“This Ramadan, I will improve my prayers. I will ensure I pray on time, at the top of the hour. I will fast without complaining, and prepare simple meals for the iftar, which include ingredients from the Qur’an. I will keep my patience throughout the day, even if the kids break out in squabbles. Besides that, I’ll be working on meals for my children who are not fasting, and their snacks in between. I will make sure my husband gets a good meal in the morning so that he will last the whole day without too much hardship.
The house will be spick and span to honor the month; no food on the floor, dirty laundry always cleaned by the end of the day. No room will be left unturned. If there’s food on the floor, I’ll clean it up without complaining, if there’s a mess in the living room, we’ll put the toys away without arguing, if fights break out, I’ll settle them patiently. And I definitely plan to complete reading the Qur’an before the 30 days are up, and learn 30 new du’as to boot. I will also be helpingout at the Masjid, and doing i’tikkaf, along with my five children, including the nursing baby. Besides this, I’m enrolling in that online course for tajweed and hadith, and I hope to break my habits of procrastination and brush up on perfectionism. I have decided to cut out all distractions and concentrate solely on ibadah. I hope to complete my tarawih every day and wake up for tahajjud prayers in the morning.
With the kids, I’m planning three activities per day, including arts and crafts six times a week, and hope to teach them good habits while I am at it. I plan to drive a little more patiently, shop a little more diligently, and to be more creative in keeping up with the chores. I plan to visit family and friends four times a week, and have guests over three times a week. On these days, I will have to plan for larger meals. The little ones will need some attention with their tantrums. But never mind all that, this is my ultimate Ramadan wish list and I will stick to it.”
Ramadan Is Knocking the Door
Does that sound familiar? Or a little too idealistic? Ramadan is a wonderful month for a spiritual upgrade and it’s amazing at how much we rush to reap the benefits of the Holy Month. And while everyone is putting up their super-charged level of patience or cleanliness or ambition for change, we also have to be realistic with our selves.
|while everyone is putting up their super-charged level of patience or cleanliness or ambition for change, we also have to be realistic with our selves.|
As moms, we often know that we run out of steam towards the afternoons, closing in on evenings. Little tantrums can set us off. The apple wasn’t slinked correctly, or “so-and-so took my robot and broke it.” The little things add up. And while rushing the older ones to complete their tasks, the baby wants to be carried, and dinner is still in the fridge, uncooked. To make things worse, the coffee from morning is getting cold. Never mind trying to be khushu’ during prayers. It’s taxing when there’s a two year old who sees you as monkey bars. But that’s the reality of it. Ramadan, with fasting and keeping calm on the menu, can seem a little more daunting than just the month of blessings. Everyone wants to make the best of it, to go over the top, and to recharge one’s faith.
But let’s be realistic, there are some things that we may do, and there are other things that may be out of our reach. But this doesn’t mean we should forgo our Ramadans. We just need to know our own capacities and work with the resources we have. Here are a few pointers to make the best out of the Holy Month without buckling within the first ten days.
Make a Plan
Sit down, and take time to plan. It’s no point going into Ramadan in a frenzy and then burning out on the 4th day. There’s also no point rushing into Ramadan with a mental list and getting confused and frustrated because you can’t fulfill your goals.
Write your plans out. What can you do for sure? What do you wish to do? And even list out things that you would like to do but probably can’t. What good habits do you want to cultivate – be realistic, so you have more of a chance to succeed than to fail? What bad habits do you wish to eliminate? Write them down. Once you have a list, try to visualize the days during the month and to which points you would be able to commit to. As you go through the month, ticking off those that you have accomplished will be highly satisfying and rewarding in itself.
Be Honest with Yourself
|Try to include your children in your ibadah, like reading short surahs to them or reading the seerah together|
You don’t have to be super mom and you’re not a robot. Tell yourself you are Allah’s humble servant. Remember that daily and tend to your list with sincerity. Most importantly is that deeds are done to please Allah and Allah alone.
If you find tasks are overwhelming, then you may lose your sense of sincerity along the way. Religion is not meant to be a burden until it turns hearts blind, but it should be an honor and hardship enough to open hearts to more good deeds. Juggling children and religious obligations may not always be easy, but they don’t have to be exclusive. Try to include your children in your ibadah, like reading short surahs to them or reading the seerah together. Get into neighborhood recycling projects or visit orphanages with other families.
For indoor activities with the children, plan maybe a small activity a day that everyone can do together, and then let the kids play as they usually would. Explain though, that it is during Ramadan that we can learn to be extra neat, so they learn how to tidy up throughout the day.
If you have outside activities, pick and choose those that don’t cause burn out. Plan outings that are close by and don’t require too much energy. Pack easy snacks for the little ones who are not fasting to make your trips a little easier.
Increase your Sincerity with Existing Deeds
"And they were not commanded except to worship Allah (being) sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah (poor due). And that is the correct religion."(98:5)
Allah also says): "Say (O Muhammad): 'Indeed, I have been commanded to worship Allah (being) sincere to Him in religion.'" (39:11)
All deeds need to be done with sincerity. Every change needs to be done for Allah alone. Renew your intentions every day to please Allah. The merits of good deeds are compounded in multi-fold during Ramadan. Even the mundane chores like sweeping the floor and folding the laundry contribute to one’s good deeds. Keeping them up and lively during Ramadan by remembering the blessings of Allah is a great way to reap the benefits of the month.
|Even the mundane chores like sweeping the floor and folding the laundry contribute to one’s good deeds.|
While doing that, try to dilute distractions that could cause you from concentrating on your intentions. Ramadan is the best time to develop holistically, so if the television is causing you to waste time, switch it off and do something more beneficial. If you have a habit of checking in on facebook three times a day, check it only once, mostly for the important updates.
The Best Deeds are the Consistent Ones
A’isha (RA) narrates that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Perform your deeds properly and in moderation, and know that one’s deeds will not cause any one of you to enter Heaven, and that the most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones even if little in amount.” (Bukhari)
Remember that the best deeds are those that are consistent. Reading a page of the Qur’an a day may not feel as rewarding as reading an entire Juz’ a day, but as long as a page a day works, and is kept consistent, there are plenty of blessings in that too
Commit to Dzikrullah
“I am as my slave thinks of me and I am with him whenever he remembers me.” (Hadith Qudsi). Praise Allah throughout the day. Keeping Allah in remembrance curbs us from being distracted. While you’re tidying up, while you’re consoling the toddler, while you’re sewing a button. Say you’re dzikr and remember Allah, for He will remember you and He will remember and acknowledge everything you’ve done throughout Ramadan, even the smallest deed, like smiling at your husband.
Ramadan is that month for an iman surge, but it is easy to get overwhelmed at the same time. Plan, plan, plan and be honest with yourself. Be honest with your sincerity and be honest with your capacity. Although many mothers are bogged down with daily schedules, it doesn’t mean you have to forgo the entire month of burn out due to an early adrenaline rush. Anyone can have their ultimate Ramadan Wish list; it just takes a little planning, and a lot of prayers.