In the first article of this 4-part mini-series, Florida-based superwoman Nida Siddiq takes us behind the scenes as she prepares for the holy month of Ramadan.
Can you believe it’s already *that* time of year again? The sacred month of fasting, giving, and connecting will soon be upon us.
For those who may not be aware, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is significant because it is the month during which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). It’s the time of the year where Muslims from all around the world come together to observe a month of fasting from dawn-to-dusk. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are the core principles of our religion.
Of course, Ramadan is more than just a month of just fasting. The physical fast symbolic of the inner fast. It’s a month to reflect upon yourself, to connect with the Almighty, and to surrender yourself and every selfish desire you may have. It’s a time to detach from worldly things to focus on what’s truly important.
1. The Purge:
The first thing I do every Ramadan is mentally prepare myself, my home, and my kids. I start by reducing the amount of television I watch and the amount of music I listen to. By doing so, I get myself out of the more worldly habits I have created for myself in the past 11 months. After all, it takes time to break any habit.
Next, I prepare my home. I start off by washing all the prayer rugs in my house (musalas). After washing and drying them, I apply itar (attar) to all of them. It gives the prayer rugs such a great scent, that praying on the rugs becomes an act you look forward to. Having that beautiful scent everywhere in my home gives me the Ramadan feels.
Lastly, I start to talk to my kids about Ramadan. I try to include them in the process as much as I can. They really enjoy decorating the house for Ramadan! I’ve found that kids—especially those living in America—love seeing Christmas lights and holiday decorations. I want mine to be just as excited for Ramadan. Unfortunately, I’m not crafty at all, so I just buy some decor online, and sometimes we make some as well. Honestly, anything you can do together with them is good enough. I wouldn’t stress over the decorations too much.
2. The Early Bird Gets…All Their Shopping Done?
Well ahead of Ramadan, I get all of my shopping done. This way, I’m not spending the blessed month of Ramadan shopping for Eid clothes for the kids, or buying groceries for my house. I usually buy a big box of dates and some other must-haves for suhoor and iftaari ahead of time. After all no one should go to the grocery store while they are fasting!
3. Ramadan State of Mind:
Finally, I begin preparing myself and my mind to be in a state of worship. I try to start by reading more Quran and reflecting on myself and the words of the Quran. Sometimes, we read the Quran but don’t really apply it to ourselves and our lives. That’s why reading the Quran with the English translation is one of my goals this year, Inshallah!
It has been said that the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) used to plan for Ramadan six months in advance. We happily do this for weddings and vacations, but rarely when it comes to the purification of our souls. Truly, if we really want to make the most of Ramadan, we should do our absolute best to start now!