Tomorrow marks the beginning of Ramadan, celebrated by 7 million Muslims around the world. I have been busy preparing for the month-long fast, which consists of abstaining from food, drink, intercourse, and other otherwise permissible deeds from dawn until dusk to learn self-restraint as an act of worship in Islam.
Here are some tips I use before and during Ramadan.
5 Things to Do Before Ramadan:
- Buy groceries/household items ahead of time: The kids’ dry snacks, cereal, condiments, frozen foods, and ingredients needed during Ramadan in a Bangladeshi American home such as lentils, black peas, Basmati rice, ghee, chicken, meat, fish, etc. If you’re planning to give iftar, or food which is consumed while breaking fast, buy Tupperware/styrofoam boxes/aluminum trays.
- Pre-package materials which can be frozen: I soak, boil, cool down and pre-packaged sandwich bags of black peas (chana), biryani-spiced meats, and vegetables. Make samosas and other ready to fry foods.
- Purchase Eid clothes and gifts.
- Cut up onions and put them in a sealed air-tight container to use up to two weeks (or more) to use throughout Ramadan. Make ginger and garlic paste and refrigerate for later use.
- Do as much laundry as possible. Put it away neatly for easy access and use.
- Create a prayer (dua list) to seek special prayers for your family, friends, and others. Here’s a starter: The Ultimate Ramadan Dua List!
- Create Ramadan goals which are achievable such as reading Quran for 15 min. a day after Sehri while the kids are still asleep vs. reading Quran at 7 PM when the kids are tugging at your sleeve.
- Make a mock schedule of your daily Ramadan activities. Aim to complete three goals daily (more or less).
- Organize an iftar schedule when you’d like to give others iftar. Consider preparing iftar during times when you’re not fasting, such as when women are on their period or in postpartum.
- Swap activities for yourself and the kids during Ramadan with something “better” such as watching Ramadan/Islamic themed cartoons or reading Ramadan-themed books. I enjoy watching short inspirational videos with my kids such as: Quran Weekly, the Inspiration Series, and other spiritual related videos on HalalTube.
- Have a buddy system of other parents who will check up on you and make sure you’re still sane! (Ahem, you know who you are!)
- Take naps whenever possible! Expect getting scratched and being woken up by a kid jumping on top of you.
- Take care of your kids’ needs, but also teach them to do age-appropriate chores and tasks. Ex. My kids know how to pour themselves cereal, however, I may set out bowls spoons and the cereal ahead of time for them before breakfast.
- Incorporate Ramadan into the daily activities, such as reading books about Ramadan, give charity, or allow the kids to help prepare iftar. We recently purchased a few fun books, “Alana’s Bananas,” “Zaid and the Gigantic Cloud” and “The Adventures of Malik and Ameerah (Activity Book)” to read. I use the Muslim Pro app to easily access Quran and daily duas. Last year, I used the app Ramadan Legacy to motivate and encourage me to do good deeds. Productive Muslim also has a vast wealth of tools, charts, and advice for Ramadan.
- Put the kids to bed at a bedtime. Parents, sleep, eat, and pray at that time. Check out tips on getting sleep here.
P.S. Breathe. You got this!