The swiftness in which Ramadan arrives and departs is a recurrent sentiment amongst the Ummah. Throughout Ramadan our deeds are amplified, our spirits elevated and our hearts nestled in harmony. It is in Ramadan that occurs the most blessed night of the year, Laylatul Qadr.
Upon reflection, we can all acknowledge that despite the blessings attached to Ramadan, we have allowed many to elapse without adequately utilizing our time. Though this is a disquieting thought, this concern of squandering away the moments of Ramadan is a universal perception.
In order to ensure that we attain copious amounts of barakah from this month, we must lay out a pragmatic plan of action. Such a plan, united with dua, will surely eradicate any fear of missing out on the spiritual wealth of Ramadan.
RAMADAN ACTION PLAN #FOMO
MAKE DUA AND TURN TO ALLAH
In any venture, the first order of business is supplication. It is a simple step, and yet it is the most profound step. Supplicate to Allah and empty your vessel, seek his assistance to put barakah in your time. In an era overrun by technology, procrastination is perhaps one of the most substantial spiritual hindrances. It is something, especially millennials, are perpetually battling. The radiant universe of social media has an insidious manner of spiraling us into laziness and fruitlessness. Accordingly, we humbly entreat Allah to shield us from this and any other diversions that might render our Ramadan futile and barren.
‘O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men
REMEMBER TO SET YOUR INTENTIONS
Islam is a religion of sincerity. Our deeds are not measured by its quantity, rather the honesty behind the intention. Every morning refresh your heart and recall precisely why you’re fasting. This simple mental note will immensely raise your spiritual motivation.
Umar Ibn Al-Khattab relates that he heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), say, “Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended.” [Agreed upon]
In the turbulent discourses and nature of life, exhaustion can take over. Consequently, it becomes crucial to consciously renew your intentions every single day. In doing so, you fortify the core of all your efforts. It gently eases your load when your emotions and responsibilities begin to submerge you. When you feel as if you are not doing enough, this act will appease your anxieties.
Establish your intentions, not only for fasting, rather for every single action you do. Your Ramadan and life will be replete with barakah.
SET ACTIONABLE GOALS
Ramadan arrives as a wave of serenity, reawakening the dormant spirit within ourselves. With this restored vitality, we become overzealous and endeavor to accomplish noble but tremendous tasks. Often we paint this idealistic vision without an appropriate blueprint and find ourselves disillusioned when it proves to be burdensome. We forget that just as our deeds are by measured by the intentions behind them, they are also judged by their essence and profundity.
When you compose your Ramadan aspirations, there is a myriad of factors to consider. Remember that we are all divergent beings thus, our goals and what we are capable of accomplishing will vary. Consider your roles, you might be a student, you might work a 9 to 5 job, or you might be a parent. Do not dismiss the affairs of your Dunya, rather be practical and strike a balance. Acknowledge the idiosyncrasies that your life and character are comprised of. A few examples of actionable goals are as follows:
- Read Quran at least 10 minutes every day. – Even if you feel you have a completely full schedule, set a timer to recite Quran for 10 minutes every day. The key is consistency. It is dearer to Allah that you read and connect with His words every day, rather than reciting for 2 hours one day followed by a prolonged hiatus.
- Contemplate and Reflect on 1 verse or short surah every day. -The intricacy of the Arabic language is just a fraction of what renders the Quran a divine miracle. There are pages upon pages of Tafseer on a singular ayah. Pick 1 ayah every day and absorb it. Reflect and inquire, do you apply the lessons of this verse to your life? Do not robotically recite from the Quran. It our light and guide, shall we not use it to our avail?
“If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.”(59:21)
- Study the names of Allah, select one or a few, and invoke Him with it. – Al-Asma-ul-Husna are the 99 Most Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah.
“Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.” — Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
- Feed a fasting person. –
“Whoever feeds the person who is breaking his fast, he will have his reward (for his fasting) without decreasing anything from the reward of the fasting person.” — Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
CHECK IN AND REFLECT EVERY FEW DAYS
Every few days, pause and recollect your thoughts and emotions. Evaluate the progress of the goals you fixed. Remember that a believer is someone who is in a perpetual state of development. As well as this, a believer is inherently flawed. This means sometimes you will falter and find yourself succumbing to distractions. So, throughout Ramadan, seclude yourself ever so often and honestly dissect your habits.Some questions to consider:
- Am I on track with my goals?
- If yes, what’s working?
- If no, what’s not working?
- Am I spending more time on things I don’t really need? (E.g Social media).
- What can I do better?
- Would Allah be happy with how I am spending my Ramadan?
Each time you cup your palms to hold water, it will swiftly escape through the cracks of your fingers with exceptional haste. This is the reality of Ramadan. It is the water your heart requires to quench its thirst, and we hope that not a single drop evaporates in vain. This fear of missing out on Ramadan is not unfounded, however, it can be subdued. It escapes your mind that Allah (SWT) is the most kind. He has already provided us with the instructions that will draw us nearer to HIm.
It is through dua we enlist the help of the most powerful, as Allah (SWT) says,
“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: If He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? in Allah, then, Let believers put their trust. “(Quran, 3: 160)
It is through purifying the heart of our actions that we accrue barakah and repose for our soul, as Allah (SWT) says,
Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are [all] for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds.” (Quran, 6:162)
Often when striving towards our betterment, especially in Ramadan, the path of our vision is blocked by the misconception that change requires grand and abrupt gestures. The fact of the matter is, significant transformation is achieved with gradual and smaller changes. Indeed Allah (SWT) recognizes the innate nature of His creation,
“And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties], and mankind was created weak.” (Quran, 4:28)
After supplicating for His aid, the rest is in our hands. It is our Islamic responsibility to constantly survey and decipher our habits. Allah (SWT) says,
“Truly God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (Quran 13:11).
Thus marks the beginning of Ramadan and the rest of our lives. We start in the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent.
“Oh Allah, make it a start full of peace & faith, safety & Islam.My lord & your lord is Allah.” [At-Tirmidhi]