Goals For Ramadan 2011
1. Eat, drink and be moderate
Almost all of us do it – once Iftar time hits, we just keep plowing food and drink into our mouths till it's hard to move afterwards. And those of us who do it know this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we're supposed to learn self-control not self-indulgence. Let's try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third food, one-third water and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.
2. Give a dollar a day in charity…or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let's open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it's the intention that counts.
3. Memorize 4 new Surahs
Memorizing the Quran often seems like a daunting task. But the key is doing it in small bites. Since there are four weeks in Ramadan, try to memorize one new Surah a week. Start off with a short, easy one. Once you've started, you'll build momentum and may even want to memorize a longer one the following week.
4. Go to Tarawih prayers
Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan's blessings. Don't miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least one week.
5. Attend the Tarawih prayer in which the recitation of the Quran will be finished
Call the local mosque and find out which day the Imam will be finishing the recitation of the Quran in prayer. Attend to not only hear part of the Quran's recitation in prayer, but also participate in the heart-rending Duas that follow it.
6. Stop swearing and/or backbiting – with a special box
It's hard not to shoot our mouths off when someone's upset us. Whether we utter those four-letter words or backbite about someone to our family and friends, we know this isn't the God-approved way of letting off steam. In Ramadan, when we want to build our spirituality, we've got to wage Jihad against our bad habits.
Try this: get a box and every time you catch yourself swearing or backbiting put some money in it. It could be a buck or less. The point is to choose an amount that makes it feel like punishment.
At the end of the month send the money to a charity or buy a gift for the person whom you've backbitten the most against.
7. Call/email your relatives
You'd think that given the easy access to email, competitive long-distance calling rates, phone cards, etc. these days, we'd keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life's "busyness."
Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going.
8. Go on a technology diet
Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.
9. Read 5 minutes of Quran a day…just five, not more, not less
Even if you feel you've got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.
10. Forgive everyone who has hurt you
Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it's also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah's forgiveness, shouldn't we lesser beings forgive too?
If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three
Exactly How To Set & Achieve Your Quran Goals This Ramadan!
Get your notepad out and brainstorm answers to each of these questions..
1. What can you learn from previous Ramadans' mistakes that will help you succeed inshaAllah in future Ramadans?
Your past is not your future. Brainstorm 3-5 ways you can improve on your past efforts.
2. Ideally, what would you like to achieve with the Quran during a Ramadan?
Recognise that you may not be ready to achieve this ideal target this Ramadan, and commit to taking steps and improving yourself over the next year, so that if you can't do it this Ramadan, inshaAllah you can do it the next one (if you're still alive).
3. Set up ideal & minimum time targets for each day of Ramadan.
I like to think of Ramadan as having 2 types of productive Quran time: passive audio listening time versus sitting & studying the Quran time.
Take a look at your calendar right now & mark off the dates of Ramadan. Now ask yourself:
a. When during the day is the best time for me to recite?
b. Will I have more time on weekends than weekdays?
c. Which healthy weekly/daily commitments am I willing to cut out during Ramadan? Cutting TV time, friend time, etc could free up your time.
d. How much time will you ideally, comfortably have each day for the Quran? (eg. 1 – 2 hours)
e. And if you don't make that ideal target, what will be the bear minimum you think you can comfortably do each day? (eg. 15-30 mins)
f. When can I use 'NET' time – 'No Extra Time' eg. whilst sitting on the train to work or whilst going out for my daily walk you can listen to the audio
4. Where are you at right now in your Quran studies? Eg. Fluency, English, Tajweed, Memorization, etc.
Check out this video & skip towards the end for a 'Quran Progress Tracker' tool that you can use to measure your progress before and after Ramadan inshaAllah Video
5. Of all the areas of Quran study, which is the most important for you to improve on during this Ramadan to set yourself up for a great year with the Quran?
For some people, the best use of Ramadan may be to learn to understand the entire Quran in Arabic. That way, for the rest of the year, the can connect more deeply with the Quran. For others it may be improving tajweed and fluency of recitation, so that for the rest of the year they can read 2 pages each day in Arabic & English to feel that constant connection.
For others, the best use of this month may be to simply learn how to recite the Arabic script, so they can go on to achieve all their other Quran goals. There are many more options than just these, and each individual has to decide for him/herself what is most important to improve this Ramadan.
6. Use these practical Quran strategies with the suggested time-frames, and decide which one suits your abilities, free time & goals.
The great news is, wherever you are in your Quran studies, you're not alone! In this article are some great resources that students and Islamic organizations have recommended to help you achieve some of your Quran goals inshaAllah.
~*Syed Ibrahim (Talha)~*