Look where you’re headed based on where you are right now. Are you going on in the right direction? Or do you need to turn your map around?
This year I was worried Ramadan wasn’t going to be as special as last year. After seeing my spiritual growth spurt slow down, I found myself worrying whether I’ve peaked too soon.
Then I remember that when in doubt, pray.
Ramadan is a month of spiritual revival. It’s the month of the Quran and the month in which the Quran was revealed on Laylatul Qadr. There is also a weak narration in Musnad Ahmed that the Torah, Injil & the scriptures of Ibrahim AS were revealed in Ramadan. Allahu a’lam. It’s still an epic month, and there’s a strong narration from my mum that I was born in it. Yay me!
I was listening to a lecture where a Sheikh was saying that without the Itikaaf period in Ramadan, his whole year just doesn’t feel right. SubhanAllah!
For those brothers and sisters who struggle, and get negativity for practising, whether it’s because it’s too much, people say why bother when it’s only for a month, or you don’t think you’re good enough. Whatever the wiswasa of the Shaytaan, please ignore it and only listen to your Lord. He knows your heart, he knows your intention, he knows you’re trying. So keep trying, it is your faith after all, only you will answer for it.
This year I decided to do things differently. I do believe there was barakah in starting this blog a few months ago, and my post on Ramadan prep from Rajab really helped. For those who’ve never tried it, doing even the tiniest of something with the intention of preparing for Ramadan and praying to Allah SWT for help, really does help. Don’t forget to pray for post-Ramadan help too.
اللَّـهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ
Allah is the best of planners
Surah Al-Anfal, verse 30
We’re not even half way in, but I wanted to write something about how I changed things up this year, a) to keep me going and b) it’s been so helpful to me, I wanted to share.
I deactivated my social groups #Fexit (that’s me making fetch happen with a Facebook Exit….see what I did there). I often found myself reaching for my phone to flick through Instagram. WHY??? There was no need, and it had to stop. I must say, I’m loving it, my eyesight is loving it and I feel FREEEEEE. I hope my soul can make this permanent
Social Detox part II Leave WhatsApp Groups
I left a bunch of WhatsApp groups. A lot of the ones with conversations that I knew would distract me from my Ramadan focus.
Both of these social detox’s have me checking my phone less often to see what’s going on. I’m not reaching out for my phone every couple of seconds and boi, oh boi do I feel liberated.
I must say I’m feeling very reclusive in not wanting to be social at all, which is great for Ramadan. It also has me wanting to reach out to people more directly and see how they’re doing.
A good friend of mine asked me not to leave a few social groups because she would need a spiritual check in. The thing is I knew that I needed to leave, so I let the thought sit with me for a bit until I came up with a solution.
Sisters Circle Ramadan WhatsApp Group
Yes, it’s a thing!
A place for sisters of all spiritual practice levels and ages coming together to share Islamic knowledge, support one another and ask Alimas questions. I’m so grateful we knew at least one Alima, because when you have women’s questions it’s great to bounce it off a person of knowledge #KhalaFlo’.
I do feel like an aunty in the group asking the conversations to be on point. Cos ya know how group chats can get! But it benefits everyone not having their phone beeping away with messages and having to scroll through the conversations of strangers.
Made my OWN planner
Usually my brother sends me his Ramadan goals sheet that he gives to his students at his school . This year, I had my buddy MS Excel give me a hand and customised it to my layout needs.
In addition to daily goals, I also wrote down my long and short term Islam life learning goals. I have down the side like making sure I do wudhu right, checking I perform salaat properly and learning tajweed. This is useful for when you have some time and don’t know what to do to fill it usefully. What I also did was find du’as in the Quran and sunnah for what I was already asking for to give it that prophetic flair and Arabness in wording.
I do this every year, but this year I shared the ones I found #SharingIsCaring. What I found was Mufti Menk and Sheikh Omar Suleiman both going through supplications from our Prophets and the pious. What a coincidence!
I even discovered a new Ustadh I hadn’t heard of before Wisam Sharieff who’s really good at hands on videos for perfecting your salaat postures to sounding out the tajweed of supplications and I love how his love of our Nabi SAW comes through. He also has a series called the Prophetic Dynasty which is a great in trying to increase your love for our prophet.
I can’t talk about Ramadan series without mentioning my OG go to for series Sheikh Yasir Qadhi‘s series on the Branches of Faith.
This a du’a that I have added to my Ramadan planner spreadsheet that coincidentally came up in a few lectures I listened to. It’s by Sulayman AS …I think it’s a sign to learn this one!
رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
“My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
Sural Al -Ahqaf Verse 30
So far it’s been moderate with barely any oil in sight…queue the generous family members who will send stuff over.
My tip to you, instead of sending over fried foods, send over dates. It’s healthy and it probably ends up feeding a few fasting people for several fasts. Multiple rewards!
Another tip I learned from an event was to break your fast with dates, then drink water with raw apple cider vinegar in it, then pray your salaat then eat. I have fruits after my dates before the vinegar water, but what the vinegar does is clean your body, so if you are going to be cheeky and gorge yourself in fried foods, it’ll help.
This may be true for you, I never research recipes more than I do in Ramadan. But that’s also because I don’t cook much outside of Ramadan… I’ve narrowed down what dessert I’ll be making on Eid. We’re not even half way through guys!!!
How are you getting along with your goals? Even if you’re not ticking the quantity boxes, are you getting quality time in engaging with your worship? How do you feel like it’s going and where would you like to go?
We’re over 1/3 of the way in, it’s a good time to do a progress check and pray for extra help. We want to be consistent in our deeds throughout the month.
Remember, don’t bank it all in the 27th night. There’s wisdom in us not knowing the exact night for sure; it would be really bad if we knew the exact night but missed it on purpose. Allah has allowed for some ambiguity for our ease. I’m really excited for that night when all the angels flood onto the earth to hear your supplications and say Ameen. I pray that you can make the most of it too.
Don’t forget mentally preparing to do those 6 Shawaal fasts. Ask Allah for help if you’re unsure if you’ll have the strength to do it. Those add on fasts have the weight of the reward of fasting a whole year. If you have make-up fasts, those are obligatory, so try to do those first. Insha’Allah you’ll get those make-up ones and the Shawaal one’s done by the end of the month.
Much love to you my brothers and sisters, remember the Ummah and myself in your du’as.