Preparing for the month of Ramadan

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Every year it becomes wajib (obligatory) on every Muslim (with a few special exceptions) to fast when the Holy Month of Ramadan is sighted.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start fasting now in Shaban. 

Every year it becomes wajib (obligatory) on every Muslim (with a few special exceptions) to fast when the Holy Month of Ramadan is sighted.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start fasting now in Shaban.

As we get closer and closer to this wonderful month, we begin to ask ourselves, "How will I get through these long days? What will I do from sunrise to sunset?"

As we get older and become more mature, our faith becomes stronger and we begin to realize the benefits of the holy month.  Ramadan gives one’s spirituality a boost for the rest of the year like nothing else can.

When we become baligh we seem to think Ramadan is all about refraining from food and drink. Is that really the case?  Not at all.  We are not fully aware of the rules. Many of us are ignorant in this; not eating and drinking is not by it self struggling in the way of Allah {mxc}

Becoming spiritual and really understanding the principles behind Ramadan does not happen overnight.

The question again arises, “How will I get through the long days?” The answer is simple: patience and perseverance. That does not mean sleep at sunrise and wake up 5 minutes before sunset!  Fill your time with good deeds, not complaining about a little hunger and you will feel the beauty of the fast.

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) once said: “In this month you are the guests of Allah, enjoying his hospitality, you are from among his favorites, your breathing is praise of Allah, your sleep is worship, your prayers receive his approval, your invocations are sanctioned. So sincerely, free from evil and sinful thoughts and actions, with clear conscience, pray and request that he may give you heart and confidence to observe fast and recite the Holy Quran and prayers throughout this month." 

Throughout the day whether you are going to high school, college, or work, carry a copy of the Holy Quran or a small book of supplications. You can even download them onto your iPod.  Whenever you get a chance to read, whether it’s just two minutes or two hours, go for it. The prophet and his household have taught numerous supplications and prayers particularly for Ramadan that are amazing. 

Nowadays, there should be no reason for anyone to claim they cannot recite supplications or prayers because they are easily accessible to each and every one of us in different languages.

On the other hand, if you do not want to recite Quran, at least take a few minutes to reflect. Ask yourself before breaking your fast, “what did I do today that has gotten me closer to Allah?”

Although the school days may be harder than weekends because of exams and the amount of work required to pass, we must still struggle to get through. Education is important but at the same time we need to please Allah.

Usually in high school there is approximately 30 minutes to one hour of lunch break. Why not sit in a corner or a quiet classroom and recite Quran or supplication? Often times teachers are very understanding if you explain the situation to them in a respectful manner.

One of my favorite things to do is engage in Islamic discussion with a group of friends. You can easily start your own group and with the help of Allah and our awaited Imam (may Allah hasten his appearance) it will succeed. Discuss the many ways they can help you spiritually or vice versa. Maybe one of the group members can discuss a tradition they came across that grabbed their attention and made them reflect deeply.

Some friends have a great impact on you. Make sure you spend your time around positive people and good friends who keep you focused on your goals of moving closer to Allah.  You know spending time with people who use filthy language or gossip about others isn’t good at any time, but especially while one is fasting.

This is a great month for change, if a person wants that.  Sit by yourself sometime and think about what negative qualities you might have that you’d like to change.  Then focus on removing them.  Do you interrupt people a lot?  Try to make yourself quiet so that you gain self-control.  Do you get angry often?  Remember that a person who is losing control of their emotions is defeating the point of their fasting and try to think positive thoughts.

Exercise during the month of Ramadan is something that some people do but which you might want to avoid.  The risk of serious dehydration is not worth taking while one is fasting.  In any case, try to eat something before fajr begins and stick with healthy foods.  This will help not only in fasting, but in cultivating good eating habits even after Ramadan is done.



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