Taleem Institute

Ramadan is a time where Muslims all over the world refrain from food, drink, and physical relations during daylight hours. While most people tend to focus on the food aspect of Ramadan, this holy month is a great opportunity for Muslims to transcend animalistic needs and instincts and focus on spiritual growth.

Here are some tips that make your Ramadan a truly special month!

Avoid Negative People

We all have toxic people in our lives. They are the people who are naysayers, make fun of your goals, or plain don’t like you. Well, try to avoid those types of people this Ramadan. Not only will it make you happier, but there is also a bonus of avoiding the huge sin of backbiting. It will also help you hunker down and focus on achieving your goals for Ramadan too.

Eat Suhoor (pre-fasting meal before dawn)

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Researchers have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. Can you imagine the benefits of eating a nice balanced suhoor before you embark on your fast? Eating suhoor ensures you will have the energy to face the day of fasting and free your mind to reflect on deeper thoughts.

Have a Plan

While these tips are generally helpful, we should all have specific goals in mind for Ramadan. Is it to complete the Quran? Pray every night of tarawih at the masjid? Whatever your goal may be, make sure to map out a plan of success. For example, if you want to complete the Quran, break up the Quran into blocks each day to read. If you want to be at the masjid every night, make sure you plan out your meals and arrange for things in your home to be taken care of. Whatever your plan is, ask for help so that you can reach your Ramadan goals inshallah.

Avoid Idle Talk and Engage in Dhikr

Take this month of Ramadan do avoid chit chats and rather focus on the tasks you need to attend to. This does not mean to be unfriendly but avoid unnecessary conversations. This allows you to stay focused on what you need to accomplish and efficient in your tasks which is an ideal win-win deal! Doing dhikr also keeps remembrance of Allah close at hand too.

Go Easy on Iftar (post-fast meal)

While it’s normal to want to binge eat after you break your fast, try to avoid overindulging. While traditional foods for breaking fast are deep-fried, just eat a few dates and drink some milk. This way you can pray without having a bloated belly! After that, you can try some light protein with a few veggies. That way, you get healthy nutrients, and you can avoid losing lean muscle mass.

Quran is widely in use during Ramadan, but also a sad truth is that it sometimes is only in use during Ramadan. Quran is a guidance for life, solace for all souls, the medicine for all ailments; the only book that speaks of mankind in depths we perceive not!

It is of utmost necessity that we enjoin the habit of reciting the Quran not just in the Holy Month but also thereafter throughout our complete life.

Here are 5 tips to help us do just that, inshaAllah:

#1 Sincere Intention:

Let us begin with sincere intentions. Take a minute out and just sit and think why you want to do this. Purify your intention and do it only for the pleasure and love of Allah Subhanahuwataala.

Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended…”

{Bukhari & Muslim}

#2 Read with Translation: Many of us feel that we cannot talk to Allah. We feel as if this conversation is always one-sided since we cannot hear Him. Well, here is the answer to your plea. Read the Quran and read it with meaning. Don’t just blindly rant the words in Arabic but rather feel them by understanding what Allah is telling you.
I wouldn’t say it is pointless reading the Quran without understanding because you do get rewarded for each letter you read in Arabic.[1] But yes, if you pick up the Quran every time and read it without feeling or understanding anything, then you probably will never be able to build companionship with the Quran.

Think of it this way- what do you desire most in a companion? Wouldn’t one of the qualities be that they understand you? In the same way, for you to be a companion of the Quran you need to understand it. Without it, the relationship becomes baseless. For this reason, it is important to read the Quran with its meaning. Pick a translation that you are comfortable with and follow it as you recite the Quran.

One way of doing this would be to read the first verse from the translation and then recite the same verse in Arabic. This way, you would know what you are reading, which in turn would help you recite the Quran with passion, bringing out emotions from your heart you never expected. You would also get tremendous rewards for every letter you recite in Arabic.

