Before you exercise, you will be advised by any professional or fitness buff to do warm-up exercises first. The warm-up helps prepare the body for the exercise proper and run oil through the machine, so to speak. Well-stretched warm muscles are more resistant to wear and strain unlike cold muscles which do not absorb impact well hence injure faster.
Preparing for Ramadan is key to a successful Ramadan. If you’ve been preparing since Rajab, good for you! If you haven’t, here’s your chance.
So, it is Shaaban already! Ramadan is but a hop and skip away. Here’s a checklist to put us in the mood and right frame of mind for Ramadan. Consider it a head start in order to fully enjoy the blessed month when it arrives.
• Repay the missed fasts of last year’s Ramadan if you have not completed it.
• Review and refresh your old du’a list to update both adhkaar and prayers you wish to be answered. If you don’t have one, now is a good time to begin listing all the prayer points you would like to cover. Hisnu-l-Muslim (Fortress of a Believer) is a good book to peruse for extra rewarding adhkaar.
• Resume daily recitation of the Qur’an. If you would like to read in Arabic but cannot, now is as good a time as any to learn.
• Download your favourite reciter’s quranic recitation online or procure it at an Islamic shop.
• Recommence good habits to prepare yourself for the Holy Month and beyond: giving alms, the two rakats before Fajr, Tahajjud (night prayer), Witr, Monday and Thursday fasts, fasting on the White days etc.
• Try to observe all your salawat in the masjid in congregation (for males) or at least, Fajr and Ishai if you work where doing so is not feasible.
• Invite your relatives, neighbours, or reverts over for dinner to break the ice before Ramadan.
• Cut down on unhealthy food in particular and food in general. Begin to trim back on your coffee, cigarette, Coca-Cola intake and other addictions.
• Cut back on excessive speech and watch your tongue so you don’t spend the entire month trying to rein in your tongue.
• If you would rather be on leave during the Holy Month, now would be a good time to apply for it at work.
• Scout for someone to feed if you are chronically ill and cannot fast.
• Send money to your parents and dependants for Ramadan shopping (particularly if you use the bank) so they can get what they need in time.
• Make your menu and draw up your grocery list. You can even begin to shop for the non-perishable items on your list so you are not overwhelmed by the increasing costs of foodstuff and the stress of shopping in Ramadan.
• Do you believe in Ramadan Resolutions? Write yours down and begin to work toward it.
• Buy Eid gifts and clothes for yourself (and the children too.) Give them to the tailor on time for sewing, if you have to. You do not want to be shopping in Ramadan under the blazing sun or joining in the pre-Eid rush when it’s more expensive.
Have you anymore to add?