Sunday 5 June 2016

Preparing for Ramadan: Making Good Intentions

One thing I do every year for Ramadan, is to try and get into the habit of a good deed or action, or act of worship that I can start during the holy month and then sustain during the rest of the year (and insh’Allah for the rest of my life). In the past this has included reading Quran daily, even if a little, praying my sunnah (non-obligatory) as well as fardh (obligatory) prayers and reading the Quran with meaning. I have been more successful at some than others.

So this year I and my best friend decided to share our goals for Ramadan so that we can encourage each other. Mine were:

1. Complete the reading of at least one Quran
2. Do my nawafil and sunnah prayers as well as the fardh ones
3. Read one detailed tafaseer (commentary) of the Quran (I have Ibn Katheer at home) a bit at a time, with the intention of continuing after Ramadan
4. Try to read one seerah (biography) of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), perhaps Martin Lings one this time insh’Allah.

I usually try to stick to one goal, but all of these were close to my heart.

What are your goals for Ramadan? How do you make sure you achieve them?  Please do share your ideas and intentions insh'Allah and inspire us.

Below is an excerpt on Ramadan goal planning from the Ramadan and Eid Planner for 2016/1437:

Setting Goals for Ramadan

Sometimes we have ambitious spiritual goals for Ramadan which we struggle with and then promptly forget about once the sacred month is over. One way of looking at Ramadan is to consider it as kind of a training period for the rest of the year. So a time to adopt good practises and habits when it feels a little easier and then to maintain them throughout the year.

My golden rule for myself is to keep it simple and pick at least one habit during Ramadan that I can them permanently implement into my life in the long term. The clearer and more specific your goal is and the fewer goals you have the easier they are to stick to.

What are three goals, activities or habits that you can adopt during the sacred month with the intention of maintaining afterwards? List them below; there is something about writing down your intentions that makes them come to the fore of your attention and helps you to spot opportunities to act on them.

Examples could be things like:

 - Reading at least some Quran every day, even if it is a few ayah’s
 - Praying your sunnah salah as well as your fardh, if you already do, then to start praying all of your nawafil salah
 - Starting to read a translation or commentary of the Quran, a little at a time.
 - Making up missed fasts from previous years by fasting once a week or every Monday and Thursday.
 - Making dhikr (remembrance) a daily habit at a fixed time of the day.

To make these things happen it helps if they are things that resonate with you and that you truly want. Some people are better than one kind of worship than another. You may be genuinely fascinated in what the Quran has to say, or enjoy reciting it. You may be someone that finds a lot of peace and pleasure in their salah; you may be someone that enjoys the pleasure of private dhikr. If you choose your goals accordingly, they will feel less a chore and more a process of natural development and growth that brings you closer to your Creator (SWT).

It also helps to have goals that are specific – being clear about what you will do, by when and how you know you have achieved your goal.

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