I wanted to introduce my children to the idea of itikaf in Ramadan while they were still small in a fun and special way. They were too young to do a proper i’tikaf in the masjid, so I purchased a tent and decorated it with fairy lights and stars on strings and left it in the living room for the whole month. I told them it was their own special place (no grown-ups allowed!) for thinking and dreaming and praying in Ramadan.
Inside, I placed child-sized prayer mats, prayer beads, mushafs on stands, picture books about Ramadan and the prophets, Qur’anic stories for children, and their Ramadan notebooks. They could go in and out of the tent whenever they wanted, but it wasn’t a place for playing Angry Birds on the iPad! I wanted them to get used to the idea of a place of retreat that was only for their time with Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He), even if they just laid on their backs and daydreamed about life and the universe while they were there.
Will your practice level of your deen be the same 5 years from now?
How would you ensure that your practice of Islam grows over time and does not stagnate (or even decline!)?
So, where are you going with your Nafs/Manners/Akhlaq?
What negative character traits would you drop in 1 year’s time?
What positive character traits would you pick up in 1 year’s time?
How close is your manners/akhlaq aligned to how Allah SWT and His Messenger want you to be.. and how would you train yourself to get there?
So, where are you going as a Family?
Are you actively planning your family’s well-being in dunya and akhira?
Do you have regular discussions with your parents, siblings, spouse, children about where are you going as a family in terms of this world and the next?
How can you ensure that you plan as a family without being “too controlling”?
So, where are you going with your Work?
Will you be in the same role/position that you’re in now at work 5 years down the line?
Are you upgrading your skills/knowledge to acquire higher positions or deserve the promotion by next year?
Is this the work/career that you want to be in for the next 10-15 years and will it be meaningful enough for you in the end?
What are you planning to do after retirement?
So, where are you going as a Community?
Are you connected to your neighbors & local-community - both Muslim and non-Muslim?
Are you actively involved in helping improve the community both in small things, e.g. ensure a safe clean neighbourhood. Or big things, e.g. helping your community members be successful in dunya and akhira?
How are you planning, interacting, and working with your community so that you all improve?
So, where are you going as an Ummah?
What’s your role in the Ummah’s growth?
Are you a reason for the Ummah’s success or its failures?
“Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers. And in the creation of yourselves and what He disperses of moving creatures are signs for people who are certain [in faith].” [Quran 45:3-4]
Notes/paraphrased from Exclusive Video Interview with Productive Muslim
Ramadhan bagi ustadz Nouman (sesuai QS Al Baqarah: 185) adalah bulannya Al Quran. QS Al Baqarah: 185 itu adalah surat Madaniyah, jadi saat itu Quran bukanlah sesuatu yang baru untuk umat Islam. Tetapi di ayat itu Allah seperti memperkenalkan Al Quran untuk pertama kalinya kepada kaum muslimin, “Huda linnas wa bayyinati minal huda wal furqon”. Pelajaran yang dapat diambil dari hal ini adalah bahwa kita perlu memperbarui hubungan kita dengan Al Quran pada bulan ini, seolah-olah kita belum pernah tahu Quran sebelumnya. “This month should be a celebration of revelation itself”.
Target Ramadhan ustadz Nouman di antaranya adalah memperbanyak menghafal Quran, mengikuti i'tikaf dan memperbanyak bacaan/mengulang hafalan Quran. Dan tidak sekedar baca, tapi ketika kita banyak mengulang bacaan Quran, harapannya kita bisa merenungkan juga maknanya. Selain itu, ikuti shalat tarawih. Jangan terburu-buru dalam shalat, karena seharusnya dalam shalat itu kita membaca Quran dengan reflektif, benar-benar menghayatinya. Perhatikan kualitas, jangan hanya kuantitas.
Beberapa hal tentang tarawih.. Tarawih adalah latihan untuk kita bisa tahajud. Kalau misalnya kita tidak bisa ikut tarawih, tapi besoknya kita bisa bangun untuk tahajud, itu adalah sesuatu yang baik. Ukur kemampuan diri, jangan berlebihan saat tarawih (misal sampai tengah malam), yang membuat kita malah kesulitan untuk bangun dan shalat Subuh tepat waktu. Realistis, dan lihatlah mana yang lebih prioritas. Usahakan, benar-benar usahakan, untuk shalat Isya dan Subuh berjamaah di masjid (karena itu seperti shalat sepanjang malam-hadits).
