My first Ramadan with Yusra was when she was 6 months old. With her still waking up for night feeds and me introducing solids to her. It all meant our Ramadan was full of sleepless nights and with high levels of anxiety throughout the day. Sticking to a pleasant routine with slots for extra Ibadah became a burdening task.
For the first couple of days I felt overwhelmed with it all because prior to becoming a mother, Ramadan was a month of deep reflection and complete dedication to extra Ibadah. It was simple before having Yusra, I’d take time off work and plan my whole day around how to be productive. I learnt this was no longer to be the case and my heart and soul felt terrible at this realisation. I realised this was yet another ‘sacrifice’ I had to make.
I sat down and thought I couldn’t carry on like that, Ramadan is far too precious to waste away due to low energy levels or because I had a baby to attend to. So, I made a list of things I really wanted to get done and felt the only way I could do them was by spreading it out throughout the whole day. The list of deeds were based on what I felt were going to help me increase in Taqwa (as that is our sole objective with fasting in Ramadan and of course to gain extra reward).
Using the list as motivation and a checklist, I managed to engage in a more productive Ramadan (of course only Allah knows how much of it will be accepted). But I didn’t feel all over the place and Ramadan once again became a dear month I was part of. It was extremely important for me to do other things than just fast because we all know abstaining from food and drink isn’t the only thing a fasting Muslim practises, we also increase in extra deeds as much as we can knowing well what the month offers for the sincere servant.
Last Ramadan, I used the list again and added to it and it became an important part of my Ibadah and helped me with utilising my time better. I typed it up, printed a copy and stuck it in my kitchen and used it with addiction (a healthy addiction). This year when I thought about getting it printed again, I had a brilliant idea about sharing it with everyone else. I thought, If it’s helped me, maybe it can help others too inshaAllah.
This is how the to-do list looks:
Here it is, RamadanPlan2015 (And now updated with RamadanPlan2016) something you too can print and use. It’s to use everyday and you tick off each one as you go along. The list is simple yet sometimes we can neglect some of these actions thinking it takes up too much time. But if you reflect on how your day is structured, I’m sure you can include them all and more. All the things included in the list carry great importance – and inshaAllah hold great rewards too.
Here’s why I picked each action/deed on the list:
Quran after Fajr:
“…and recite the Quran in the early dawn (Fajr prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Quran in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).” (17:78)
Daily protection surahs:
“Allah commanded Yahya ibn Zakariya (peace be upon him) five things to follow and to enjoin upon the Children of Israel… and he commanded them to remember Allah, and the likeness of that is a man who was being pursued by the enemy, until he reached a strong fortress in which he found protection; similarly a man cannot find protection from the shaytan except by remembering Allah…” (at-Tirmidhi)
“In a human body there are 360 joints and man must make a charity for each one. One may remove something harmful from the road or cover dirt in the masjid. If one could not do that, he could pray two rakahs of duha and that will be sufficient for him.” (Ahmad)
“The one who was devoted to the Quran will be told on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Recite and ascend (in ranks) as you used to recite when you were in the world. Your rank will be at the last ayah you recite.’” [Abu Dawud]
“I heard Allah’s Apostle saying. ‘By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.’” (Bukhari)
Dua for parents:
This dua says it all: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” (18: 24)
Recite surah Mulk at night:
“Verily, there is a chapter is the Quran which contains thirty ayahs that will intercede on behalf of its reciter until he is forgiven. (It is) ‘Blessed be He in Whose Hand is the Dominion’ ” (Ahmad) – You can try this if you want 🙂
“Whoever prays during the nights of Ramadan with a firm belief and hoping for reward, all of his previous sins would be forgiven.” (Agreed upon)
“Observe the night prayer, it was the practice of the righteous before you and it brings you closer to your Lord and it is penance for evil deeds and erases the sins and repels disease from the body.” (Tirmidhi)
The list of hadiths mentioning the reward and virtues of Tahajjud salah is endless alongside the beautiful ayahs in which Allah talks about those who perform Tahajjud. (Example: 51:15-18)
Surah Kahf on Fridays:
“Whoever reads Surah al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will shine from him from one Friday to the next.” (Bayhaqi) – This might be handy to use iA.
I want to remind everyone that this list isn’t something special but rather a tool to help us make changes in ourselves and think about how we choose to spend our time. Ramadan is a month which is often stated as something we should use as a training system, to train our minds and our bodies to be better Muslims. This is just a handful of things that a Muslim can do in Ramadan (that’s if you don’t do all this already). You can add as much as you like to the list too.
I have deliberately not included any fard actions as these are something we can’t miss out in or outside of Ramadan.
On page 2, I have inserted two boxes – I call them my thinking boxes. I use them at the start of Ramadan to note my goals and after the beloved month departs I think about what changes I need to make with myself. Please use it in the way it works best for you. You can use it to just make a note of how each action/deed went for you.
I make sincere dua that each of one of us witnesses this special month and utilises it, so it benefits us on the Day when Allah will announce for the blessed souls to enter Jannah from the gate of Ar Rayyan. Ameen.