1. Read the Qur'an after every prayer
“Whoever reads one letter from the Book of Allah will earn one reward thereby. One reward is equal to ten rewards the like of it. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Meem is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Meem is a letter.” [Tirmidhi]So even small steps bring you rewards. Take some time after each prayer to read a few ayats of the Qur'an. It can be just 1 ayat, or a whole surah at a time, but as time goes on these small efforts will help build your confidence and comfort. Hopefully one day in the future, you can work your way up to reciting the Qur'an not just once, but even twice or more during Ramadan! 🤩
2. Recite 1 ayah per day
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur'an will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Qur'an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]So start small and strive for precision, taking care to pronounce each letter properly and clearly. Rather than rushing through, understand the meaning of the words and aim to perfect even the smallest of recitations. In this way, you'll build your confidence as well as fall in love with the beauty of the Qur'an.
3. Tune in to a podcast, or read more Islamic booksRamadan is a month for deepening our faith and knowledge of Islam, so who better to learn from than religious teachers and other learned members of the community? You can now find dozens of online lessons and podcasts covering everything from fiqh to the tafseer of selected surahs - and most of them are 30 minutes or less! Put one on in the background while you get ready for your day, or when you're winding down just before it's time to break your fast. A little knowledge goes a long way! ☺️
4. Study the tafseer of Al-Fatihah
5. Relearn the basics of prayerThere are 5 obligatory daily prayers in Islam, but each of us is in different stages of our journey of prayer. For some who may be starting out, committing to all 5 prayers can be difficult for a variety of reasons; for others who are already in the habit of praying 5 times a day, the challenge may be in maintaining khushoo during prayer instead of letting your mind wander. No matter what your relationship to prayer is, this is a good time to relearn the basics.
6. Pray Terawih if you canTerawih prayers this year will be different for one main reason - mosques are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Muslims will have to do their Terawih prayers at home . While this may be a shock for some people, we should remember that it is not the mosque itself that allows you to pray Terawih but your intentions to do these sunnah prayers for Allah.
7. Try waking up for sahur
"Allah and his angels definitely send salutations on those who eat Suhoor."Having sahur can help set the tone for the rest of your day - and you can pray the Fajr/subuh prayer immediately afterwards too.
8. Be mindful of what you eatDuring this month, we might feel tempted to eat a heavier meal for iftar, or snack on fried or sweet treats for supper late at night after Terawih prayers 😓 While treating ourselves to something nice once in a while can be okay, these can also result in us feeling groggy the next day or feeling self-conscious of our weight by the end of the month.
9. Hydrate yourself when you canAs we're fasting for the whole day, it's important to hydrate ourselves when we get the chance! 😌 Too often we can forget to drink enough water (whether after iftar or during sahur), and this can affect our energy levels, productivity, and mood for the rest of the day. Credit: Giphy By hydrating yourself, you're not only ensuring you have enough energy for the day but you'll be in a better mood and find it easier to practice values such as kindness and compassion. Keep a water bottle by your side after iftar, and sip water until you go to bed. Make sure to have water or other fluids during sahur too! If your lifestyle is very active, increase your water intake accordingly so you won't risk falling ill.
10. Go 'phone-less' for half an hourOne of the values of Ramadan is learning how to resist temptation, and for many of us, the biggest temptation around is our phones! While our phones are essential for communication (or just every part of life) these days, this is a good chance for us to take a step back as well. If we can resist food and water (which are essential to our survival) for over 12 hours, we can surely resist looking at our phone for just a fraction of that time. Credit: Giphy Use productivity apps such as Forest which rewards you when you don't look at your phone, or be mindful of your social media consumption by blocking yourself from sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube - you can do the latter using free software like Cold Turkey or SelfControl.
11. Do small acts of charityDuring Ramadan, many of us do acts of charity to give back to our community as well as show gratefulness for what Allah has given us. But giving sadaqah (voluntary acts of charity) doesn’t just need to be monetary! Abu Dhar reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Your smile to your brother is a sadaqah for you. Your commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is a sadaqah. Your guiding a man in the land of misguidance is a sadaqah for you. Your seeing (showing the way) for a man with bad eyesight is a sadaqah for you. Your removing a stone or thorn or bone from the road is a sadaqah for you. Your emptying your bucket of water into your brother’s (empty) bucket is a sadaqah for you.” [Tirmidhi]