Ramadan of 1439 AH (a.k.a. 2018, on the Gregorian calendar) is predicted to start at maghrib, on May 15 of this year. Of course, this won’t be official until the moon is seen. If you want more info on Ramadan, and on the moonsighting topic, this Vox article is really useful! Being that Ramadan is almost here, I am working on getting ready for it. Frankly, my preparations only really began in earnest on Thursday. Someone graciously sent me the PDF for a free Ramadan planner. I printed it out, put it in a binder, and used it to map out my goals and plans for this month. Inshallah I will be using it daily throughout the month to stay on track, tweak my goals and efforts to reach them as I go along, and reflect on my progress.
Some of my Ramadan goals include consuming less secular entertainment and more khutbahs and Quran recitations, as well as studying more about the Deen in general. I also want to work on exercising kindness and patience. Notably, I plan to work on some other more private spiritual challenges. Personally, I find that I am more productive and focused if I plan ahead and stay organized. Or maybe doing that makes me think I’m more productive; I don’t know, and am not so sure that I want to find out! In any case, now that I have finished that, I am already taking some steps to put my plans into action. I’ve already removed most of the secular videos from my Youtube “watch later” playlist, so that by Tuesday evening, inshallah I will be ready to watch only really useful videos. I still plan to listen to and watch secular things that I find therapeutic, as I don’t believe I need to become so focused on spiritual matters that I forget to laugh. But Islamic content will be my top priority.
I am also trying to think of things that I can read to enrich me spiritually; the Quran is an obvious choice, but reading the Quran without understanding it isn’t as enriching as reading it once you understand the point of a given passage. So, I’d like to find a book or two to guide me in my Quran reading. Speaking of Quran reading, I plan, inshallah, to read the whole Quran by following the thirty Juz. Click here to learn about the way the Quran is divided into sections. Note that I cannot vouch for any part of the above site other than the page I linked.
Another thing that I plan to do to help me stay focused is to deactivate my social media accounts for the duration of the month. The exceptions will be Whatsapp and Youtube, as I need the former to stay in touch with loved ones around the world, and the latter to access Islamic content, as well as educational resources both secular and spiritual. As those who have read my last post already know, I have been on a quest for some time to distance myself from (anti)social media, to instead connect with people one-on-one – even if online! – and to be more productive in several areas of my life. Being that Ramadan is so important, it feels fitting to step away from the bombardment of distractions that are Facebook and Instagram, and to instead use my time to build a closer relationship with Allah and meaningful relationships with people.
My greatest hope this year is to recalibrate my spiritual compass after a year of tailspins. Crushing mental and physical health problems, combined with sudden lifestyle shifts and other emotional shocks, left me reeling and disconnected from the Source, right when I need Him the most. Ramadan seems to be the perfect opportunity to make this right. I am genuinely looking forward to it.
To all those observing this holy month, Ramadan Mubarak!