Ramadan is coming and for reverts (and born Muslims alike), it can get overwhelming.
You might not be able to read Quran in Arabic, or feel there’s just so much to study, and yet to learn, but you don’t know where to start.
Having high expectations of yourself and your worship is important, but can sometimes bring you down, even before Ramadan has started.
It doesn’t have to be like that! Here is a selection of 6 practical tips and resources to beat the Ramadan overwhelm and focus on what will connect you to your Lord best, Insha’Allah!
1. First Things First: Taqwa Reminder
Know that all this activity— the suhurs, the iftaars, the charity, taraweeh– boils down to one thing: your relationship with Allah, the Most High.
This Ramadan strive to have your heart fully present. While your mind might be occupied with thinking about iftar, how to busy your children etc., it’s time to stop thinking and ask yourself: How is my taqwa? What is my relationship with Allah at this moment and how can I make it better?
Taking account of yourself is called muraqabatun-nafs. Have I been aware of what I’ve been saying and doing to others? What is my relationship with the Quran? Have I given any priority in my life to learning and understanding it?
Find out your weaknesses, shortcomings and bad habits and transform these findings into heartfelt, and persistent supplications for Allah to help you tackle them.
Remind yourself first and formost that the very purpose of you fasting is you acquiring taqwa.
O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may have taqwa. (Quran, 2:183)
Remember always, that of all the deeds you are doing, it is your taqwa that reaches Allah!
Allah, our most beloved, says with respect to animal sacrifice that neither their flesh nor their blood reaches Allah, but taqwa from you reaches Allah. (Quran, 22:37)
From now on, and each day in Ramadan, beg Allah to make you of the muttaqeen (those who have taqwa)!
2. Your Intention: Transform Your Daily Life!
Making a certain intention with something you do, can make the difference of being rewarded for it, or not at all!
This Ramadan, and beyond, make your intention your ultimate priority. Get into the habit of making an intention to please Allah in everything you do.
This niyyah (intention) can transform daily life tasks into acts of worship!
For example, go to sleep intending to gain strength to do good deeds the next day and you are rewarded for sleeping, by Allah’s will. Even when you charge your smart device, make the intention to use it to share beneficial knowledge or maintain ties of kinship.
Use these intention strips with example intentions to print and stick around the house and turn each action in these best days into worship, including those chores that always disheartened you! Download them here.
3. Literally, Keep Your Tongue Moist With Dhikr
This is a sacred time. Get used to saying phrases of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) throughout the day. SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu akbar, astaghfirullah, laa ilaaha illAllah, laa hawla wa laa quwatta illaa billaah… It’s an easy form of worship with a heavy and great reward from Allah the Almighty.
Use these Dhikr Cards, a simple, yet life-changing tool for you to be both motivated and reminded, to say the most rewarding dhikr all day long.
O You who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance. (Quran, 33:41)
Print the a4 sheet, cut out the 8 cards and hang them up in different rooms in the house so each time you see the card with the phrase of remembrance (dhikr) you are reminded to use it! Find them here.
The ‘intention’ card can be used to remind yourself to make intention(s) with each daily (worldly) task or act to hereby please Allah, the Most High. As well as making multiple intentions whilst doing acts of worship, such as reciting the Quran and performing the prayer.
Check the ‘Dhikr Cards Reference Sheet‘, a must read to get super-motivated to use the Dhikr Cards. It includes the transliteration and meaning of the eight cards, together with virtues and rewards mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah, guaranteed to inspire you like never before!
4. The Prophet Muhammad’s Daily Worship Schedule: Use a Checklist
Be inspired by the Prophet Muhammad’s daily worship schedule and start with the simple parts: daily supplication routines.
I know people who became Muslim as a result of reading a dua’ book (The Fortress of the Muslim to be specific). These are amazing energy boosters and stress-relievers and a world will open for you if you just sit down and read their meanings.
Get into the habit of saying the supplications after prayer to enrich your salah experience and the set of supplications Prophet Muhammad used to say before sunrise, sunset and before sleeping to bless your days and nights.
You can find them in the known dua’ books, like “The Fortress of the Muslim” or look at makedua.com.
Use this color-coded Daily Worship Checklist with most recommended, daily obligatory and sunnah acts of worship to tick off and strive to improve yourself each day! Simply print or save on your smart device.
5. Action the Quran!
Whether you are able to read the Quran in Arabic or not, only by having an insight in the meaning of its message, you will be able to use the Quran as your daily life guide.
Use these Juz Content Sheets, an extremely beneficial overview of the meaning of the whole Quran, in group of verses per Juz, 30 pages, 1 page per Juz.
Read these practical, daily action points for one Juz each day and by the end of Ramadan you will have actioned verses from the beginning till the end of the entire Quran! Download them here.
A tip for those who aren’t able to read Quran in Arabic; start with practicing on chapters with great rewards.
Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas and Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever recited Surah Zalzilah (99) would get the reward of reciting half the Quran. Whoever recited Surah al Kaafirun (109) would get a reward as if reading a quarter of the Quran. Whoever recited Surah al Ikhlas (112) would get a reward as if reading one third of the Quran’. (At-Tirmidhi)
Read up on the special rewards and benefits of certain chapters and gain effective rewards, Insha’Allah!
6. Make and Use a Personal Dua List
Dua is the essence of worship, and connecting to your supplications is an amazing way to feel close to Allah in Ramadan.
Use this pre-printed list of supplications in English, covering dua’s for yourself, all Muslims, family members, friends and the oppressed.
Realize and never forget that without tawfeeq (ability given to us by Allah) nothing will happen. Ask Allah for His forgiveness and to give you tawfeeq to benefit from this month, not just once, but daily and from the bottom of your heart.
Furthermore, how many times do we do good deeds, with the intention to please Allah and we do our best to do it well, but we forget one of the most important things at the end for your deeds to be accepted?
Do you sometimes wonder, how many of my good deeds were actually accepted? We have to think well of Allah, husnu adh-dhan, but another action is crucial for our deeds to be accepted and it’s so simple.
Make it a habit to ask Him daily to accept your good deeds in Ramadan and beyond. It is through His mercy and through His mercy only, we can gain our place in Paradise.