One of the means to make the most of the blessed month of Ramaḍān is to have a written schedule. Write down on a piece of paper what you hope your daily schedule in this blessed month will be. Be happy and feel the excitement in your heart knowing that you will be spending quality time with Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā).
Depending on your circumstances, your schedule on weekdays may differ from the weekends. Nevertheless strive to remain busy with good deeds, for being idle makes it easier to become ensnared in sins.
Make the Qur’an Your Focus
Ramaḍān is the month of the Qur’ān. Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā) says: “Ramaḍān is the month in which the Qur’ān was revealed – a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (between right and wrong)…” (2:185)
Dedicate time to reciting, understanding, reflecting and acting upon the Qur’ān. You will only feel the sweetness (ḥalāwah) of the night prayer if you spend your day reciting and connecting with the Qur’ān. Read 10 practical ways in which you can connect to the Qur’an in this blessed month.
Social Media: The Biggest Thief
Social media is the biggest thief of our time. In Ramaḍān, every moment is precious, therefore try to detox from social media completely. Otherwise, reduce it to a minimum. At the most, have a set ‘window’ in which you allow yourself to catch up on it, rather than just saying ‘I’m going to reduce it.’ For example, ‘I will use social media for twenty minutes after ifṭār.’
The Last 10 Days
In the last ten days, intensify your schedule, take off time from work and try to use it wholly in solitude with Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā). This may not be completely possible due to family and work commitments.
“When the last ten days of Ramaḍān arrived, the Prophet ﷺ would tighten his belt, spend the night in worship, and awaken his family.” (Bukhārī)
If you are a mother or father, don’t be selfish. Be considerate and give your spouse their own ‘alone with Allah’ time whilst you take care of the children. Your spouse connecting with Allah will result in him/her being a better spouse and parent to your children.
Spend quality time with your children. Tell them the stories of the Prophets, Companions and the people of the past. Recite Qur’ān with them. Hold a daily family circle where you can have discussions. Do fun and beneficial activities related to Ramaḍān. (There are lots of ideas on the internet for different crafts and activities.) Remember to renew your intention for you spending time with them, and you will be rewarded for this great act of ‘ibādah (worship).
Use Every Moment
There may be times when you are tired or too exhausted to recite Qur’ān. Fill this time up with ‘easier’ acts of worship for e.g. listening to the Qur’ān or a beneficial lecture. Similarly, if you’re doing household chores, recite the Qur’ān or do dhikr simultaneously.
Have a stockpile of books, or even one book, ready to help you become close to Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā), His Words and His Messenger ﷺ.
Fasting, not feasting
Don’t spend too much time preparing your meals. Naturally the long hours leave us hungry, making us cook more than usual. Similarly, don’t pressurise your family in cooking elaborate meals for you. Imām al-Ghazali explained that one will only reap the full benefit of a fast if one does not over eat at ifṭār. One should only eat what one would usually eat on a normal night. Otherwise, the purpose of fasting will not be fulfilled and it will be easier for Shaytān to make inroads into our hearts.
Feel Your Imān Soar
Ramadān is the best time of the year to strengthen your īmān. Focus on increasing your īmān in Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā). By following a strict regimen, increase in your love of Him. Let your fear of Him overwhelm you. Feel closeness to Him when you make du‘ā. Cry in your salāh and sujūd. Go to Him as a broken slave who is in desperate need. Feel eager to meet and see Him in Jannah (inshā’Allāh). Taste the sweetness of worshipping Him.
What to include in your timetable
- The 5 daily prayers
- Qiyām al-Layl (Tarāwīḥ/Tahajjud). Along with fasting, this is the highlight of Ramadān. This is the time of the year in which you can truly connect to the Qur’ān. Recite slowly, repeat the āyāt and feel the emotion in your heart. Think that Allah is talking to YOU directly.
- Salāh al-Ḍuḥā (This can be read approximately 15 minutes after sunrise till 15 minutes before Ẓuhr)
- Have an ambitious target for reciting as much Qur’ān as possible.
- Along with recitation, allocate time for memorisation, reviewing memorisation, learning the meanings and reflection on the Qur’ān.
- Bring the Qur’ān alive into your day. Have a minimum of at least one thing you will act upon based on what you recited in the day. (For an excellent Arabic resource on this, click here.)
For a collection of the morning and evening, before sleep and after ṣalāh adhkār, download the FREE ‘Daily Adhkār’ book.
- Du‘ā’ before Iftār (and after opening the fast)
- Du‘ā’ throughout the day when you’re fasting
- Du‘ā’ in your sajdah
- Du‘ā’ in the last third of the night, especially in sajdah
- Sunnah du‘ās, such as before/after eating, entering the house, using the bathroom etc. Some of these have incredible rewards, which you shouldn’t miss out on, especially in this blessed month. (Read ‘Daily Adhkār’ for further information).
- Increase in your praise (ḥamd) of Allah before starting your du‘ā’. This will specifically help you to build a special bond with Him.
For a collection of du‘ās from the Qur’ān and Sunnah including praises of Allah (ḥamd), download the FREE ‘I Am Near’ book.
Helping Others & Family ties
- Try to help others as much as possible, especially during this crisis.
- Maintain ties of kinship and reach out to people you have severed contact with.
- Choose specific acts of kindness which you will do for your family e.g. unload the dishwasher/give a head massage/help with homework.
- Give charity. Try to feed those who are fasting to acquire the reward of their fasts inshallah.
May Allah (subḥānahū wa ta‘ālā) grant us the joy of worshipping Him in this life, and the joy of seeing Him in the next.