Written by Khushboo Jamal
“Do you know what time it is?!” my sister exclaimed. I glanced at the clock and realized with a few minutes left before iftar, I had wasted the last three hours just aimlessly scrolling away on my Instagram feed with my Netflix show on in the back. I was fasting. It was a weekend in Ramadan. I knew this was not the most productive way to spend my time, but I had burnt myself out in the first few days of worship. Imagine if later that night where my laziness had taken over was Laylatul Qadr – the night during which virtuous deeds are worth more than a thousand months of worship?
Once again, the blessed month of Ramadan is upon us and we should prepare to reap the benefits of this holy month with our goals prioritized. With the gates of Paradise opened, the gates of Hell closed, and the devils chained, time is of the essence. Let’s not fall into the Ramadan dip this time around.
Just as the key to a healthy lifestyle requires moderation and small, consistent changes to diet and exercise, the same applies to the deen. “Allah intends for you ease and He does not want to make things difficult for you.” Quran [2:185] Therefore, the good deeds that are consistent beyond what is obligatory, are preferred over ibadah that tires us to the point we leave it altogether.
Below are ten things we can aspire to do to ensure that we have a productive Ramadan and even carry on performing once Ramadan has left us. May Allah SWT bless us with sincerity in every action and intention:
1. Better your relationship with the Quran; this is the month during which the Quran was sent down by Allah as a clear guidance to the world and fasting was prescribed upon us so that we may attain God-consciousness. Aiming to make the intention to finish at least one reading of the Quran whether you listen to surahs on your commutes, or as you do household chores. Let us try our best. In a hadith by Tirmidhi, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, said, “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.”
2. Aim to fulfill the 12 rakats of sunnah prayers along the daily five prayers so that you may have a house built for you in Jannah.
3. Make du’a after every salah and especially before breaking fast for the du’a of a fasting person as he breaks his fast is not rejected. Spend a few minutes to talk to Allah SWT because He truly is the All-Listener and this can be the easiest form of worship.
4. Increase in dhikr. We find it easy to spend two hours trying to recreate the latest TikTok trend, but spending a fraction of that time to just do one tasbih that would have all of our sins wiped away even if they were like the foam of the sea would be a much better use of our time! Allah, the Exalted says, “Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you.” Qur’an [2:152] “And remember Allah much, that you may be successful.” Qur’an [62:10]
5. “Speak a good word or remain silent,” [Sahih Al-Bukhari] Be patient and promise no more profanity, backbiting and just overall ill-speech. Give up arguing even if you are in the right.
6. Saqadah – the more you give in order to please Allah alone, the more Allah SWT gives you in return and this is among the many deeds that will benefit you even after you pass away. There are countless online charities now where you can easily and securely donate, even if it’s just a dollar a day.
7. Filter what you feed your mind – that includes whether you are watching TV, scrolling social media or walking the streets. Don’t become desensitized to profanity and nudity on TV. Replace watching hours of entertainment with informative lectures on YouTube with the family. Replace music with beautiful recitation of Qur’an.
8. Revive the sunnah – Greet one another with Asalamualaikum, Qur’an [4:86], [24:61]. Recite the du’as prescribed upon waking, before sleeping, before entering the bathroom, before eating, upon entering/exiting our homes, upon sneezing, for relief from pain, anxiety, fear, for literally everything. Pray tahajjud – you’ll be awake for suhoor anyway. Pray Taraweeh if you can. Keep your promises.
9. Embrace the community, spread the love and be kind. Although we’ll be deprived of the masjid atmosphere this Ramadan, we can pray together as a family, hold mini-halaqahs at home, test each other’s knowledge with fun, Islamic games and keep iftars simple, being mindful of not wasting food. Help each other around the home, loving and respecting each other for the sake of Allah.
10. Lastly, practice gratitude. “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah, I will give you more (of My Blessings).” Qur’an [14:7] How can we not whilst fasting? The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "Whoever among you wakes up secure in his property, healthy in his body, and he has his food for the day, it is as if he were given the entire world.”
I pray that by the time Ramadan leaves us, our willpower and love for Allah SWT is so deep that we easily rush to do what is loved to our Beloved. May we all have a productive and accepted Ramadan!
This blog post was written by Khushboo Jamal.