Now that Ramadan is here, chances are we’ve made loads of preparations for our special guest–making grocery lists, cleaning the house, and making dozens of samosas and kabobs to freeze for easier use later on when stomachs are rumbling and energy is dwindling.
However, many of us–myself included–often forget about the most important preparation for Ramadan of all–getting back in the groove of reciting Qur’an and making the Qur’an our biggest priority.
During Ramadan, we sometimes see tips on social media about how to create schedules of recitation that will guarantee completion of the Qur’an during the month of Ramadan. Those are important, no doubt, but what we don’t usually see are the posts that explain why we should be making that a goal in the first place. Why should we finish the Qur’an during Ramadan of all months?
Ramadan is undeniably the most holy month of the year for Muslims. It is a month where we abstain from all food, water, and temptations from sunrise to sunset to practice our obedience to God. It is a month where Shaytan (Satan) is chained down and unable to influence our choices–it is a month where we are tested to make our choices based completely on our own self-control and morals.
It is a month where forgiveness is free, as it always is, but rewards for doing good deeds are multiplied by the Mercy of God.
It is also a month to remember the biggest blessing and source of guidance mankind was ever given, the Qur’an.
During the course of 23 years, Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was given the messages of Allah SWT through revelations. These revelation were written down by his companions, the Sahabah, and are the exact words that Allah SWT sent down to us for guidance in this world. Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) received his final revelation during the month of Ramadan, thus completing the entirety of the Qur’an.
Therefore, this month is not only a test of obedience and self-control, but a celebration of the Qur’an being sent down to us. The best way to celebrate that mercy is by reciting it, especially during Ramadan.
Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) stated that “The fast and the Qur’an will intercede for the servant on the Day of Judgement. The fast will say: ‘My Lord, I restricted him from food and drink, so allow me to intercede for him.’ And the Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night, so allow me to intercede for him.’ So they will be allowed to intercede.”
Just this hadith alone speaks volumes on the importance–and reward–of simply fasting and reading Qur’an, and in the month of Ramadan, where every reward is multiplied, it is even more imperative to try and read as much as we can.
The first few generations of Muslims after the death of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) would recite the Qur’an consistently throughout the year, and constantly during Ramadan.
Reciting the Qur’an became a way to escape the heat and thirst caused by the climate, as well as removing themselves from temptations of backbiting, gossiping, and wasting time.
For some of us, whether we were born into an Arabic-speaking family or not, reading the Qur’an is difficult, especially without continuous practice. The pronunciation, grammar, and rhythm is difficult to perfect and even the most experience sheikhs and scholars reflect that they are continuously improving.
However, improvement starts only after we take the first steps to try.
For those daunted by the prospect of reading the Qur’an in Arabic, one can always begin to read and understand the words of the Qur’an with a translation in any language until Arabic is easier.
Here are some tips to begin a consistent schedule of recitation.
1. Make your intention clear. This is always the first step we should take. Make your intentions clear and concise for your own benefit and map out your goals–whether it is to recite the entire Qur’an during the month, memorize a surah or dua’a, or read the translation of the Qur’an, make it your intention to set your goal and complete it. As Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said, “Actions are buy by intentions.”
2. Make your goal reasonable. If you have no knowledge of the Arabic alphabet, do not make it your goal to recite the entire Qur’an in Arabic in a single month! Start slow, and start sure. You know your limitations better than anyone in this world; setting a difficult goal is just going to accelerate hardship, and possibly even cause you to give up.
3. Plan in advance. If you’re like me, planning is the baseline for your ability to complete anything, even if it’s just getting up in the morning. During Ramadan, where the pressure to get everything done before your energy runs out or before it’s time for iftar or salah, you will find that it only makes things easier to have an idea of what you need to do and when well in advance.
4. Make a clear schedule, and stick to it. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever found to complete the Qur’an within the month of Ramadan (my personal goal inSha’Allah), has been to split up the Qur’an into sections to be completed daily. Most Qur’ans are written within 600 pages, give or take a few. If you divide the amount of pages across the 30 days of Ramadan, that’s 20 pages a day. If you divide each daily requirement of 20 pages around the 5 obligatory prayers, that’s only four pages before or after each prayer. Easy-peasy! Once you have your goal, make it easier for yourself by breaking it down even further throughout the day for ease.
5. Remind yourself of your goal, and reassess often. Let’s face it, when a goal is set for longer than a few days, we tend to lose motivation. However, this is a goal that is too important to lose. Some ideas to keep yourself motivated is to incorporate your schedule around things you do daily: Working out, going to work, grabbing your keys- put up sticky note reminders, carry a mini-Qur’an, etc. and keep yourself exposed to your goal.
6. Find a buddy with the same or a similar goal. There is power in numbers for sure, but there is also power in feeling obligated to share your progress with someone.
7. Make sincere dua’a. If you slip a little, don’t give up! If you find your goal is too difficult, don’t give up! If you missed a few days or are falling behind, don’t give up! Take a deep breath, and know that Allah SWT is aware of what’s in your heart and He knows how much you try. Dua’a is a way to have a conversation with Him, so when you’re feeling discouraged, just talk to Him. I guarantee it’ll make you feel better.
8. Feel free to tweak your goal or schedule. Again, you know your limitations better than anyone! Your intention is not a signed and sealed contract–there is always room for adjustments.
Alhumdulillah, Ramadan is here. Whatever your goal is during this month, the Qur’an is a fundamental part of our faith. Practice and recitation is important all year round. I hope these tips help!
May Allah SWT guide us all to His words, and may He allow us all the benefits and rewards of this Ramadan! Ameen.