My Individual Plan for Ramadan
At its very core, Ramadan is about a personal journey of reflection, introspection and worship. As it has been indicated in a Hadith Qudsi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says:
Fasting is Mine and it I who give reward for it. [A man] gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for my sake. Fasting is like a shield, and he who fasts has two joys: a joy whin he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The change in the breath of the mouth of him who fasts is better in Allah’s estimation than the smell of musk.
Thus Ramadan is the only act of worship that is hidden between the individual and his/her Creator. God only knows whether an individual has kept his/her fast or not.
Hence the key aspect to a successful Ramadan is to plan for it. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Like anything that is done nowadays, a plan is essential. Like one plans on a weekly basis for work, it is essential that one plans for Ramadan. A plan should be comprehensive but at the end of the day it should also be realistic so as to ensure that you can follow it and do not become too disappointed if you are not able to fully stick to it.
So the first thing in the plan is to actually write it down. You are more likely to follow it if it is written down and is in front of you every day.
Ask yourself: What would I like to have achieved at the end of Ramadan? Where would I like to be in terms of my spiritual and personal development? What would I count as a success at the end of Ramadan?Once you have started to think about this, then it will help you then to devise some sort of strategy for Ramadan and answer the following questions:
• Spiritual perspective: How many times will I pray tarawih at the mosque? How many sections of the qur’an can I read on a daily/weekly basis? How many times will I perform tahajjud / qiyam? Will I memorise any new surahs during this month? Will I read sections of the Qur’an in English? Will I pray in different mosques during Ramadan in order to appreciate the sense of community within the Muslim community?
• Personal perspective: Will I try and be ethical in what I purchase and read? Will I try and avoid having negative thoughts? Perhaps I shall use a penny jar to put coins in every time I think of something negative which will be later given to charity.
• Intellectual perspective: What will I read this Ramadan? Will I learn about Islam and its history?
• Health Perspective: What will I eat this Ramadan? Will I aim to eat healthy in order not only to lose weight but also to be in solidarity with those people who do not have enough to eat?
• Community Perspective: Will I try and limit the use of the car and walk / use public transport in order to limit the pollution?
• Family perspective: How will I spend the time with my friends, family and loved ones?
A wise man once said, ‘Between every stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and happiness.’
Such is the meaning of profound spirituality . Close to the Quran’s light, its words and inspirations, we must comprehend the message: You are indeed what you do with yourself. You are responsible for the actions you take.
Hence Ramadan is ultimately about developing a much more closer and personal relationship with God.Source: http://www.paths2people.com/2011/07/31/my-individual-plan-for-ramadan/