What I have noticed via Facebook is the countdown to Ramadan 2012 has commenced-less than 100 sleeps in fact. And whilst that number seems so near yet so far the truth is unless we prepare for it we will never really get the best out of the blessed month.
So today's post is about preparation for the blessed month-the preparation that we could all do with considering.
Before I start my list-please note not all my advice and tips are religious based some are to do with the culture of Ramadan.
FIRST things first-we all know Ramadans coming. So why do so many sisters looked shell-shocked when Ramadan is announced? Hhhmm the mind boggles. So lets get the first bit out of the way-go to your calendar and make sure the week we know Ramadan is arriving in is clearly marked-no excuses.
If you work it is even more IMPORTANT you get organised now rather than later.
Now let's get cracking shall we.
I am no scholar, however the following bits of advice are taken from experience and from asking Alimahs about the best way of preparing for Ramadan:
- get your health in order-if you have a medical condition get it checked out and sorted asap
- if you are a smoker now is the time to cut back and In Sha Allah you will be able to completely quit come Ramadan
- If you are a coffee or tea drinker cut down to make Ramadan easier for you
- If you have fallen into bad sleeping habits e.g. late nights sort it out now
- If you are well health wise commence fasting every Monday and Thursday to get into the routine of it
- Cut back on bad habits-you know the type of things we know are wrong e.g. backbiting. Cut back now and vow to give it up for Ramadan and beyond In Sha Allah.
- Start reciting the Quran on a regular basis if you do not already do so.
The above is just a brief list and not in much detail however I know that we are all capable of looking into things in more detail in our own time. So please feel free to use the above as starting points.
Moving onto other preparation:
- SPRING CLEAN your home now if you have not already done so. This is the time to sort out the wardrobes, under the beds and so on. Do a deep clean including (if you can) washing the carpets. A decluttered and clean home will help you no end during the month of Ramadan and the time you usually spend on doing big tasks e.g. washing carpets in preparation for Eid can be done beforehand freeing up time for Ibaadah.
- Go through food cabinets and place all items that will go out of date during the blessed month to one side and try to finish them beforehand or get them into your menu somehow. Wasting food is never good.
- If you have a freezer try to defrost it and prepare it for Ramadan-freezing some meals in advance will free up time for more important things trust me.
- Clean the outside of your home too-and cars.
- If there are any D.I.Y projects outstanding FINISH them now. No one likes looking at half completed jobs especially when you want to spend as much time in Ibaadah as possible.
- Get the family involved in cleaning-if you have teenagers get them cleaning and sorting through things like console games, books and clothes. If there is anything worth giving to charity actively encourage them to donate them-or ask them to put the things to one side and donate them as soon as Ramadan commences. I think this is a great family tradition that is worth installing in children and teenagers.
- If you have younger children ask them to go through their toys and pick say 2 that they no longer play with. Ask them kindly to donate to charity to make Allah happy. Most children will be happy to do so. If they are not don't be disheartened. All children are different. Continue to encourage them and In Sha Allah one day you will get somewhere with them.
- Get your husband/brothers/dads to go through their wardrobe and select the items they no longer wish to wear/can't fit into and donate them to charity.
- Same for sisters/mothers get them decluttering their wardrobes.
- Find out if there will be any community events you will wish to attend and factor those into your calendar.
- This year Ramadan is during the big summer break-ensure your children's friends parents are aware of this and cancel any sleepovers and so on planned during this time. Forward planning will save tears in the long run.
- Consider organising a charity event during the blessed month e.g. a Iftari where guests donate to a selected charity in exchange for their seat at the table.
- Sort out your Zikaat-how much do you owe? Who will you donate to? Make a list and total now and organise when and who you will give it to.
- Does the Masjid need painting? If so now is the time to ask other Masjid goers to sort out the project so it gets down before the blessed months arrival-In Sha Allah.
- Make a list of things you wish to achieve during Ramadan. This might be donating the money you usually spend on coffees at work to charity, or reading the Quran twice or memorising surahs by heart. Make a list now. If Allah wills, you will complete the list. If you are unable to complete the full list vow to complete it asap.
- Hold a family meeting and organise who will do what during Ramadan. Delegate as much as possible to spread the workload evenly. Maybe your partner can collect the children from Masjid and you can spend that time in Ibaadah?
- DON'T leave your clothes shopping for Eid until the last 10 days-those days are for chasing Duas not shopping lists! Now is the time to plan and purchase Eid clothes.
- The same applies to what you plan to do on Eid-plan it now In Sha Allah not in the last 10 days.
- Iftar parties play a big part of the festivities of Ramadan however the cooking and preparation work eats into family and Ibaadah time. So here are my tips to make the process easier.
- egg rolls
- chicken tikkias
- alu tikkias
- or other starters your family enjoys. This will save you time and effort during the blessed month.
- Or if you purchase samosas from a home cook get your order in asap.
- Or if you purchase ready made starters buy them asap as during Ramadan everyone seems to want to buy samosas.
- Freeze garlic and ginger (crushed, in cubes) to save time
- If you have the freezer space brown off slice onions and freeze in small packets ready to use to make curries, rice dishes etc that call for browned onions.
- Try and do your dry food shopping before Ramadan commences. We're talking flour, rice, tinned produce etc. Fresh items will need to be purchased nearer the time but being organised will cut down on shopping trips
- Consider using disposable plates etc to save time on washing up=more time for Ibaadah.
- PLAN your iftari menus now. If you plan to host say 4 Iftaris attempt to do so in the first 20 days rather than the last 10. Keep your menus as simple as possible, and let the family know what is on the menu for their family iftaris. Too much fried food is never good, so try to vary the food choices for all the family.
- Ask family and friends about their Ramadan availability-NOW. Plan according to their and your needs. There's simply no point in filling a freezer with alu samosas because your nephews love them if their parents are planning to take them on Umrah during Ramadan and won't be around to eat them.
- If you have elderly relatives that live alone fill their freezers too. They will thank you for it in their Duas.
- Buy presents for the children and family/friends now-get a list done buy the items wrap them (if you do that) and put them away.
- Plan your Eid menu and who you are going to invite (if you have guests) now.
- If you host a children's Eid party plan the menu and get the guest list sorted now too.
- Make a list of all the family and friends you will need to post festive cards to and post as soon as Ramadan begins.
- Try and make your home festive during Ramadan. By no means do I think we are in competition with Christmas in the West however we need to make Ramadan and Eid as special as possible for our children so they know it's a special time.
- Buy Ramadan Moon (a lovely Ramadan story) for the little ones to enjoy.
- Plan any Ramadan activities for the children now-e.g. making fanoos, Eid cards or Ramadan Calendars.
- Update your CD collection with recitations of Surahs to play whilst doing things such as work in the kitchen.
Plan as much as you can to take away the pressures of doing it during Ramadan. The time is so precious you lose control and then it's time to say goodbye. So if we can prepare as much as possible In Sha Allah we will all have more time to spend in Ibaadah!
That's all for now folks, I may do another list but that's all for today.