Puasa 30 hari di bulan Ramadhan akan mudah dibanding puasa di hari-hari lainnya, karena dalam Quran Allah sudah menjamin mudah. Kalau kita merasa lelah di siang hari, pasti itu bukan karena puasa. Mungkin karena kita salah makan, kebanyakan tidur, salah mengatur waktu, dst. Justru karena bulan Ramadhan penuh keberkahan, kita akan bisa melampaui produktifitas kita pada umumnya, dengan izin Allah.
Bagaimana mengatasi perasaan tidak mampu, takut, merasa susah, dsb? Itu semua dimulai dari pikiran kita, yang akan mempengaruhi emosi, dan akhirnya berpengaruh pada perbuatan kita. Tanamkan dalam pikiran kita, bahwa apapun yang terjadi (bagaimana pun panas cuacanya, betapa lama waktu puasa, betapa banyak kerjaan kita), Allah telah menjamin ini akan mudah. Yakinlah dengan janji Allah itu.
Bulan Ramadhan adalah bulan untuk menjadikan pribadi kita menjadi lebih baik dan lebih dekat dengan Allah. Di QS Al Baqarah: 186 Allah menyebutkan tentang doa.. maka ini adalah bulan untuk kita kembali pada Allah, dan banyak berkomunikasi denganNya. Untuk menjadikan diri lebih baik, kita harus banyak introspeksi diri. Setiap hari tanyakanlah, apa yang dapat membuat saya jadi lebih baik, adakah kesalahan yang saya lakukan, apakah saya bangun tidur kesiangan, apakah saya cukup olahraga, dst.. “A good day translates into a good life”. Karena hidup kita adalah kumpulan hari-hari. Jika kita bisa membuat satu hari kita lebih baik, maka kita bisa membuat hidup kita lebih baik.
Bagaimana jika di tengah jalan kita merasa penurunan dan tidak bersemangat? Sebagai manusia, itu sangat wajar. Tapi jangan menunggu orang lain untuk menyemangati kita, karena kita punya kemampuan untuk menyemangati diri dan membuat diri kita bangkit lagi. Jangan membandingkan diri kita dengan orang lain, karena itu bisa membuat kita merasa kalah dan lemah. Satu-satunya yang harus kita jadikan perbandingan adalah diri kita sendiri. Apakah kita lebih baik dari diri kita kemarin. Kita menang apabila kita ada dalam perjalanan yang terus menerus untuk memperbaiki diri. Kita bahkan tidak perlu mengejar kesempurnaan. Kita hanya perlu menuju perbaikan, terus menerus berusaha jadi lebih baik dari hari ke hari. Jika itu terjadi, kita adalah pemenang. “If human being dies pursuing betterment, not perfection, just betterment, they had live a succesful life.”
Setelah Ramadhan, bagaimanakah supaya semangat ibadah dan perbaikan diri tetap terjaga? Buatlah target yang tidak bisa diselesaikan saat Ramadhan. Misalnya pada target hafalan Quran, buatlah target yang kita tahu tidak adakan selesai satu bulan, tapi 2 atau 3 bulan, sehingga apa yang kita lakukan saat Ramadhan dapat berlanjut di bulan berikutnya.
Perbaiki dan aturlah waktu tidur kita. Jika kita dapat memperbaiki jadwal/waktu tidur kita, kita dapat memperbaiki banyak hal dalam hidup kita. Setelah Isya, langsung tidur, jangan menunggu tengah malam. Dekatkanlah diri kita dengan orang-orang yang bersemangat dan punya motivasi tinggi, yang dengannya kita bisa saling menyemangati.
Ramadhan adalah bulan pelatihan. Kalau orang sedang dalam pelatihan (misalnya pemadam kebakaran), tentunya mereka menghadapi situasi rekaan yang lebih mudah dengan fasilitas yang disediakan. Setelah pelatihan, apakah mereka bisa santai-santai karena pelatihan sudah selesai? Tidak kan, justru mereka menghadapi dunia nyatanya. Begitu pula kita dalam Ramadhan, kita diberi banyak kemudahan, setan dibelenggu, dst.. Setelah Ramadhan, kita menghadapi ujian yang sebenarnya. Bulan Ramadhan ini menyiapkan diri kita dengan bekal-bekal yang akan diperlukan untuk kehidupan di bulan-bulan berikutnya.
