By Abdel-Rahman Mussa
(Undoubtedly, the one who purifies (their soul) has succeeded. And the one who soiled (their soul) has certainly failed.) (Ash-Shams 91:9-10)
Ramadan is the best time to grow and purify our hearts and ourselves. You’re fasting so your whims are weakened and your sense of control ought be stronger. Every good deed is multiplied and the doors of Paradise are open. It’s the perfect time to build a new habit and to construct a new you. It’s the perfect time to focus on your mega Ramadan project: YOU.
Outside of Ramadan we have many distractions and it is like a gravitational pull bringing us down. It’s this constant struggle and battle between you and Shaytan. In Ramadan though, the devils are chained according to the authentic narrations of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
But what brings us down during the eleven other months of the year is also friction that exists within us, our desires. We enter into Ramadan having not shed any of our bad habits or desires, not prepared for the beautiful month ahead of us, not on the path of purification.
So What’s the Solution?
Expend 60-80% of your energy before you enter the ‘zero-gravity zone’ – that means plan how you will make this Ramadan the best and develop self-discipline. Hit the floor running as they say. Everything that you would have done in Ramadan, start doing it now. Warm up and prepare for the opportunity to come.
Here are some practical tips:
1. Define Your Goals
The first step is to mentally prepare and then write out this commitment to yourself. For example how much of the Qur’an do you want to read a day in Ramadan? Work your way towards reading that amount by reading at least half of your goal everyday. Start from now. Or if you want to develop a worship habit begin by adding some additional Prayers to your daily routine.
2. Scheduling Time
Using our special Ramadan Taskinator you can plan to make the most of every day and every hour of Ramadan to invest in yourself. Planning bite-sized actions to accomplish each day will help you to achieve the overall goal. Preparing your body physically and mentally to the adjustment of Ramadan starts with fasting regularly now. Get your body, mind, and soul into fasting mode sooner rather than later.
3. Monitor Progress
Now you’ve committed to action and set your goals for Ramadan, the willpower and dedication to succeed lies in making du`aa’ and also continuously evaluating yourself. Ramadan is a spiritual training ground for us to reflect, and therefore the actions you want to achieve should be instilled into your daily routine by the end of ramadan. Ask a friend to help you to monitor your progress, whether it is completing the Qur’an or performing the night Prayer.
Allah has blessed us with a month of countless rewards and benefits. Make the most out of this Ramadan and build a new YOU. (Just get a head start so you can hit the ground running when Ramadan begins in shaa’ Allah!)
(www.onislam.net / 14.08.2011)