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It is that time of the year again. Ramadan is just around the corner, and each time we think about it, we experience a potpourri of feelings–a rush of excitement, a sense of awe for the long summer fasts, and a sense of relief at having another chance to revitalize our in-need-of -puckering-up faith.
For mothers and homemakers, the imminence of Ramadan also signals the need for planning our worship goals in such a way that we can take care of the housework, cooking, cleaning and child rearing without stressing out or missing valuable time for worship once the holy month starts.
Therefore, let us now take time to stock of our goals â€“ ones we should plan to achieve before we hit the fasting marathon with renewed gusto and vigor, with the relaxing knowledge that we have already tackled other, less important chores/to-do lists:
Prioritize: Make a list of worship goals
What do you want to achieve this Ramadan? Do you have any special yearnings? For example, would you want to devote more time to late-nightÂ qiyam al-layl than before? Do you want to memorize a portion of the Qurʾān every day after Fajr prayer? Do you want to go to taraweeh every night this year, now that your youngest child has been weaned? Do you want to arrange for more iftaars for everyone at the masjid? Do you want to ask Allāh for special favors that you have thought up since last year e.g. ease from financial strain, another baby, shifa for a sick relative or loved one, or steadfastness upon a righteous action you have newly started?
Make a list of your goals on a piece of paper and keep it safely in your wallet or anywhere else where you will not lose it. If you have the habit of keeping a personal journal/diary, make the list there.
De-clutter and spring clean your home
We tend to spend a lot of time in housework and other chores during Ramadan â€“ chores we can do in any other month. We have to capitalize on the time we have in Ramadan, with each spare moment spent in some kind of worship or righteous action. Therefore, if you have to clean out a closet, de-clutter the children\'s room, have the walls painted, or renovate or repair any portion of your home, garden, shed or drive, do it now.
Cook, chop, blend, pack and freeze
Sisters, now is the time to make and freeze some quick-fix meals for those days during Ramadan when you might just not feel like stepping into a hot kitchen to whip up an exotic delicacy. Whether it is raw material such as kneaded dough or cooking paste with garlic, ginger and onions, or cooked recipes such as potato cutlets, curries, or simple sautÃ©ed vegetables, make sure your freezer is stocked with some handy culinary shortcuts and â€œescape routesâ€ for Ramadan, especially for its last ten days.
Last social calls
Make a list of those of your relatives, neighbors and friends who expect you to visit them â€˜properly\' viz. spend two or three hours with them and have a meal over a soulful chat. Visit them before Ramadan starts. That way you will not have to face any nagging guilt about neglecting ties once you devote time to worship for a whole month.
Shop for 'Īd
We all want to wear new clothes and shoes on 'Īd, especially young children. Go shopping now for whatever you want to wear, have it stitched and/or ready in the wardrobe so that you will not have to worry about it in Ramadan, especially in its last ten days that are extra special for worship and seclusion from worldly affairs. This could also includeÂ henna and bangles, for which most families tend to make a last minute, nocturnal run in the three nights before 'Īd.
If you are in the habit of giving some or all of your zakah during Ramadan, get started on the calculations now.
Take stock of your savings, andÂ start planning the what and how, generating your zakah now. Keep these calculations in your diary so that you can refer to them during Ramadan.
Next, make a list of people, families, and/or organizations where you want to discharge your zakah. Call up people in your family and look around in your community to find those who are in need e.g. those under debt, or those who have no income since a few months.
Once you have taken care of the above things, you will be able to meet Ramadan with a much freer mind and schedule, insha\'Allāh, in order to devote yourself to exclusive communion and contact with your Lord, who gives us this golden chance to turn back to Him every year.
Let us plan not to waste a moment of this glorious month!