking at unlawful things, people that arouse feelings of envy or jealousy or hatred within you e.t.c.
For all my mothers, fathers and students that have to prepare Iftar for the whole family during ramadan, I advice you draw up an Iftar plan for the whole month to make things easier for you. If you are interested you can download a copy of my free Nigerian Suhoor and Iftar Weekly Menu Planner here.
As mentioned earlier, I have also prepared a plan for those of you that have not created any tangible plans for the month of Ramadan. If you would like to download a copy of my free Ramadan 30 days Activity Plan, click here.
Also, if you recall last year I wrote a post on how to prepare for the last 10 days of Ramadan and prepared a free Laylatul Qadr Prayer Plan and Dua Checklist. To check out my Laylatul Qadr post and download the dua checklist, click here.
May Allah azzawajal bless you all and accept our fasts and answer all our duas and cause us to witness laylatul qadr this year. Amin.
Until next time,