Wouldn’t you love to enter the month of Ramadan on a real high and have the effects of this beautiful month be a permanent impact on your life thereafter? How can this be done? Below are the 8 steps for a Legacy of a Ramadan.
Step 1 – Create a Ramadan Count Down1
Counting down for Ramadan (whether it is done mentally or by keeping physical signs around the home or office) will help create hype and buzz in your mind and amongst the people around you. When you and others are counting down to the same event, it becomes part of regular conversation and excitement spreads.
Step 2 – Seek knowledge about Ramadan
This will help you ensure you will do things correctly and perfectly for Ramadan, it will create a hype as there are many motivational aspects and events in the month to look forward to and finally it is a reward reaper. The more you know about Ramadan the more you can apply, hence multiplying your rewards.
Step 3 – Make a Ramadan plan
Be it reading the entire Quran, ensuring you pray taraweeh every night or inviting families over for iftaar; make a list of things you would like to achieve in the month and then how you plan on achieving these goals. It is important that goals are realistic and it is better that your life doesn’t need to entirely take a different road in this month (i.e. take the month off work or change work hours etc.) so that you may continue to do these deeds after Ramadan. Knowing what you want to achieve in the month will help you stay focused. Ensure you plan your day every night before you sleep when Ramadan starts (try to continue this even after Ramadan).
Step 4 – Know your life
Be aware if Ramadan affects anything that is happening in the month or shortly after. Do you have exams during Ramadan? Or is there a major family wedding after Ramadan by a short time? Moving house? If so, plan for these events from now. Study now so that you are prepared for the exams before the month starts. Be packed and ready to go before Ramadan or plan that you do it after so that it doesn’t take time away from your worship. The last thing you want to do is spend Ramadan at the shopping centres. Buy any Eid presents and prepare for any wedding before the month starts.
Step 5 – Prepare spiritually
We all know that Ramadan is about Fasting, Praying, Reading Quran and giving in charity. Start these worships early; don’t expect to just click into it as soon as the first day of Ramadan starts. Start doing extra prayers from now, start revising and regularly reading Quran now, get used to being generous and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad and fast during Sha’baan.
Step 6 – Prepare your mind
Fasting is to refrain from more than just what we consume in our mouth. Start working on your patience; be extra vigilant with your conversations: ensure you are not backbiting, slandering or talking about useless things.
Step 7 – Say ‘good riddance’ to bad habits
Know what bad habits you have and stop them from now, don’t wait until Ramadan begins. If you sleep late, start sleeping early, if you are a Facebook junky start cutting down, have a coffee craze, slow it down etc. It might sound much easier said then done, but once you’ve committed yourself, purified your intentions – make sincere dua for guidance. Insh’Allah, these bad habits will be easier done with than you ever expected.
Step 8 – Plan your life around your worship
For instance; instead of working through your prayer or setting up meeting etc., at prayer times, plan that you have a break at prayer time. Don’t take your phone with you to the place you pray and forget the world as you stand between the hands of the almighty Allah .
Ramadan is a month in which we increased our spirituality and strengthen our relationship with the Qur’an. Ramadan can be overwhelming for women, as we strive to balance family, siblings, extended family, work and social obligations. At the same time, we want to increase our ibaadah and spiritual development, and the balance can be very challenging.
Somehow, with lots of du’a, a Ramadan plan and less sleep, many sisters do manage their duties and become more productive in their ibaadah during this blessed month (alhamdulilah!). The important question is, how can we continue to balance our different duties and roles, and continue a high level of ibaadah after Ramadan too?
In this article, I will mention some practical solutions on how to continue our acts of worship after Ramadan, so we consistently feel the infamous Ramadan imaan-high!
The Post-Ramadan Action Plan!
Here are a few tips of continuing our Ramadan habits after Ramadan to ensure we remain on that spiritual high:
We all know the famous saying, “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. We were all advised tohave a plan for Ramadan. So why not have one for after Ramadan? Ramadan is a great time to bond with the family, so ensure you involve them in the post-Ramadan action plan too.
