Ramadan this year has been different for everyone. Since mosques are closed and Ramadan bazaars have been cancelled due to COVID-19, we're spending more time than ever at home during this blessed month of Ramadan.
While we're finding ways to beat cabin fever and deciding what to have for iftar, the good thing about being at home during Ramadan is that you can focus on increasing your acts of worship. Here are 8 ways to make the most out of your Ramadan at home.
1. Go back to the basics of what Ramadan is really about
Without much worldly distraction during this Ramadan, it allows us to go back to the basics of what Ramadan is truly about. While we look forward to the bazaars and enjoying good food with loved ones every year, Ramadan is not about the festive spirit. Its true purpose is to increase our taqwa (God-consciousness) and purify our soul. It's also about self-discipline, self-improvement and reflection.
Being at home allows you to focus on developing your relationship with Allah and intensify your devotion to Him. Think of it this way - not being able to iftar with the community or pray Terawih at the mosque means that you have the opportunity of facing Allah one-on-one. This will definitely allow you to deepen your connection with Allah; that's a spiritual experience in itself. And that's something you should take advantage of and cherish during this period ❤️
2. Set a schedule and have goals for Ramadan
That's why setting a schedule and sticking to it is very important. Setting a schedule for Ramadan is actually very useful regardless of the COVID-19 situation. It can be something simple like allocating 30 minutes each day to reading the Quran, or adding 10 more minutes to your daily prayers to make dua just to ensure that you're keeping up with your ibadah consistently.
Having goals for Ramadan will also help you increase your ibadah during the holy month. Believe it or not, you don't have to set big goals! The key is to set realistic ones, like praying Terawih with your family every night or improving your knowledge of Islam. That way, when you have achieved a goal, you'll be motivated to do even more. We've rounded up a list of 11 simple goals you can achieve this Ramadan.
P.S. Here are 10 ways to remember Allah even when you're busy!
3. Do ibadah with your family
Perhaps the biggest difference of spending Ramadan at home is the chance to do more ibadah at home with your family as you're spending more time with them. If you're usually so caught up in your busy schedules during Ramadan and don't have enough time for your family, this is the best time to change that. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
"The best of you is the one who is best to his own family, and I am the best of you towards my family."(Sunan At-Tirmidhî, Sunan Ibn Mâjah)
Even though you can't perform congregational prayers at the mosque, you can still do your daily prayers and Terawih as a family. Better still, have Quran reading sessions, dhikr, make dua or even perform Qiyamulail together during the last 10 nights of Ramadan. What's great is that you have greater flexibility in how much ibadah you want to do and can even learn together as a family. At the end of the day, this is an opportunity to focus on what matters most to you - your trust in Allah, family and all the little things you usually take for granted.
4. Recite the Quran and internalise it
One of the things that many Muslims strive to do during Ramadan is to recite the Quran. The Quran is a great source of spiritual healing and can help calm your mind and soul, especially in this period. After all, the Quran was revealed in Ramadan and reading it during the holy month is a way of reminding ourselves that it is a source of blessing and guidance for mankind. It is also a symbol of Allah's mercy.
While some of you might challenge yourself to finish reciting the Quran in the 30 days of Ramadan, don't beat yourself up if you can't. Abdullah Ibn Masud narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“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 ayahs of the Quran. It can be just 1 ayah, or a whole surah at a time, but as time goes on these small efforts will help build your confidence and comfort.
Since you're not spending time at the mosque this Ramadan, it's the perfect opportunity for you to reflect and internalise the meaning of the Quran rather than just listen to it in prayer. It is the Sunnah of the Prophet to study the Quran with Jibril nightly. If you feel like you don't know where to start, try dissecting the meaning of Al-Fatihah first as it's one of the most powerful surahs and one that we recite every day in our prayers ? If you'd like, you can also start a Quran journal to help you better internalise the meaning of the Quran. Check out our guide to Quran journaling here.
5. Perfect your everyday ibadah
While you strive to increase your acts of worship during Ramadan, one of the things that you should continue to do during Ramadan is to perfect your everyday ibadah, such as the 5 obligatory prayers. As one of the 5 pillars in Islam, prayer is the most direct communication we have with Allah. It washes away our sins and shields us from evil. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said,
“When any one of you stands to pray, he is communicating with his Lord, so let him pay attention to how he speaks to Him.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
As you're praying at home, what you can strive to do is to be more mindful of Allah during your prayers. Put your phone and other distractions aside (or on airplane mode) and be fully present and focus on your prayers. Remember that you are standing before Allah.
You can also make sure that you're doing the movements and positions correctly, as well as reciting the fardh recitations such as Al-Fatihah properly without mumbling or rushing. It may add some time to your prayers, but as prayer is a time when we're having a conversation with God, we should strive to perfect it as He sees all. If your struggle is praying on time or even completing the 5 prayers, then this is the best time to improve that ?
6. Make use of technology
Can't go to the mosque for religious lectures or classes? No problem! If there's anything that this pandemic taught us, it's the fact that humans are made to adapt. Whether it's working from home or cooking more for ourselves, many of us have had to make significant changes to our lives. This includes being exposed to new ways of performing our ibadah and gaining knowledge, such as making use of technology.
There are plenty of online classes and lectures available, from Quran recitation classes to Islamic studies courses. Whether it's podcasts like Muslim Central or Quran recitation apps, find a topic that you enjoy listening to or an activity to do to improve your knowledge of Islam. Many asatizah in Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of the world have also gone online to conduct their religious classes and Q&A sessions. Check out this list of 8 free online Islamic classes compiled by Muslim SG!
7. Opportunity to cook healthier meals
If you've been cooking more at home since the COVID-19 outbreak started, perhaps Ramadan is the time to change your eating habits. In past years, you might have constantly broken fast outside or indulged in delicious treats at the Ramadan bazaars. While this is not wrong, most of us tend to overindulge or eat unhealthy food when we are eating outside.
But if you've been preparing your meals more often during this period, take this chance to learn to cook more healthy and delicious recipes. Not eating unhealthy or junk food will mean that you won't be sluggish in performing your ibadah like Tarawih prayers. Plus, if you are preparing your own meals, you have the ability to cut down on salty, fatty or sugary food which might leave you excessively tired or thirsty when you're fasting. Besides that, you will also be able to control the portions that you eat and this means, you won't overeat and gain unnecessary weight ?
#HHWT Tip: Check out these 8 easy tips for a healthier fast.
8. Help others while you can
One of the values of Ramadan is charity and helping those who are in need. You might not be able to go down to volunteer your services physically to the underprivileged but thanks to technology, you can donate even a small amount to help change someone else's life.
Organisations like UNHCR, Islamic Relief Worldwide, PERGAS Singapore, BAPA Singapore (and more) have organised various donation drives for the less privileged including iftar sponsorships for needy Muslim families. Not to mention that in Singapore, you can lend a helping hand to migrant workers who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through various avenues listed in this article. For those of you in Malaysia, you can check out this article to see how you can help fellow Malaysians during this difficult period.
Even if you might not have the means to help others through donations, simple acts of kindness at home can also be considered charity. It can be through easy ways like helping your parents do the groceries or ordering them online so they don't have to go out. Or perhaps you can even settle iftar meals or help to do the housework. If you are too caught up in your busy schedules and don't have time for any of these, simply making dua for your family or for others is also good enough.
We hope these 8 tips will help you make the most out of this Ramadan. There's no doubt that Ramadan this year is different from previous years but spending the holy month at home can also be an equally rewarding experience. May we all be blessed with goodness this Ramadan ❤️