فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ “So remember Me; I will remember you.” [Surat al-Baqarah (2): 152]. Ibn ‘Abbaas said explaining this verse: اذكروني بطاعتي أذكركم بمغفرتي “Remember Me by obeying Me; I will remember you with My Forgiveness.” — Source: Tafseer al-Baghawee 1/168
Less than three weeks left until Ramadan! Here are some mini pointers to keep in mind:
1. Continue preparing yourself mentally by creating clear goals. Look back at the goals that you’ve created and ask yourself where you’re at and what needs to be improved.
2. Be more proactive! Find programs in your local masjid! There could be a weekly Halaqa that you weren’t aware of. For instance, my masjid has one every friday after Asr prayer. You can also be proactive in other ways. Knowing the Juz that will be recited the night that you’ll be praying tarweeh, will better prepare you for understanding what is being recited. You can read the chapter a little bit before you head to prayers and go through the translation. That way, when it’s being recited, you have some familiarity on the verses/words. Your prayers will be a lot more meaningful and it’ll have a greater impact because you have some level of understanding.
3. This one’s so hard even for me, but try not to mess up your sleeping schedule too much during Ramadan. A great way to keep your sleeping pattern regulated is to take a short nap (if you can) during the day. This’ll give you some energy to get ready for the night prayers.
4. Try not to overeat as well!!!!!! Crazy exclamation points because this is something we all struggle with. The more you eat, the hungrier you’ll be throughout the day. Try to keep your iftar’s/suhoors light. If you do plan on eating a heavier meal, minimize how much of it you’ll be eating. Drinking water helps to keep your body hydrated but will also prevent you from stuffing yourself when you know you shouldn’t. I know it’s even harder when we’re invited to lavish iftaar’s with tables full of food, but stay strong. The less you stuff yourself, the less likely you’ll go through experiencing a food coma. You know what I’m talking about. That instant wave of sleep that hits you hard after you’ve broken your fast. I suggest breaking down what you eat into smaller meals. The last thing you’d want is to eat so much that you miss your tarweeh prayers because you’re tired.
5. Replace music with either beneficial lectures or Quran. This is both during your fast and after you’ve broken it. The aim is to have self-control and take on habits that will make you better than you were before Ramadan. Your best habits that you attain during this month, can then be easily practiced after Ramadan is over. You can also try listening to khutbahs/lectures to feel more motivated. Yasmin Mogahed, Mufti Menk, and Yasir Qadhi have great lectures you can find on Youtube, or their podcasts on iTunes.
6. Remember that you always have time to improve. If you feel like Ramadan isn’t going as planned, don’t feel too bad. Work on what you know needs to be worked on and go from there. Fix the parts of your charachter that you know need to be fixed. For example, if you know you get angry easily, come up with strategies to minimize your anger. Self-reflecting on areas of your charachter you know need to be improved is an amazing way to be better and feel better.
7. Don’t forget to give! Zakat is so important but don’t feel pressured to give loads of money if you know you can’t. Give what you’re able to give. Even $2 pocket change can make a huge difference and gain you great rewards. Besides the required Zakat, if you feel like you can’t donate at all, then try donating your time. Go to your local masjid or community centre and find ways to volunteer. You’ll realize how great it is to be productive and in tune with other people during Ramadan. Don’t feel afraid to take part in your community. Remember: be positive and remember Allah Azwajjal always. Although it’s hard, try avoid the feelings of intimidation when helping out in your masjid. I know it can be difficult when there are people there who are already so heavily intertwined and know everything about the masjid, but you don’t have to feel this way! Don’t fear being a part of the community because of judgement or bad experiences you’ve gone through. You’d be surprised how many amazing people you’d end up meeting.
With that, I hope this was a little bit helpful. I pray that Allah Azwajjal continues making this Ramadan the best that it can be for us.