Ramadan Is Here But I Feel Unhappy
It’s funny, isn’t it? The most blessed month in the year is arriving but it has loomed straight over our heads. We begin to see countdowns to Ramadan on social media, events and TV adverts about the festivity and spirit of the month but still, there seems to be a void that exists within our heart. Ramadan is here, but we are still not happy.
Imagine you haven’t been to the gym for a whole year and all of a sudden it is now obligatory for you to go to the gym for 30 days. Imagine you’ve been eating junk food all year and now the doctor has ordered you to eat fruit and vegetables only. How would that make you feel? Well, it can be a bit daunting at first but the important point here is that it's very demotivating. Why? Because you haven't worked out or eaten healthy at all in the past year so you haven't built up momentum in your life.
But what happens is after you go to the gym for a few days you start to feel good about yourself, you begin to believe that you can make a change to your life, you admire your motivation and become inspired to work out even further.
Our spirituality is no different. It’s a muscle that needs to be trained over time, even if we don’t train it intensely, it’s important to ensure that the spiritual muscle is conditioned and at least kept warm. Ramadan is a spiritual training centre where those who prepare and fight to get closer to Allah, normally do, and that is purely through the bounty and blessing that Allah places in the month.
How Can We Start To Prepare for Ramadan
Focus On The Neglected Month Before Ramadan
The month of Sha’ban has come, to honour the month of Ramadan. This month where we are encouraged to fast as much as we can, in the same month our deeds are presented to Allah. Our Prophet (PBUH) reminded us of this to not neglect the beauty this month holds in preparation for Ramadan.
Why did the Prophet (PBUH) take out the time to remind us of this? It emphasises the importance of preparing for Ramadan and it also signifies and amplifies the status of being in a state of fasting. The Prophet (PBUH) wanted to be in a state of fasting when Allah was taking account of his deeds so that he could be in the highest state he could be. To be in a state of fasting is a station that gets you closer to Allah.
If you can’t fast in the month of Sha’ban then try going hungry, remove the luxury foods from your lifestyle and start eating less if your health permits you to do so.
Make Up For Your Missed Fasts
It’s a small point but it’s so important we often neglect it. The same way in which you need to make up your prayers, and your zakat if you have missed it, the same way we need to make up for our missed prayers. Reflect to last year and look at how many fasts you have missed and set the goal to make them up before Ramadan. It will improve your health, get you ready for Ramadan but also bring you closer to Allah too before the month of Ramadan begins.
Build An Islamic Routine
It’s hard, right? An Islamic routine? But is it? When Ramadan begins and all of a sudden you need to pray, read the Qur’an, go to Taraweeh, do dhikr, and be in a routine of performing worship then you might not hit the ground running as fast as what you wanted to unless you begin that routine now.
Identify the key areas in your daily Islamic life that need to be worked upon, the five areas I am working on at the moment are my:
These are areas I identified that needed worked upon before Ramadan begins so that I could go into the month strong. After I identified each area I decided to set a realistic goal in each of these areas so that I had something to work towards. So now my 5-point plan for the month of Sha’ban looks like this:
- Fasting: Make up for 4 missed fasts and fast each Thursday
- Qur’an: Read 50 verses a day with translation
- Prayers: Slow each done and sit still after each one
- Learning: Continue memorisation of Surah Kahf
- Dhikr: Send salawat to the Prophet before going to bed
Think back to the analogy of the person who now needs to go to the gym or eat fruit and vegetables every day. Before they begin their programme they start to make choices in their life that would help them to achieve a better outcome and make a positive change.