05 February 2024

# Islam # Ramadan

5 Practical Tips for Ramadan

This post may contain affiliate links (I'll earn a small commission if you use them). Also contains placement of my own products.

Due to the Islamic calendar being a lunar one, Ramadan starts about ten days earlier every year of the Gregorian calendar. Hence it feels like it comes faster every year, because it starts ten days earlier, even though it's still a year since the last one.

As the Ramadan approaches earlier again, it's easy to feel unprepared - even though it's my 11th year as a Muslim convert/revert, and so my 11th Ramadan.

I won't lie to you, I'm not one of those people who excitedly share on social media how much they're looking forward to Ramadan. I usually don't - it's physically draining, and I'm probably not in the same place spiritually as some people. But I think this is the case for a lot of people and not enough of us admit to it - we're only human after all, might experience spiritual highs and lows, and we're all in different places on our journey. And that's okay to admit.

I might not necessarily look forward to Ramadan every time, but I still observe it by fasting, keeping regular prayers, and trying to add extra worship during that month. Here are my ten tips to prepare for Ramadan, and to make the most of it regardless of how you feel going into it.

1. Set yourself realistic goals

It doesn't have to be a long list. I usually set out to read 1 Juz of the Quran a day (I read in English or Polish), intending to complete it in 30 days. I also make a goal to learn a new (short) surah. It can be anything else - learning 99 names of Allah, reading a new Islamic book, maybe going to the mosque more often. Just make sure it's something you think you'll be able to keep up with, so you don't end Ramadan disappointed in yourself.

If you're a planner kind of person, I designed a really simple Ramadan Planner - this, and a few other versions, are available as instant downloads for you to print at home, in my Etsy shop 

And if you need a more comprehensive journal and/or prefer a paperback copy sent directly to you, there's plenty of Ramadan planners on Amazon to choose from.

Again, when setting your own goals, make sure they're achievable for you personally - you'll feel better accomplishing one or two simple goals at the end of Ramadan, than if you try to take on too much and don't succeed.

2. Stock up and make a meal plan

Again, I don't mean anything crazy - I'm not telling you here to go crazy like people did in the lockdowns, or plan your meals for the whole month ahead!

In the UK many major supermarkets have a lot of offers and promotions before Ramadan. It's a great time to stock up on essentials that have lower prices, and there's often more variety of products. What we do ahead of Ramadan is stock up on the stuff that will get used the most: big bags of flour and rice, large bottle of oil, tins of tomatoes, packs of lentils and chickpeas - it's all the stuff we get in larger, bulk packs, and the logic is to get the heavy stuff before Ramadan starts, so then we can just do smaller top-up shops throughout the month when we start lacking energy. 

Meal plan isn't something I do regularly, and I don't strictly stick to one in Ramadan either. I find, however, that it helps to have a general idea of what we think we'll want to eat - it helps avoid thinking too much about what to cook every day, and helps with the shopping list too (we all know what happens when you go shopping on an empty stomach and without a plan).

I also find it helpful to batch cook before Ramadan - I don't do much because of the small freezer space, but it's good to have a few meals ready for the days when you don't have time or energy left to cook. Other than that, when I make fresh meals, I try to choose something that can be made to last at least two days, rather than spending every day stressing in the kitchen. 

3. Clean and decorate the house

I love a bit of a spring clean ahead of Ramadan. I declutter, reorganise stuff, and all that. I find it helpful for two reasons: first of all, a clear house = a clear mind (or so they say). Doing a deep clean before Ramadan means that I only have regular, small daily tasks to do, and rather than distract myself with a deep clean while fasting, I can use this time for reading and learning. The second reason is that decluttering potentially means finding items to donate to charity - great time to get rid of those clothes you keep telling yourself you'll lose weight for, or the toys that are still good but now forgotten.

Since having children I also decorate the house for Ramadan and Eid - in recent years this has become a really common thing to do, and decorations can be found pretty much everywhere. eBay is probably my favourite place for finding Ramadan and Eid decorations on a budget, as they have everything from hanging wall decor or balloons to partyware or even full sets of decorations for all your needs. I find that decorating for Ramadan sets the mood, and helps us all feel that this is a special time of the year - it also gives the children more excitement, as they get the same atmosphere as others do over Christmas. 

4. Be mindful about the media you consume

Music is definitely my guilty pleasure - I love getting the headphones on for cleaning or exercise, or even when I pop out of the house alone. Alternatively, I enjoy playing commentary YouTubers in the background. During Ramadan, however, I do try to avoid that. I swap music for Quran recitation (Mr also plays it in the car instead of the radio) - my favourite band released a new album in Ramadan last year, but as much as I wanted to listen to it straight away, I put it off. I also swap the YouTube drama for something more informative - last year I was listening to the Islamic History Podcast.

5. Organise activities for the children

Last year a large portion of Ramadan fell over kids' Easter holidays, and it will be similar this time - depending on actual dates for Ramadan and Eid, my two will be at home for nearly 2 weeks, so almost the full second half of Ramadan. 

Over the past few years, we gathered a small collection of children's books about Ramadan - my favourite places to buy them from are Kube Publishing and Muslim Children's Books, but I also occasionally order them from Amazon for convenience.

Some of our favourite Ramadan titles include: "It's Ramadan, Curious George", "Hassan and Aneesa Love Ramadan", "Tell Me More About Ramadan", and "Ramadan Moon" - they are aimed more at the younger children, so my daughter still enjoys them. My eldest, however, is a more advanced reader, so for him we have a few of Zanib Mian's books - Migo and Ali are still enjoyed here, as well as the Planet Omar and Meet The Maliks series.

Another thing to keep the children occupied in a positive way is Ramadan activity books - my daughter was definitely more interested in that than my son, and again it's something more for the younger children as those activity books tend to mostly contain colouring pages. My favourite over time was the Momin Explorers Ramadan Activity Book which includes templates for DIY Ramadan and Eid decorations, greeting cards, and bookmarks, so there are some things to get the children more involved.

Whether you're eagerly awaiting Ramadan or feeling a little apprehensive, hopefully these little tips can help you get prepared for Ramadan in a practical way, so that you can focus more on your spiritual enrichment over this holy month.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and manually approved by me before appearing on the site - please be patient. Abusive language and spam will not be tolerated.