Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Preparing for Ramadan: Less Than a Month To Go

With less than three weeks to go to Ramadan, I am trying to take my own advice and prepare for the sacred month as well as I can. The main things I have been doing at the moment are:

1. Getting my Kitchen Organised

I have been organising my kitchen and trying to make some space in my freezer. I am trying to use up what is there and stock up on things that I know we use. I am being thwarted a little by the sheer amount of ice lollies and ice creams that end up back in there because of the warmer days we have had, but I suppose I can use the ice cream in smoothies. I am not keen on going crazy making hundreds of samosa’s, but I do want to avoid spending every evening cooking, so if I can freeze some healthy options beforehand, I will do so. If I make a few different meals or recipes to freeze I will share insh’Allah.









2. Deep cleaning, de-cluttering and organising my home

I am an enthusiastic de-clutterer at the best of times. Yet there seems to be so much barakah in our possessions that for every big I fill to give away, another one appears. These last few weeks I have been re-arranging the children’s bedrooms so that the boys have their own little room and the girls and their grandmother will have the other room. I have been de-cluttering every cupboard before I move things with items sorted so that some go to the charity shop and other will be sent to family in Pakistan. 

I am finally starting to get to grips with what we own and how we store it, but with a big family, minimalist style doesn’t seem an option. I will carry on going through cupboards, wardrobes, and draws one at a time.



3. Eid Preparation

I always think Ramadan is the worst time to go clothes shopping, so try to get everyone’s Eid shopping out of the way beforehand. This year my mum brought us all back nice outfits from Pakistan, so my life just got easier. At some point I might log onto Amazon, look through my Pinterest gift idea and wishlist boards (although I doubt I can afford anything on there) and go through my Eid gift guide and see if there is anything there that I might like to gift.















You can find Umm Salihah's Eid Gift Ideas here.

The other thing we always do, is give the option of gifting an experience, such as a barbeque, party (like Harlequin's wonderful gift to us last year) or picnic instead of a material gift. Less clutter, just as much fun and if you are smart it can be just as kind on the budget. This year I note that there are Eid festivals in Trafalgar Square (9th July) and Dunstable Downs (10th July)  which are nice options, as is making a family day of the Kite Festival at Dunstable Downs (30th July), we went last year and had an awesome time.

I will also put together my ideas for my Eid day and Eid party décor, so that I can buy and stash away.


4. Meal Planning

I am going to try and map out my meal planning for the month. I am terrible at meal planning simply because I always want to cook what I fancy rather than what I have planned. But I am going to try and be disciplined this time. There are meal planning sheets with space for listing ingredients and also recipes in my Ramadan and Eid Planner 2016/1437. Hopefully this will mean I don’t have to run out for ingredients every day because I will buy them for the week or month and have them in my kitchen. I won’t have to spend half an hour on the internet or my cookery books looking for recipes, because I hope to spend an hour or two this week and get it out of the way. That’s the good intention insh’Allah anyway.























5. Reviewing my daily routine

Most years I try to organise my routine with the children so that they are fed and asleep by the time the fast opens so that the fasting adults can have some peace. This has yet to successfully happen as the older kids super excited and want to join in with our meal. This year the time to break the fast will be very late into the evening, so we will have a serious talk with the kids about giving us a break and some peace.

As the day is so long and the night so short and our sleep broken, another thing that I felt really helped me in the past is to nap for a short while after I come home from work. Doing so leaves me in a better position to pray during the night without falling asleep on my prayer mat.

Last year I had a horrid headache on the first day of Ramadan because I could not drink my daily morning coffee. This time round I will be cutting down to a single-shot coffee (with much less caffeine) and then stop a few days before Ramadan starts. I will also be planning how to use my lunch times so that I am not killing time. So far I am considering reading, power-napping if there is any chance of finding a quiet spot or gentle walking if it is not too hot.











6. Ramadan Crafts

I am debating whether to just put up last years decorations, or make new ones with the children. But either way it really creates a beautiful atmosphere in our home to welcome the sacred month and my children can really feel that something special is happening. Other options are Ramadan baskets which I have done in the past and which were well-received and children’s crafts.

























…and most importantly


7. Preparing Spiritually 

If I could only do one of the actions on the list, it would be this one. The preparation is to get us in a good place to make the most of this month, but everything we do is useless if we don’t have the right intentions. There are two conditions for the acceptance of every good deed: having the right intention and doing it in the right way. Really coming to a clear understanding of why we are fasting and who we are fasting for is essential. Understanding the right way to fast, what we are commanded to do and to avoid is also paramount. So to this end, my preparation will include doing some reading and listening to some talks to inform and motivate.

Some that I have found useful include:

Books

Beheshti Zewar (The Heavenly Ornaments) by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA) - for the section on Fasting (Saum).

Fazail-e-Ramazan (Virtues of Ramadhan) by Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (RA)

The Month of Ramadan by by Mufti Taqi Usmani.

Lectures

The Month of Forgiveness: Ramadan 2016 - Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

Welcome Ramadan
Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

Ramadan 2016 Action PlanUstadh Nouman Ali Khan

Ramadan, a gift for Muslims Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

Ramadan 2016 Around the Corner - Mufti Ismail Menk 

Welcoming Ramadan Into Our Homes - Mufti Ismail Menk

Welcoming Ramadan 2016 - Mufti Ismail Menk

Towards An Outstanding Ramadan - Sheikh Muhammad Alshareef

Ramadan Advice, Fasting & Taqwa - Sheikh Hamza Yusuf 

The Blessings of RamadanSheikh Hamza Yusuf

The Benefits of Fasting in The Month of Ramadan for Muslims Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Virtues of Ramadan (Episode 1~10)  - Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

Virtues of Ramadan (Episode 11~20) - Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

Virtues of Ramadan (Episode 21~30 End)Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick

Other Resources




Productuve Muslim: The Ultimate Ramadan Tools Review: Worksheets, Planners, Apps and Doodles!



You can find information and links in the Resources section of my Ramadan and Eid Planner 2016/1437. 

You can also find resources on my Ramadan Resources page here and my Pinterest Ramadan page here.





















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