Planning for the Holy Month of Ramadhan

“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will attain Taqwa” [Holy Quran, 2:183]

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Introduction
We plan for everything: studies, meetings, parties, conferences, games and what not, so why not make a plan for the Holy Month of Ramadhan? Planning very often helps us in completing the tasks that we have foreplanned ahead and so planning for the holiest month of the calender should always be done. Especially when the rewards of the tasks to be performed are enormous & beyond one’s imagination! Best month!

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When to Start
So where to start? Far in advance of course. When does the month of Ramadhan officially start? It is a great misconception that Ramadhan starts after the announcement on state TV that the moon has been sighted. That is just the CONFIRMATION that the month of Ramadhan has started.
Because from Islamic viewpoint, the new day starts at Maghrib time. So even if the announcement of the sighting of the moon is made one or two hours after Maghrib, or late into the night, this means that one or two prayers of the Holy Month have already been offered (Maghrib and maybe even Isha). This is why sometimes the moon is sighted very early after sunset and so Taraveeh prayers are offered that same night after Isha prayers before starting fasting the next day. So if one has missed these prayers thinking that Ramadhan has not started yet, he has already started with a loss!
So, to avoid this mistake, plan ahead to start prayers regularly (if one is not praying before) on the eve of the 29th of Shabaan. So if the announcement of Ramadhan is made on a Friday night, it means Ramadhan officially started at Maghrib prayers on Friday and first fast shall be on Saturday. However if it is announced that the moon has not been sighted, then Ramadhan will start at Maghrib prayers on Saturday and the first fast shall be on Sunday.

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Prayers including Taraveeh
So first plan basically, from the discussion above, is that one should pray all the prayers regularly, on time and for men they should be praying in the Mosque. Besides one should pray the Taraweeh prayers (sunnah mu’akkidah) 8 rakaat or 20 rakaat, again women at home and men in the mosque. Unfortunately there is rare arrangement for women to pray in mosques in Pakistan except Faisal Mosque and a few others).

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Plan to Fast whole month
Plan: Make intention for fasting the whole month of Ramadhan. If one makes intention, then Allah makes it easy for His servant. But if someone is already intending to fast some days and not fast other days, then it will become difficult for him to fast any single day. So one should learn the “dua” (prayers) for opening and closing the fast beforehand as well learn as many othe prayers as possible for reciting during the holy month.

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Recitation of Holy Quran
Plan: Read the whole Quran during the month at least once WITH MEANING. Yes that’s right, with meaning & even with commentary if possible. For although reading without understanding itself carries a lot of reward, reading the Holy Quran with understanding multiplies the reward manifold insha Allah! This month allows an opportunity for you to read & understand what Allah has written to you in the Holy Quran!

Increase Good Deeds and Refrain from evil deeds
Plan : Increase time for doing pious deeds as possible during the month. Cut off time from entertainment (TV, net ect) and replace with other more rewarding deeds like Islamic literature, Islamic lectures etc, especially during fasting time (before Iftari). But this does not mean entertainment becomes allowed after Iftari!
Plan : This plan should be pinned with plan 1. Avoid sins, evil deeds, evil talk. An hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting).”[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 127]
Plan : Try to arrange Iftar for poor, relatives, friends, for local Mosque, whatever little one can. However it should not be for showing off.

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Ramadhan sins

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Increase in Charity
Plan : Pay as much Sadaqah and remaining Zakat as one can during this month as again rewards will inshaAllah be many fold multiplied if intentions and wealth are pure.

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I’tikaaf
Plan: If one has the time & resources, one should plan for I’tikaaf during the last 9-10 nights of Ramadhan, in home for women and men have to stay in the mosque. It can also be 3, 5 or 7 nights if one cant stay 10 nights. Again this should not be done for showing off.
Plan: Night time prayers in the last 10 nights of Ramadhan especially the odd nights, to get the special reward of “Laila-tul-Qadr” worth 1000 (unlimited) months of good deeds.

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Pray Pray Pray
Plan: Pray for the deceased, for the sick, for your family & friends, for yourself and last but the least pray for Muslims around the world and for PAKISTAN! One should pray earnestly for the survival of the biggest pillar of Islam!

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A most loved dua of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) during Ramadhan:–

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Spread Message of Peace (Islam)
Plan: Spread the message of Islam to as many people as possible. If one is a facebook addict, this is the least one can do on facebook! This includes encouraging family members-brothers, sisters, parents, wife, children, relatives, friends towards good deeds and forbidding evil.

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Ultimate Aim: Attainment of Taqwa

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All this planning and heartily acting upon these plans will inshaAllah lead to “Taqwa”-Fear of God” which is the ultimate aim of fasting. Many men and women become totally transformed after the Holy Month of Ramadhan after following the plans outlined above.

Make Post-Ramadhan Resolutions

This month comes every year, giving us a chance to reform ourselves and become Newborn Muslims. We should make intention to reform in this Ramadhan, and make some resolutions to be acted upon after Ramadhan, for only Allah knows whether we may live to see another Ramadhan.

For example:

Continue to pray 5 times in the mosque

Continue to read Holy Quran daily

Continue to learn more about Islam

Continue to give donations in form of Sadqah & Zakah

Continue to tell the truth and avoid telling lies

Continue to say nice things etc

May Allah help us in planning for the Holy Month and reforming ourselves during this Holy month. Ameen!

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