In the spirit of preparing for the coming of the blessed month of Ramadan I reflected on how last Ramadan went and lessons learned. Hand on heart, I would say that it was one of the best I have had in years. Not just in making the most of the month itself but also in keeping the blessed effects beyond that one month.
I believe that there were three main reasons for this improvement and making the most of the blessed month of Ramadan 2013:
1. The bestowed success (tawfique), mercy and blessing of Allah the most high
I believe it is Allah who inspires us to do good and sends his angels with His mercy and protection. Somewhere along the way I shifted from regretting the missed opportunities and rush and exhaustion experienced in one previous Ramadan to wanting to be and do more. A shift of mind and heart and a utilisation of limbs. Gratitude be to Allah.
2. Preparing and planning
I went through notes from previous courses on the month of Ramadan. I also attended a course that I felt covered an aspect that I personally needed at the time, the spiritual meaning of Ramadan: Fasting, your metamorphosis by Sheikh Abu Nahla at Noesis Institute. I sat with myself and made a plan but this time kept it really simple. My personal objective was to focus on simple, sustainable actions that would feed me spiritually.
There is no point of a plan if it is not actioned! Say bismiallah (in the name of Allah) and go for it. Review and adjust as needed but keep moving forward. Expect it to be tough, it is a challenge after all. What better challenge than to remove those obstacles that put distance between you and your Lord. I had the opportunity to go on Itikaaf for the last five days of Ramadan with Shiekh Akram Nadawi, organised by Muslim Education & Outreach Cambridge (MEOC). It was a tough yet immensely rewarding experience.
Maybe you’ve come across this article as a prompt, reminder, a little nudge to start preparing. A word of advice, intend Allah then take action straight away. Go sign up on to that course you’ve been thinking about; fast tomorrow especially if it is Monday or Thursday to physically prepare; download that dhikr app so you are ready to begin in increasing your remembrance of Allah; if you’re about to do your Ramadan shopping include healthy options and maybe alternatives. Note that action does not need to be grand. Whatever is suited to your circumstances is a good start.
I say a good start because once you take the first step, the path will lead you to the next one, God willing. Productive Muslim have began a Ramadan Series where you will learn and can implement so much. There are loads of resources out there, just resist the temptation to be a spectator!