[Qur’an in Ramadan 3:Q2.253-Q3.112]
1. Pray Fajr on time and preferably in congregation.
2. Get to work or school on time, earlier than usual, so you can reflect. Thank Allah for letting you reach your destination safely. If you have nowhere to go, wake earlier than usual from your post-fajr nap and meditate.
3. Get a sheet of paper and write out the qualities of the person you would like to become this Ramadan and beyond. Don’t make vague descriptions like ‘to become more pious’ or ‘to become a better Muslim’. Instead, write achievable and measurable goals like ‘to observe salaah within 30 minutes of the adhaan’, ‘eat a salad for iftar on alternate days’, ‘give x naira, dollars or pounds to a homeless person every day, decline visits to non-productive places, work out for 30mins daily, stop lying’. Visualise this individual and believe you shall become like that by the end of Ramadan bi idhnillah. Save this sheet of paper to look at and visualise every day at Fajr.
4. Write out a checklist (if you haven’t already) containing all the acts of ibadah you hope to achieve in Ramadan like reading 20 pages of the Qur’an daily, observing the 2 rakats before Fajr, Sunnah prayers before or after every of the 5 daily prayers, giving a certain amount in alms daily, attending tafsirs (sermons), itikaf (seclusion in the mosque), umrah (pilgrimage to Makkah and Madina) etc. Review your progress daily and see how you can do better the next day. No matter how bleak it seems when you do not meet up, keep forging on till the end. For the mere fact that you intend to do this, Allah will reward you, in sha Allah.
5. Reflect on your life, at how far you have come and how far you have to go to become who you desire. Reflect on the fact that not everyone who fasted last year is alive this year. Resolve that this Ramadan is going to be the best you have ever had, in sha Allah.
6. Bring out your Qur’an and read a part of your daily quota (or all of it, if you have enough time).
7. If this was your last Ramadan, what would you do differently from last year’s?
I would love to read your thoughts.