Whenever we think of Ramadhan, we are overcome with a desire to set high goals for ourselves spiritually, socially and physically. These noble intentions are all well and good, but most of us then spend the rest of the year struggling to keep up with the energy burst which emanates from this spiritually charged month! As women, we often find that we are burnt out from focusing on serving others in Ramadhan, so I want to share some useful tips and advice in this article to help boost your Ramadhan as a Muslimah.
There are many things you can do to ensure you have a well balanced and spiritually charged Ramadhan, but, as with everything, consistency is key. Over the last few years, Ramadhan has undoubtedly been one of the best months of spiritual retreat for me and it has only worked because I’ve been able to apply some key lessons of learning along the way as outlined below.
1. Plan your diet
Many of us know that our bodies are an amanah from Allah (SWT), yet we spend so little time learning about the ways in which we should protect and nourish them. During Ramadhan, especially when the days are longer and warmer, it is essential to gain some basic knowledge on what to eat and drink to keep you energised. Islam has beautifully taught us that Prophetic foods, which are a sunnah, are what I call super foods! They are filled with sources of energy which is why they should be a part of your regular diet for suhoor/iftar. If you plan to have the following foods in Ramadhan each day, you’ll feel much lighter, energetic and insha Allah more productive in striving to achieve your Ramadhan goals.
• Green olives
• Lemon water
• Honey (used in green tea or as spreads)
• Nuts and dried fruits
• Green vegetables
All the above and many more, which are recommended by nutritionists and health advisers, should form part of your diet this Ramadhan!
2. Schedule spiritual boosters
Ramadhan is the month in which all of us experience a heightened sense of awareness of our relationship with Allah (SWT) and I always say Ramadhan is like a spiritual retreat! It is the only month in which fasting coupled with long night prayers can boost your relationship with Allah (SWT). In order to get the best out of Ramadhan, I suggest you set yourself spiritual boosters to aim for regularly each day. This might be to read one page of Qur’an or a whole chapter and then reflect on it with translation or it may be that you use lunch break at work for a short reflection moment in which you can do dhikr and recite words of remembrance or read an Islamic book which will remind you of the virtues in character that fasting is meant to build in you. All of these spiritual booster activities should be spread out throughout your day, including praying tahajjud and making plentiful du’a, as the fasting person’s du’a is almost always accepted.
3. Get charitable!
It is well known that the Prophet (SAW) would be the most generous throughout the blessed month of Ramadhan. Set yourself a social productivity goal to take part in a fundraising initiative by getting proactive to raise funds for a needy cause. Perhaps you can think about hosting an iftar party and raise funds for charity. Perhaps this Ramadhan you can finally commit to sponsoring an orphan or contributing to the local mosque to have more facilities for the local community. You can be charitable in so many ways, so think about how you will donate your time, money, efforts and, most important of all, your skills to better the Ummah around you!
4. Keep a Ramadhan journal
For a couple of years now, I have regularly kept a Ramadhan journal and it is one of the most powerful ways to hold yourself to account as well as reflect spiritually on your state in Ramadhan. All you need is a blank notebook which you can carry easily in your handbag and a pen. Then schedule in time at the end of the night or early in the morning (depending on when you prefer to be more reflective) to just jot down what you found went well that day, reflect on your actions. If you are reading Qur’an, you can also combine your Ramadhan journal to reflect on verses from the Qur’an, which I often found to be a very useful way of using my journal to develop myself spiritually. After Ramadhan, you can look back on the 30 days and read over how energised and connected you felt to Allah (SWT) to inspire and motivate you to carry on doing the same throughout the months following Ramadhan, inshaAllah!
5. Plan your du’as
The Prophet (SAW) said: “Three types of people’s du’as are not rejected: 1) at the time of iftar the person who has fasted 2) a just ruler’s dua and 3) the dua of the oppressed..” [Tirmidhi]
One of the most profound courses I did last year (after impulsively just signing up to the course in the early hours of the morning!) was the online Visionaire course where I learnt how to make du’as which are effective and planned my dream du’as for every prayer. Since that Ramadhan, I have had some immense milestones and prayers achieved, including moving to a new house and travelling to a place I had been longing to visit, alhamdulillah. So here is the secret formula for having your du’as planned and made a daily habit, so it sticks after Ramadhan! You can refresh these du’as every six months but spend some time preparing and writing them down so you memorise them for selected times.
1. List 6 short sharp du’as to achieve by the end of the year.
2. Memorise them and add Allah’s Most Beautiful Names to each du’a.
3. Make the same du’as a daily habit.
4. Choose a time when du’a is likely to be accepted! Such as in prostration, after obligatory prayers, when you are about to break your fast and in the last third of the night.
5. Make them tangible and specific as you would do with a SMART goal.
6. Be sincere and have conviction every time you make du’a that it will be answered, insha Allah!
I ask Allah to bless us all in this blessed month, grant us the ability to worship Him as He deserves to be worshipped and that He makes us live through a productive Ramadhan! Ameen.
Productive Muslimah is a Muslimah who is striving for the highest station in Jannah by making the best of all the resources around her. Sister Lotifa Begum serves as Head of Productive Muslimah at ProductiveMuslim.com. She has gained a huge insight into a wide range of productivity-related issues and has delivered workshops for sisters on issues relating to time management, personal development and productivity. She is passionate about sisters excelling in their pursuit of productivity. Visit www.productivemuslim.com for more tips and advice!