Monday, October 14, 2013

Reaping the Rewards of Ramadan

Ramadan is the annual discount days that we get for stocking up hasanaat for our aakhirah. The rate is exceedingly profitable, so it is important to consider how best to use this opportunity for everyone in the family, especially the head of the household.

Like all limited time offers, proper time management is key. A daily schedule helps in keeping focus on what is important. Wasting valuable time by sleeping away the hours should be curtailed – rather sleep should be kept to the minimum. Watching TV should be limited to only those broadcasts that are truly beneficial, like live taraweeh broadcasts from the Haramain. Similarly, all Eid shopping should be out of the way in the beginning of Ramadan, so that the last ten days can be best utilized for worship.

Time should be reserved for personal and collective worship, throughout the day. This includes the daily adhkar, Quran recitation, qiyaam, congregational prayers, taraweeh, etc. The men of the family should encourage others to participate in worship and take them with them for collective worship. Even if young ones do not participate fully, just being in the masjid, while seeing worshippers pray together in the special Ramadan atmosphere leaves a lasting impact on their young hearts and minds.

Learning is another beneficial activity of that one should establish both at a personal as well as a family level. Personally, one can use Ramadan to memorize a portion of the Quran, or understand its meaning, or daily study some ahadith, The family can also learn together. Last Ramadan while walking to and from the masjid my son who was 6 then, memorized some surahs of Juz Amma, just by repeating after me. Older kids can be asked to research the background to these surahs and report back to the family when the family is together, e.g. while driving, sharing meals, etc. The younger ones can be asked to draw and color whatever they have heard.

Ramadan is also a time for sharing whether it be sharing food, clothes, wealth, knowledge, etc. Some may disagree, but I have found that rather than arrange and iftaar parties throughout the month for the rich, where people participate in food orgies and end up missing taraweeh prayers, it is better to supply food to less privileged members of society, e.g. the needy, students, bachelors, orphans, travelers, etc. Taking your kids with you for daily rounds of food distribution engenders a love of giving and an appreciation of the blessings they have in their lives. Projects can also be developed through zakat money which many Muslims choose to pay during this blessed month.

To free up time for all the above activities, it is important to keep food shopping, preparation, presentation and consumption to a minimum. A simple meal can suffice daily for futoor as well as suhoor. Husbands can help by doing groceries quickly using a shopping list at a less crowded time of the day and not picking faults in food presented to them.

Sons, husbands and fathers play a big role is helping to maximize the benefits of Ramadan for themselves and their families. A family which is properly led to utilize Ramadan time for worship, learning and charity can hope to achieve the real spiritual goals of this month.

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