#3 Take time to read tafsir:

“(This is) a book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember.”
{Surah Saad 38: Verse 29}

The next step in strengthening this companionship would be to understand the Quran better by reading its tafsir.
Suppose I make a simple statement like ‘XYZ did the right thing’. My statement is quite ambiguous until you know who XYZ is, what the characteristics that define XYZ are, under what circumstances am I making such a statement – good or bad.
In the same way, when you come across a verse in the Quran, you may not be able to understand what Allah is trying to tell until you have an understanding of the background and the context in which the verse was revealed. For this reason, it is important to read the tafsir of the Quran.
It would be advisable to start small and as you build the habit, you can increase the verses you read with tafsir. For starters, read it for the verse that you are unable to understand. You could also listen to audios which will help you grasp the concept better, rather than reading it from the book; whichever you find easier.
Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan has a complete cover to cover the tafsir of the Quran course on TV, which I personally love. You also have the tafsir by Dr. Israr Ahmed available in Urdu. So, do your research and find the audios/videos of the tafsir that you can connect with and listen to it and read the Quran.

#4 The Quran Group: If you sense difficulty in following up with the Quran regularly on your own, then another idea would be to create a support group. Be it on WhatsApp, Facebook or just in real life.

 

 This way, you will be able to keep track of your progress. It is also a great way to motivate you on the days you are down, forcing you to pick up the Quran and keep you going inshaAllah. I recently read a detailed article explaining how you can do this on Productive Muslim which you can refer to.

#5 Be Consistent: Remember Allah loves consistency. If needed, stick to just one verse a day in the beginning but be consistent by reading it every day. This will build a habit until it becomes impossible for you to let even a day go by without picking up the Quran inshaAllah. As research shows, it takes 21 days to build a habit, so what better time to start this than in the month of the Quran! SubhanaAllah.
So let this Ramadan be the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the book of Allah, inshaAllah! May Allah open our hearts to understanding the Quran and make it our companion in this life and hereafter. Ameen

It is Ramadan and parents are proud when our school kids are observing the fast. But as parents are it not our obligation to make our kid’s school administrators, teachers, and classmates aware of this fasting so that negates many misconceptions and also enlightens them on the importance of this month?

By sharing Ramadan with their school administrators and friends, Muslim children feel less awkward identifying themselves as Muslims, since someone in a position of authority has discussed their beliefs. As a result, children often feel more confident and secure.

Muslim children need to feel the importance of their own celebrations and holidays, especially since we are living in a non-Muslim environment where kids don’t see fancy lights and decorations, commercial adverts, or consistent reminders of the “holiday season” during Ramadan.

Talking to your child’s class about Ramadan is a great way to make Dawa to non-Muslim kids and Muslim kids as well, in particular those who may come from non-practicing Muslim families.

There are a couple of tips to keep in mind when approaching the school or your child’s teachers about presenting, as well as for how you present the information to the child’s class.

Tip #1: Start early

Calling your child’s teacher in the middle of Ramadan asking to do a presentation on the topic is too late. Before Ramadan is the best time to bring up the issue, especially considering Christmas is coming up and holidays are on the minds of most people, teachers, and students included. Starting early also helps you think about and gather the right materials to make a good presentation.

Tip #2: Get permission from your child’s teacher

While parents do have a lot of clout in the school system, this does not allow them to show up unexpectedly one day at their son or daughter’s class to do a presentation on Ramadan. Send a note explaining Ramadan and giving a general indication that you want something done about Ramadan. Then wait for the teacher to call. If he or she does not do so within a week, call them, and tell them you are following up on the letter you sent earlier.

Tip #3: Select the right period in which to do the presentation

Does your child study Social Studies? Or does he or she have a period once a week for Moral and Religious education? If so, suggest to the teacher that you would like to do the presentation during these periods. Or, you can of course ask the teacher if he or she has ideas about which time would be best to come in and do the presentation.

Tip #4: Be polite but firm

A good idea is to read the book once and reflect on reading for a few days. Then re-read it again; usually in the second and third readings are discovered details that previously went unnoticed. A book can deal with many topics. The essay cannot be extremely extensive and confusing and address several issues at once. In the essay, less is more. All novels, no matter their subject, deal with many subjects, and offer many possibilities. You can choose a particular character or the historical moment of the author and how it is reflected in the work. Anything that has leaped into view during the reading may be a potential topic for writing the essay. There are many ways to do good brainstorming or brainstorming as it is known in English. The new generations do not usually resort to paper and pencil, but these tools lend themselves to create a diagram that can help at the time of writing. On a sheet of paper write the central theme you want to discuss. For example, the recurrent appearance of a particular symbol in the novel, or the use of certain language by some characters and a different one by others. Maybe you want to deal with the theme of nature in history or perhaps the difficulties that motherhood presents to one of the characters. From the central theme, you want to develop, write short sentences that summarize ideas that you can develop later that topic.

