Days are going by quickly and the holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching. Fasting from sunrise to sunset is representative of spiritual cleansing, achieving a level of self-restraint. We can’t help but feel the happiness and joy in welcoming the beautiful month of Ramadan. It’s time for us to prepare for a successful and spiritual month as this is our chance to recharge our spiritual battery, often a golden opportunity to turn over a new leaf. It’s our chance to realign our spiritual compass. Let’s make this Ramadan your most productive.

To start off, intentions matter: Seek to please Allah alone and not to expect praise from family or friends. Seek your reward from Allah only. If you’re waiting for peoples’ praise, your expectations are from people, not Allah.

  1. Organize what you want to accomplish this month.

The way to having a fruitful Ramadan is to sort out, plan and afterwards to take action. It might sound straightforward, however, it’s a goldmine to enable you to have a rewarding Ramadan.

First and foremost, you need to plan your goals to get the bigger picture

  • Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
  • How do you plan to do this?
  • What are the steps you want to take to achieve your goal?
  • When do you want to reach the goal? Any specific deadlines?

Make a list of goals that you want to accomplish. Some examples could be:

  • To read and understand the Al-Quran,
  • To improve your reading and pronunciations, or you plan
  • To khatam all 30 juzuk in a month, or perhaps even more
  • To understand the Quran more thoroughly and in-depth, reflect on it and watching lectures.

2. Abundance of rewards

Ramadan is a month filled with blessings and mercy. Any good deed you do gets multiplied manifold, so involve others to do the same. Increasing your worship, reading the Al-Quran, giving charity, visiting the sick. So encourage your families and friends to do good deeds, for the one who encourages will also be rewarded. Just imagine the amount of rewards you get! Push yourself to reach a higher level of iman.

3. Guard your tongue

The many trials of the holy month is withholding our tongue from backbiting, slander, foul words, gossip, or anger. Choose your words carefully as how you would spend money cautiously. Ramadan is an amazing period to mould ourselves in becoming a better version of ourselves by our character, so make the best use of this month to tame your tongue and be closer to Allah. Cleanse your heart and drown yourself in Dhikr and Dua. Be around people who are righteous so that you won’t fall into the trap of badmouthing and gossiping. 

4. Increase in charity

One of the doors that Allah has opened to His believers to gain big rewards in the holy month of Ramadan is through giving sadaqa (giving charity/alms). Islam always advises its followers to give plenty of charity, especially during the month of Ramadan. The month lets us reflect on ourselves, to be thankful of what we have, and also to think of those who are less unfortunate. Remember what we have, and how we have food on the table for every iftaar, but what about others? Give the less fortunate food for them to eat, clothes to wear, and water to drink.

5. Eat and sleep sufficiently

When we don’t eat throughout the day, we have this belief of indulging in greasy food for iftar or suhoor will give us energy throughout the day. We shouldn’t stuff ourselves with all the fried and oily food. Pick food that are nutritious and give you energy. Include fruits and vegetables and food that makes you full and give you energy. Don’t overeat for iftar because no one wants to be too full and sleepy for their Taraweeh prayers later that evening.

Throughout the day, it’s normal to feel sleepy. Take 20 minutes to nap during the day to recharge yourself to give yourself enough energy to perform ibadah. Sleep after ibadah so you can wake up early and to perform prayers (Qiyam), wake up for suhoor and pray Fajr prayers.

6. Maximize the last ten nights

The last ten nights of Ramadan holds the most blessing for us as Muslims, because Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) falls during  these nights. It is described in the Quran as being better than a thousand months. It was reported that Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H),

“Verily I saw Laylatul Qadr, and I was caused to forget it, and indeed it is during the last ten nights. It is during an odd night”

Hence, any ibadah done on this night, whether it is praying, reciting the Quran, dhikr, giving charity, it has more blessing it than doing these same things for a thousand months.

7. What if the spark dies?

Some of us loses the enthusiasm halfway through the month, and others would realize that it’s almost the end of the month already. The feeling of excitement in achieving our Ramadan goals sometimes dies down, and we feel as though we slacked off.

Ramadan isn’t over until Syawal comes, so make the most out of it, even if you only have a couple of days. Your intentions matter, so remember that you are doing this to please no one else but Allah. Beg for strength from Allah to go through the month, so you can achieve your goals, and most importantly, remember that you shouldn’t focus on what other people have achieved. What matters is yourself. Small steps that you have taken is still better than nothing at all.