With Ramadan knocking on our door- it’s time to get ready, mentally and spiritually. I’m not going to make this blog about the importance of prayer and how much we should pray and what we should pray. There are loads of those around…. And we already know this anyway.
So what does Ramadan mean to me- not as a Muslim person, but just as a person. Well I can’t really take the Muslim out of me, so that defeats that part- but as a somewhat ‘sometime practising- part – time Muslim with good intentions. Always’ (Does that Evan make sense?)
Well this year is a unique one for sure. Mosques are closed, we are not allowed to see family or friends. Going out is limited, shopping is taking the life out of us, with everything being out of stock….. It’s like everything that we love about Ramadan is taken away from us…
Yet … It is coming, and like a long lost ‘Best Friend’ coming to visit- we are filled with hope, love, excitement, anxiety and a rollercoaster of overbearing emotions.
So how do I prepare for this?
1. Start prepping Food Early
I’m sure you guys know I’m a food Junkie- I really can’t do anything healthy- well lucky for me- my family are exactly the same. And that means Ramadan is all about fried food! (For all those condescending people who love lectures about how unhealthy this is- we have fruit on the side- and mains is grilled 😜)
So I like to prepare the samosas, pastries, cheese balls, spring rolls… Etc. all early and keep it ready in the freezer. Then it’s just about the frying on the day. That gives me more time to myself to pray, to sleep, to relax and generally not get overstressed.
Ramadan is the time of month when all routine goes down the drain. Everything changes. You spend more time praying, you spend more time at home. Less time socialising, Dinner time is valued and important. We actually turn into one of those picture perfect families you never see but hear of.
But routine once again is important otherwise you can be thrown off. Ramadan days can be unpredictable, one day you will feel on a high- the next you may be low and tired, and that is why you need a routine- so that you can use the good days productively, and not fall behind. Try and set a timetable of when it’s nap time, when it’s praying time, which days to go shopping, and how long you need in preparing food. Routine will allow you to be one step ahead and it’ll keep your Mind clog free as well.
3. Ramadan Timetable
Ok I did say I will keep the praying part out of it, and I promise I’ll keep it short and sweet. Ramadan is probably the one month in the whole year where we pray more, and we feel spiritually elevated. So having a timetable of what we would like to achieve prayer wise is so important.
I like to have a timetable of what id like to achieve and then set up something daily for me to able to achieve it, For example finishing a whole Quran is a must, but i also like to fit in other surahs and some hadith books aswell.
There are load of Ramadhan planners available to phurcase to get you mentally prepared for Ramadhan, These can be found and bought online, or click here, or here’s a free pdf . Might come in handy to print off and use.
4. Get the kids involved
Ramadan has turned into such a festive seasonal occasion- with places like Tesco and Asda now selling Ramadan advent calendars. And they are so cool! Why didn’t we have all this when we were young? It’s just perfect for Getting the kids Ramadan ready.
My boys are 16 and 13. So they pretty much missed all of this too, not to say I didn’t make it special and festive for them, just that there’s a lot more available to do now.
My 16 year old helped me with the savouries this year- to a point where we tried new and different things, he’s so excited to break his fast and eat the savouries he made. (he’s a growing lad- his first love is food!)
And the 13 year old- well he is 13 going on 8- so we did a set up for him at home. Here a video of what I did, and the pictures are scattered through this blog.
5. Detox and Self -Care
Ramadan comes, and our TV’s go off- I switch off to the wider world. No longer are the Kardashians important to my life, series on Netflix are put on hold, and nobody cares who’s wearing what to who’s party. Anything that does not involve fasting, praying and generally trying to be the kindest soul in the Earth does not fit into my life. With the switching off of all media I find that I no longer have expectations to maintain or hold up- so my makeup and fashion are put on hold too. Don’t get me wrong I still dress up and wear makeup- but it’s no longer a must or a requirement. So I like to spend this time detoxing my skin and hair in general, whilst detoxing the need for Social Media and Social expectations. Rather focusing on how to be a better Muslim and a better moral person.
Exercise is Hard in Ramadan especially because you have no energy because of the fasting. However it should not be disregarded. Exercising can actually make you feel better sometimes. I don’t do any rigorous exercise but I do like to go out for walks. I don’t really know how or why- but i feel like for the past couple years we have been really tested with the weather- We have the most beautiful weather whilst we are fasting and then after Eid – we back to the Old British weather. But on the positive note- this is really good- because we can go out for walks. I Like to leave it to just walks because being anaemic I don’t want to get ill, but if your body can handle more- don’t give it up…….and also Post Ramadan bodies are by far the best and worth it!
6. Gift of Giving
We all know Ramadan is the month of giving. Islamically we all have a duty to give 2.5% of our wealth to the poor- and most folks do it in Ramadan. But yet in Ramadan it doesn’t just stop there. I find that everyone’s heart opens up a bit more. People give more than he 2.5%, and also we all fight to feed each other because:
The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person’.Tirimidhi
And so the gift of giving in this month is immense, and as a family we try to make the most of it, and reap as much rewards as are being thrown to us. I tell myself to at least once a week to be able to either make or buy something to give to my nearest and dearest for them to break their fast with. At this moment in time with the isolation it will be harder, but I will make sure that we manage with a way that doesn’t harm anyone.
7. It can be Fun and Games
Who said Ramadan is only for praying? Spending time with family is just as important. There is only so much you can pray in a day before your mind starts wondering. We are mere mortals after all. So Ramadan for us as well as remembering our Lord is also about playing games, we take out the simple ones, like Ludo, Carom Board, Jenga, and maybe just even colouring books. And there also so many Islamic board games available. Such a good investment in this month- especially because of the pandemic and the kids being at home for the whole month. To do this together as a family is also an act of charity
” A man Spending on his family is a deed of charity”Sahih Al Bukhari
8. Get ready for Eid
With all the turbulence that has hit our lives – all of us are questioning what will be happening for Eid- could it be that this year we will not see each other? Will we be spending Eid just within our whole household? It’s quite a daunting feeling….. Only time will tell.
For Eid we spend time together as a whole family- when I say whole family I mean it ends up being just under 70 of us- under one house, and we all eat out in the evening as one big family (usually taking up the whole joint) And boy is it hectic, is it madness and is it fun! I Love Eid. We look forward to this day all year round. The kids also look forward to Eid, its gifting eating and money time. This year will be harder as I really don’t know where we stand, so I’ll be looking at gifts a lot earlier. See what available- what can be delivered, what needs picking up and keep it packed and ready. We may not be getting together, but the kids should not be disappointed. Eid is for them.
“Exchange presents with one another. Presents remove ill-will from the hearts.”
And that’s me ready now, ready to fast for our first Day.
How do you prepare for Ramadhan?
Stay indoors, stay safe.
Love and Regards
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