Abu Bakr b. al-Warraq al-Balkhi said: “Rajab is the month to sow the seeds; Sha’ban is the month to irrigate the crop; Ramadan is the month to reap the harvest.”
From the above statement, we understand to enjoy the fruits in Ramadan, the planting starts in Rajab and is nurtured in Sha’ban.
Just like you can’t get up suddenly one day and run a marathon with no prior training, this is the same with Ramadan. You cannot just walk into Ramadan and expect to physically, mentally and spiritually be fit for it. It needs planning, preparation, and training.
It’s a complete misconception when we think that I will write up my Ramadan goal in the last week of Shaban and start executing these goals and plans in Ramadan as that is contradictory to Abu Bakr b. al-Warraq al-Balkhi’s statement. Ramadan is to reap the harvest not to start planting.
Here are some simple practical steps to start today:
Rajab – setting the ground and sowing the seeds.
- Set your personal goals for Ramadan.
- Set goals as a family.
- Start searching what changes you need to make in yourself.
- If you listen to music – now is the time to start cutting down.
- Inspect your social media to delete unnecessary feeds which may potentially be your distractions in Ramadan.
- Always strive to be better so reflect on your Ramadan last year and explore what you need to do to achieve an even better Ramadan this year, one of ehsaan.
- Re-kindle your relationship with the Quran – check your Quran, can you read it with ease or do you struggle with the text style and size? Do you need a new one? Do you have a good English translation of the Quran, do you need to download a Quran app. Remember Ramadan is the month of Quran.
- Begin now to start buying / ordering / borrowing / downloading any books of knowledge, dua books, Quran and any other resources that you will need.
- Start fasting Mondays and Thursdays or the 3 White Days (13, 14th and 15th of each Islamic month)
- Critically examine yourself and start letting go of sins, they are not serving you and are taking you further away from Allah. Begin your tauba and create discipline in your life, write up how this discipline will look like, what you need to do, how you need to do it – start now!
Sha’ban – Once you have done the above, the ground is ready, seeds are sown, now is the time to start watering them and nurtureing them.
- Start establishing a routine of reading some Quran daily and listening to it to and understanding the translation.
- List Duas you are weak on and start memorising them and learn their meaning.
- Now that you are establishing tauba for your sins, this is the time to let go of the memory of your sins so they cant trigger you ever again and return to Allah completely, creating discipline in your life.
- Mother’s – sit and start talking to your children about Ramadan, the change that is about to come into our lives – get their spirits going.
- Mother’s – start practicing Quran and Duas with your children and go through their Salah with them, after all, we all can make mistakes in Salah.
- Start creating timetables now, individual timetable and family timetables.
Ramadan – Now all the training, the prep is completed and you are ready to enter Ramdan in this spiritual state. The harvest is ready, pick your fruits, the more you sowed the more you will have.
Imagine you did not start in Rajab:
- You would not have been organised.
- You would not have had all the resources ready to read, recite and learn (Quran, Books, apps, downloads).
- You would not have known the Duas that you now know.
- You would not have had a plan.
- You would not have entered Ramdan with discipline and without sin
- You would not have known what you are seeking forgiveness for in Ramadan.
- You would go crashing into to Ramadan and exhaust yourself mentally, physically and spiritually and deflate.
- Very quickly and the memory of Ramadan would just be about the delicious samosas, falooda, and your struggle.