Ramadan is one of the biggest gifts that Allah (S) has blessed mankind with. It is a full month of blessings, forgiveness, and miracles. During this month, your sins can be completely erased, dreams can be granted, and all difficulties can be eased.
It is a golden opportunity for everyone, and the key to taking full advantage of this month and reaping all of it's benefits lies in planning and preparing ahead, especially if you're a Mom with little ones to look after or have kids of all ages who are home from school
Here are the key things to do ahead of time:
1. Go on a Du'a Escape
In this time before Ramadan begins, take about an hour or so and go somewhere quiet and relaxing, where you can be alone with your thoughts and heart. This can be on your balcony, deck or patio while your kids play at the backyard, or right before Fajr while everyone is asleep as you watch the sunrise out of your window, or even in your car (if your spouse or an older child can look after the other kids) with your favorite refreshing drink parked in front of a waterfront; we have to get creative!
Label a section in your notebook as “Ramadan 2020 Du'as,” and make a list of your top 10 du'as. Then make a one-two page section for each aspect of your life (ie. deen, family, career, etc). Next, make endless lists of du'as under each category. You may find that at the end of this you will have about five or six pages of du'as. Be specific in your asks, nothing is too difficult for Allah (S), and surely no problem is "too big" for Him.
This notebook and these du'as will follow you everywhere this month – during the night prayers, after each salat, when you break your fast, etc. It will essentially replace your cell phone during this month ;) One of the most gratifying things is being able to look back at this notebook and see all of your du'a lists over the years. You'll realize how many du'as Allah (S) answered and how everything was so perfectly planned out in your life-story, by the will of God.
2. Meal plan
Create a meal plan for two weeks and then repeat it for the last two weeks of Ramadan. Try to choose easy, hearty, freezer friendly meals when possible. This will help you in ordering groceries ahead online and using what you have in your pantry.
Use a calendar to actually fill in what you will be making for suhoor and iftar every single day, as well as any meals during the daytime for any little ones you may have who are too young to fast. Also, try to Incorporate one or two days in your meal plan as “leftover days” or “take-out days,” if this works for your family.
If you have the time now and have the ingredient/supplies on hand, bulk cook and consider freezing some meals for easy prep. What I personally find super convenient is cooking those first two weeks as planned, but making double batches and freezing the second batch (when freezer friendly) so that when the last two weeks (including the very important last 10 days of Ramadan) roll in, most of the cooking is already done.
3. Get your food shopping done
All bulk grocery shopping and any meal prep that can be done in advance (chopping veggies, fruits, freezing, etc) should be done in the days leading up to Ramadan, especially with delivery times taking up to several days with many of us ordering our groceries online right now.
4. Prepare Eid clothes/gifts and holiday decorations:
Order everything and have it shipped before Ramadan arrives! It will save you those precious minutes and hours during Ramadan for actual worship. And, it's difficult to do things last-minute now, again with lag times in online delivery and not being able to go out to shop. Remember, every single minute counts! Also shopping and planning (online or otherwise) – especially with children – while one is fasting is quite exhausting. This will help you avoid it!
5. Spell out your Ramadan goals
Your Ramadan goals can be completing Quran, figuring out how to do tarawih at home or focusing on your prayer at home, feeding those that are fasting (sponsoring boxed iftar that many masajid are organizing for those in need), helping those in need of assistance (and this exists in many different forms), or creating dawah welcome Ramadan gift cards or virtual goodie bags for your neighbors/colleagues/etc. Whatever your goals are, figure out your game plan ahead of time. The best thing to do to ensure that you'll get them done is to designate exact days/times in which you will complete each task.
6. Get all household duties/chores done
Tidy up your living spaces, and if you can, deep spring clean and re-organize your home so that you and your family will enter Ramadan with a relaxed spirit.
Create a cleaning/organizing checklist for you and your family – now's the best time to get the little ones involved!!
7. Take care of any logistics
Do you have any medical appointments, bills, phone calls, emails, etc that need to be handled or that you’ve been delaying prior to Ramadan? Take a clean sheet of paper and just brain dump all of your responsibilities, prioritize them, then fit each task into your schedule during the last few days of Shaaban.
There are many who thought that they would make it to this Ramadan and unfortunately, have passed away and didn’t. And, we are now faced with a Ramadan unlike anything many of us have experienced before
. Treat this Ramadan as if it is your last. Allah (S) has granted you this remarkable blessing by choosing you to be a part of Ramadan 2020, don't let this opportunity pass you by. May Allah (S) make us from those that reap the most benefits of this month; may all our sins be erased, fresh starts granted, and newly written dreams await. Ameen.
Dr. Ahlam Chahid is a mommy of two little ones, a boy, and girl, which she spends most of her time trying to keep up with. By profession, she is an optometrist and finds an immense amount of enjoyment in pursuing her life’s passion by serving those in need of eye care in her local community. She is a true New Yorker, born and raised. She enjoys giving back to the community through philanthropic efforts, traveling, everything organization, and is a planner pro.
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