Ramadan is the most awaited time of the year in a Muslims life. Many of us are already preparing for this blessed month. Some are already pre-preparing snacks like samosas and pastries for Iftar, some are booking their holidays from work to spend more time at home and others are brushing up on their recitation by increasing their daily reading.
For many, despite the excitement of Ramadan’s arrival, the feeling can sometimes be so overwhelming that once in Ramadan, we lose motivation pretty quick. This is because despite the efforts we make in our schedule, we have not prepared our hearts for major changes.
Review your last Ramadan
The best way to improve your upcoming Ramadan, is to look for what did not work for you last Ramadan. Look at these areas of your Ramadan and see how you can improve:
- Time – identify areas where your time could have been better spent. i.e did you spend more time than needed cooking? Were there some Netflix sneaking in? Could you have given more time to reflecting on the meaning of the Quran or making more connected duaa?
- Acts of Sunnah: Did you include Sunnah prayer with your Fard? Were you able to add additional prayers like Ishraq and Tahajjud?
- Quran: Did you read with understanding and translation in your language, or were you just trying to keep on top of completing your daily Juzz so you can say you completed the Quran?
- Acts of good deeds: Is your charity only limited to Ramadan or did you push yourself to give more than you could afford to give in this month compared to outside this month? Did you make efforts to feed the poor and the needy? Did you acknowledge the rights of your colleagues and neighbours by inviting them to understand the deen? Did you reconcile with loved ones that you had fallen out with previously?
When we identify the areas we need to work on, we can then set a plan of action to help us achieve these goals and thus open our hearts to receiving change. Change is not easy and what tends to happen is we do acts in Ramadan without the heart being connected to such actions.
Presence of the heart
How to have a present heart this Ramadan
- Make intentions in all you do, and renew them constantly. This will give you the time to actually think about what you are doing and why connecting it with your heart, not just motions.
- Increase your recitation of the Quran with meaning – These words are like love letters and were sent down to reflect and ponder over, learning more and more about our Creator. This cannot be done if you don’t understand what your Beloved is saying to you and wanting from you (click here to get the clear Quran Arabic/ English translation with commentary)
- Record your thoughts daily, this includes your actions and deeds to make sure you did them correctly and set yourself daily goals.
- Make dua with Asma ul Husna – These are the names of Allah and His attributes. Call upon Him with His qualities and connection to your duas with your heart (learn the names here)
- Make dhikr in all you do – driving the car make dhikr. Working out, make dhikr, cooking, make dhikr. Ponder about the things you are grateful for and make dhikr in response.
- Forgive and forget, empty your heart out from bitterness or fueds as you would hope for forgiveness from Allah. There won’t be space in your heart for peace and contentment as long as you harbour negative feelings too.
- Increase in charity until it hurts. Give more than you intend to, so you can really feel like you sacrificed for Allah in hopes of attaining purification.
In’shaa’allah through following these steps you will work towards having a present heart this Ramadan and seeing real change to see you through to the next.