The doors of heaven are open while the doors of hellfire are closed. The devils are tied up while Allah increases your rewards in multiples for every good that you do. It really is the most blessed time of the year; it is Ramadan. It is a time of revival for everyone – those who have been practicing for years, those who have just come to realize the beauty of feeling close to Allah and those who may have not fully realized that beauty yet. Ramadan is truly a golden opportunity, as many have had their lives transformed during this sacred month. So how is it that you can excel in this month and reap the benefits of this blessed time? How is that you can ensure that you come out of it, more righteous and pious than you entered it? Here are some tips:
1) Make a conscious decision to change for the better. Better yet, resolve to make this not just a good or great, but an outstanding month, one better than all of your previous Ramadans.
- Decide which habits you would like to drop and which you would like to adopt. Be specific and realistic. However, challenge yourself at the same time. If there is one or a couple of habits that you would like to develop which you think are most important, then focus your efforts on them.
2) Start forming your good habits and increasing your good deeds from the start.
- Pace yourself into increasing your good habits – it won’t happen overnight.
3) Plan your resolutions before Ramadan starts, or as early as you can. This way, once you enter, you are mentally and physically prepared to start making changes. Remember, that the deeds in this month are multiplied from 10 to 700 times, so you can potentially be getting 700 good deeds for each letter of the Quran that you read. Some good deeds to focus on can include:
- Prayer (including extra prayers, night prayer, taraweeh and praying in congregation)
- Charity (Does not just include money – can include dedicating time to social service and assistance)
- Quran (Decide on how much you would like to read)
- Dawah (Help others around you feel the beauty of becoming closer to Allah)
- Strengthening family ties (Make sure there are no hard feelings toward relatives, be the first to call and reconcile, or just call to say Ramadan mubarak)
- Duaa (Allah loves insistence in duaa, so pick the ones that are most important to you and insist on them every time you make duaa)
- Buddy System: Arrange with a family member or friend to keep each other in check during Ramadan
4) Beware of distractions during Ramadan.
- Turn off the TV, facebook, etc, and prioritize your commitments. There isn’t a minute to waste in this blessed month.
6) Try to maintain your intention that you will continue to do the good deeds you started after Ramadan.
- Don’t think that when Ramadan is over that you should give up the good habits you adopted and go back to your old ways. Ramadan proves to you that you have the time and energy to do the good things you have been doing. To ensure that Ramadan was accepted, you should be able to continue striving to attain taqwa which is the purpose of Ramadan.
Finally, if we keep this ayah in the Quran as our motto for Ramadan, we will continue to stay motivated: “And hasten to the forgiveness of your Lord and to a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the God-fearing (3:133).”
So, let us make this new start this Ramadan and continue for the rest of the year. Let us not deprive ourselves of this profound opportunity to be among the inhabitants of a Paradise that spans the heavens and the earth, inshaAllah.
For more resources, including a Ramadan checklist, see here. Ramadan Mubarak!
Raghad has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Bachelor of Education and acquired certification in Leadership, Life Coaching, Adults Training, and Relationship Coaching. She is currently completing her Masters in Educational Leadership and is the founder of www.MuslimWomenSuccessCoach.com offering online and LIVE courses and coaching to Muslim sisters around the world on marriage, personal development, and parenting, as well as www.DestinationExcellence.ca which offers speaking, training and coaching on soft skills and educational excellence to schools, government and community organizations. She is married and blessed with two children.