Utilise Your Ramadan (Week 3 Countdown)
If you could take real action and make a S.T.R.O.N.G sincere connection with your Lord in the next few weeks, would you try?
I mean really try.
Or would you rather keep wishing, wanting and hoping for the best – someday, one day, SOON – when the month of fasting begins, all will be well you imagine.
This may be scary for you to answer if you are not ready to make sacrifices and commit to real changes.
This *countdown series* is all about walking you through simple but real action you can take to help you ‘utilise your Ramadan’ in a couple of weeks In shaa Allah.
Direct your attention to doing these short, focused tasks for a gradual life makeover.
The aim of week 4 was to get you to begin to look towards the direction you want to steer your upcoming Ramadan. Why focus? Because, it’s so easy to get distracted by the 1001+ shiny objects out there.
The shiny objects can easily overpower you and become your steering wheel through which you direct your entire life. Your time gets wasted and your energy drains away on irrelevant activities.
Your Next STEP is to actually COMMIT to those things you listed out last week. Starting right N.O.W.
Ramadan goals to aim for
Those top things (a.k.a goals) could be any of:
> Give daily charity.
> Pray 5 times a day, on time and with khushoo.
> Strengthen brotherhood by volunteering regularly at the masjid.
> Attend Taraweeh and devote attention to the verses being recited in prayers.
> Create daily family time for learning, sharing reminders and discussing daily progress.
> Build a strong relationship with the Qur’an through daily recitation, memorisation and reflection.
> Show patience and use kind words with friends, loved ones, little ones and colleagues – instead of nagging, complaining and using harsh words.
> Replace unhealthy, energy sapping habits such as over sleeping, over eating and excessive talking with moderate sleep, food and meaningful chat/ silence when necessary.
Commit to 3 goals
Remember, just focus on 3 for starters, without neglecting other good deeds when the opportunity presents itself. By making this commitment and completing the tasks, you are creating more momentum as you envision yourself closer to your goals.
But rather than just believe and imagine, you are DOING as well. You are driving yourself inch by inch towards great heights – rewards that last beyond the temporary world. Remember Ramadan is a game changing opportunity – a school, a promise and a unique experience.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied between ten and seven hundred times. Allah (saw) said: Except fasting. It is for Me and I shall reward for it. He gives up his desires and his food for My sake.” (Muslim)
Your commitment is your starting line – it shows that you are geared up for the serious hustle ahead.
Worship for the sake of Allah (swt)
Worship for Allah’s sake Alone is a means gaining His Love and closeness to Him.
”Surely, Allah (saw) said, ‘Whoever shows enmity to an ally of Mine, I have waged war upon him. My servant does not draw near Me with anything more beloved to Me than what I have obligated upon him. My servant continues to draw near to Me with the voluntary acts until I love him. Once I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he grasps, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask Me, I would surely grant it to him. If he were to seek refuge with Me, I would surely protect him. (Bukhari)
You need to spend time planning ahead to improve your relationship with your Lord.
Remember its all about you and Him – it is the one important thing that can make or break your fasting. Not the meals, the length of your taraweeh or the number of inspirational quotes you forward on social media.
Week 3 Tasks
1. PROFILE your Ramadan
Answer – Why, Who, How, In what ways, where, when? And more… about Ramadan.
Think of your Ramadan as a solution to your many issues:
- What benefits can you reap?
- With whom can you reap these benefits?
- How eager do you feel to reap these benefits?
- In what ways can you begin to reap those benefits starting right now in Sha’ban?
Think about the benefits which will bring you closer to Allah (saw) and reform your current life/ situation. PIN those benefits to your wall, fridge, car to view regularly through the day.
3. Sincerity matters
Make a sincere intention to please Allah (swt) in everything you do in your daily life. And in much the same way, commit to doing the same for all the deeds you will be doing in the month of fasting. Imbibe the mindset of fasting for Allah’s sake alone and to earn the best of His rewards.
The Prophet (saw) said:
”The religion is sincerity.” We said, ”To whom?” ”To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims, and their common folk.” (Muslim)
4. Goals, goals, goals…
Write out your goals (match them to benefits from 1 above) and the simple daily action steps you can take to achieve them:
Eg., If one of your top goals is to pray your 5 daily prayers on time and with khushoo, starting today do the following;
> Set reminders *as important appointments* on your phone to notify you of the 5 salah times.
> Clear schedule ahead of time for salah and preparation time.
> Have prayer mat, qibla finder and water with you always.
> Make wudhu immediately after adhan.
> Pray extra (nawafil) units.
5. Check in with your squad
Inform your ‘Utilise your Ramadan squad’ of your goals and the specific support you need from them.
Talk about how committed you feel towards realising your goals. Also take time to discuss with them, and agree to ways you can interact productively during Ramadan – whether its via whatsApp, Asana, in person, via phone calls etc.
Choose meaningful ways you can review your insights on your journey; what is working, engaging, challenging etc and share with squad if necessary.
Remember, those who take action and invest in a quality community make consistent progress.
Especially if you don’t have people around you that match your zeal, energy and enthusiasm – the internet can help. You just have to be vigilant – but you can get amazing feedback, support, accountability and encouragement.
6. Read to learn and understand
Continue to read your selected book/s (from week 4 countdown tasks) and take notes. I’m reading two books currently from my shelf to help me with my Ramadan goals.
WEEK 3 TIP
In order to commit to anything and do so wholeheartedly, you need to understand the basics. Same goes for Ramadan.
Can you answer?
- What is fasting?
- How did the Prophet (saw), his household and companions fast?
- What makes Ramadan different from fasting throughout the year?
- Can I become a better version of myself by committing to Ramadan and its tenets?
Dig into the hadith books (like Riyadus – Salihin) for a glimpse into how the Prophet (saw) fasted. And to gain an understanding of what fasting really means from the Islamic perspective.
Adhere to the pure sunnah – and save yourself from popular culture, innovation and ignorance.
Last word – Aim to utilise your Ramadan
Don’t underestimate the power of creating a small accountability team with some squad members to drive you on despite your struggles, hurdles and stress.
Aim to utilise your Ramadan but remember, it isn’t about quick fixes and shortcuts but rather all kinds of sacrifices to gain profits for both worlds in shaa Allah.
Are you ready for the sacrifice?
“There is in Paradise a gate called Ar-Rayyan; it is exclusively used by fasters for entry and nobody else will use it. As soon as they get in, the door will be closed and no one else will gain access afterwards.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Watch out for the next installment – week 2 – as you countdown to a month of personal growth, favours and accomplishments. And keep warming up to truly utilise your Ramadan.
For now, how do you plan to stay committed to your Ramadan goals? Please share below…