As Muslim youth, Ramadan rolls around every year, and it means certain things to each of us. For some, it means being able to go to the Masjid more often. For others, our families come together, and for some, it means a much needed diet.
However, it seems that as each year passes, it isn’t able to affect us to a point where we try to change ourselves personally to an extent that this change might last past these thirty days. In a lot of our minds, Ramadan is about rituals; ritually staying away from food and drink, ritually attending the Masjid nightly, ritually praying our Taraweeh prayer, ritually reading whatever little we can of the Arabic Qur’an.
There is no problem with following rituals, but the problem lies in the fact that we may have forgotten the purpose behind our rituals. And, without the purpose, then, quite simply, what’s the purpose of doing all this? We hear the Qur’an recited to us in full Ramadan after Ramadan, but we might not take any steps to understanding it. We stay away from food and drink every year, but don’t realize why.
This Ramadan, why don’t we attempt to change that? In fact, why don’t we challenge ourselves to make this the year to remember?
In order for this to be our best Ramadan yet, wait, we need to change that statement first. In order to make this the best Ramadan yet, we have to do a few things.
Follow the ABC’s of making this the best Ramadan:
Stand up in front of that mirror, and with clear and loud words, look yourself in the eye and repeat this:
“I am going to do whatever it takes to make this my best Ramadan!” Before you can accomplish anything, you need to have the mindset that you will accomplish everything.
Don’t shortchange yourself. You’re a Muslim. You pray five times a day when others barely remember the word ‘God’. You stay away from food for this whole month while others can only manage to ‘fast’ a day or two, while drinking water. This Ramadan, make the goals that you know will please Allah.
Do what’s in your capacity to read more of the Qur’an (in English and Arabic), to visit the Masjid (and other Masjids in your community), to stop that habit that you know is wrong or build a new, better habit. But, just to make sure that you’re in check, split up your goals into 4 weeks. A goal with a long deadline usually doesn’t get done.
“I will finish reading the Qur’an, and I will do so by reading 7 juz (para) every week”. Check in every week to make sure you know your progress and can finish it. A key tip in making sure they get done is writing them down, something found in the next part:
Make a schedule for yourself. Don’t let that positive attitude and all those bold goals go to waste. Know that every week, you must have made a certain amount of progress on your goal. Perhaps even every day, a certain amount of progress must be made. Use this calendar also to mark down if you plan to attend certain Masajid on certain nights (try to get out of your comfort zone and meet other Muslims in your community), as well as if you were invited for Iftar by family. Keeping these things in mind will allow you to visually see them and accommodate yourself accordingly so you won’t compromise on your goals.
With this month, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) opens the doors for us to better ourselves. He closes the gates of the Hellfire and chains up the devils. Excuses become less, and capacity to change increases. Don’t let this month go by without telling yourself on ‘Eid day: “That was the best Ramadan I’ve ever had.”
You don’t know if you’ll live to see the next. You might be like these brothers who might’ve thought they’d live to see this Ramadan, but were not able to:
Brother Adnaan Rahman (passed away at 17), Nasir Sheikh (passed away at 17), and Azeez Ali (passed away at 49) and the many others who may have lost their lives right before this blessed month. Allah bless us to take the most advantage of this month, Ameen.