Speaking nicely to people is part of our Deen, including non-Muslims. We should remember that the purpose of this exercise is to not just educate the students, but the teachers as well. Being polite and courteous will not detract from your desire to present. It will serve to build bridges and communication and could lead to further opportunities to present on other Islam-related topics and more teacher-parent cooperation in the future, InshAllah.

Tip #5: Ask the teacher what areas to cover and how long it should be

This helps to adjust your presentation to the age-level of the students, as well as connect it to what they are already learning. This does not mean you can’t bring in other information but knowing what to cover from the teacher helps you include what information needs to be included. From that point, you can develop more material on these or related topics. Asking how long the presentation should be can also help you decide how much information to include in your presentation.

Tip #6: Read, prepare, read, prepare

Now that you have gotten the permission, do not just sit back and wait for the night before the presentation to put it together.

Remember, if you want to appeal to the students, especially younger ones, you are going to need more than just a talk. Visuals are a great help. You can get a Ramadan banner, children’s books that feature pictures of Muslims fasting, play a song in English about Ramdan (like Dawud Wharnsby Ali’s We’ve Scanned The Sky), or show part of a video aimed at children about Ramadan. To get the right material, you will have to find out where to get it from, and ordering it might take a couple of weeks.

Preparing is important, even though you may have fasted all your life and think you know all about Ramadan. Get a children’s Islamic book and read what it says about Ramadan. Or an article was written by a teenager about Ramadan. This will also help you understand what points to emphasize in your presentation.

Reading and researching will also clarify any incorrect cultural norms that may have seeped into the practice of Ramadan which you may not have been aware of. Talk to a knowledgeable Muslim for advice as well.

Tip #7: Talk to your son or daughter about the presentation

Who would know what amuses, entertains, and educates the kids in the class better than your son or daughter? Consult them about what to include, what the kids like, what kind of things they are interested in. Not only will this improve your presentation, Insha Allah, but it will also make Ameena or Saeed feel important and more confident as individuals, and as Muslims.

Tip #8: A few days before the presentation

Call the teacher to check the date and time of the schedule. This will serve to remind him or her about your visit and prepare the class accordingly.

Tip #9: Write presentation points on note cards

Reading off papers about Ramadan will not hold the interest of many people, young or old. Instead, writing brief notes on note cards that you can look at so you don’t miss any topic will help you avoid straying from the subject while allowing you to make eye contact with your audience and maintain a conversational style of presentation.

Tip #10: Practice your presentation in front of your son/daughter

Practicing helps you identify what can be improved, changed, or omitted. Practicing in front of Ameena will give you the opportunity to present before one of the kids in the class who can really give you the best advice. It will also help you time your presentation, so you can make it shorter or longer.

Tip #11: Dress for success

This does not mean pulling out the Armani suit or the most expensive dress you have. It just means looking like a Muslim should-clean, respectable, professional, and Islamically covered. Clothes don’t always “make the man” but they do affect others’ perception of you.

Tip #12: Be early

Teachers and students are busy people. They have a certain curriculum to cover. The fact that they have squeezed in your presentation is somewhat of a privilege. Do not take advantage of this by wasting their time by coming late. And anyways, Muslims should be on time as a principle. Coming early can also help you set up audiovisual material if you have any.

Tip #13: Make Dua…

Before your presentation, ask Allah to help you convey this message sincerely, properly, and clearly. And say Bismillah.

Tip #14: Speak calmly and clearly

It is important not to race through the presentation, nor to talk too slowly. A clear, conversational style, but the emphasis on the major points or terms you want the students to understand can help convey the message properly.

Tip #15: When answering questions

If you do not know something, say so. Then check up on it and get back to the teacher. Ask him or her to convey the response.

Tip #16: Thank Allah…

for this opportunity, He blessed you with and your ability to go through with it.

Tip #17: Send a thank you note to the teacher and class…

thanking them for their time and attention, as well as their cooperation

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