Going to bed early gives our spiritual development a great motivational boost. By performing wudu, praying two nawafil (voluntary rakaah) and the accompanying du’as we say before going to bed, you will wake up refreshed and energised.
Ramadan was a time of late mosque visits and standing long, listening to beautiful recitation during taraweeh. Continuing tahajjud after Ramadan is a invaluable habit, even if it’s only for 15 minutes before Fajr. Allah loves actions that are small and consistent.
Recite the Qur’an regularly, even if it is a page a day, to make sure you are keeping that Ramadan-connection with the Qur’an. Take 1-2 hours out a week to ponder and reflect over its meaning by reading translation or tafsir.
Dhikr is a well-established practice during Ramadan. Save 5-10 minutes for morning and evening adhkar, and utter the words while you do other chores or work.
A healthy body full of vitality is very important. The Prophet Muhammad
said, “Your body has a right over you” [Bukhari]. It’s important to embark on a healthy well balanced eating plan to cope with the demands of fasting, and it is as important to continue healthy eating after Ramadan, to give your body renewed energy levels and vitality for ibaadah and all your other duties after Ramadan.
A must have for sisters is “me-time”, to relax and also reconnect with Allah
. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a nice cup of tea, whilst your husband, siblings or extended family take the kids from you for a while. Even if you have no children, you still need sometime to recuperate from work, household and family obligations. You can spend this time making dhikr and reflecting on your performance during Ramadan.
Light exercise such as walking or cycling for 15-20 minutes a few times a week, will also give us a motivational boost and increase our energy levels. You can even have walks with your children or with your husband – whatever floats your boat.
Balancing Household Obligations after Ramadan
Our household, work and social obligations still remain after Ramadan. Here are tips to continue our Ramadan habits so we can make the most effective use of our time:
Stock up food cupboards with food you will need for about a month, as this decreases weekly shopping trips and impulse buys
“Feeding fasting people can be fulfilled by a simple one or two course meal rather than a four course one that takes up so much time leading to me being very tired and unproductive”, claims a mum-to-be.
This is a principle we can continue after Ramadan:
Have a meeting with your family and decide on the meals you will be having throughout the month and getting the whole family involved is a great way of lightening the load.
Delegate household activities to your husband, children, neighbours and extended family. My kids love to be empowered during the month of Ramadan to be involved in choosing and cooking light healthy meals. Ramadan is a perfect opportunity for families to eat and do activities together and this should be continued after Ramadan too.
Share your post-Ramadan goals with your family and let them know that you want to continue the spirituality of Ramadan, and would appreciate their help with the household activities. This will ensure you have more energy and free time to focus on the Qur’an and in your worship to Allah
, even after Ramadan.
Keep up the Support Networks
Ramadan is a time where sisters make an extra effort to visit the masjid, especially for taraweeh prayers, which instilled the “Ramadan-feeling” into us. Greeting sisters every evening and standing together in prayer are things we may miss after Ramadan, and may make sisters feel lonely once the blessed month is over.
Here are a few things you can do in your community to continue the support network in the masjid after Ramadan:
Simply organise for family to babysit for a few hours while you go to the masjid. This could be when you have your “me-time”!
Have a mothers and kids meeting club; ideally, this could be in a hall within the masjid. This gives the mothers a chance to go to the masjid and the children to socialise with other kids in the community.
Organise small events and gatherings in the masjid, and especially invite single sisters, single parents and others you know are on their own. Involve them and show that you care for their well-being, not just during Ramadan but after Ramadan too.
So, there you have it sisters! Your comprehensive post-Ramadan action plan to ensure that you continue your Ramadan ibaadah, even when the blessed month is over. Comment below with your tips and advice on keeping the spiritual high after Ramadan!
About the Author:
Khafaya Abdulsalam is a mother of four, providing practical parenting workshops, seminars and professional coaching services to Muslim mothers across the globe and empowering Muslimahs to be the mothers they want their kids to see. She aims to take motherhood to the 3rd degree by equipping Muslim mothers with tools, practical tips and techniques on how to be masters of motherhood, raising happy, confident and productive Muslim kids! Most importantly, Khafayah trains mothers on how to re-discover themselves in order to perform the most important role assigned to them by Allah SWT – Motherhood! Visit her website at http://www.ummuka.com