[If you haven’t yet, you should check out the previous post “The One Thing You Absolutely Must Do This Ramadan”]
If you’re having trouble choosing that one goal you want to achieve this Ramadan, then here are fifteen possible goals you could set to give you an idea of what’s possible. While you can absolutely do more than one, the idea is not to overwhelm yourself, because whichever goal you pick, the idea is to continue with it beyond Ramadan.
1- Memorize your favourite Sura
2- Recite Surat-ul Mulk every night before bed
3- Pray Rak’atanil Fajr (the two Sunna Rak’ats before Salat-ul Fajr)
4- Pray Salat-ul Duha
5- Pray the four (2 + 2) Sunna Rak’ats before Salat-ul Zuhr
6- Pray the two Sunna Rak’ats after Salat-ul Zuhr
7- Pray the four (2 + 2) Sunna Rak’ats before Salat-ul Asr
8- Pray the two Sunna Rak’ats after Salat-ul Magrib
9- Learn five new Rabbana Dua’s to incorporate into your after Salat Duas
10- Learn and start practicing the Dua’s for waking up and sleeping
11- Stop arguing even when you are right
12- Make it a habit to say one positive thing that is not a greeting to everyone you meet
13- Make Dhikr become second nature
14- Actively seek to make someone’s life better
15- When you find yourself having a negative conversation about someone, stop, change the topic or remember and say something positive about them instead
1- MEMORIZE YOUR FAVORITE SURA
Learning a new Sura often seems daunting, but it is easier than you think. As children learning the Quran was easy and fun, simply learn like children do and it will be easy and fun for you two. The tricks are simple; all you need to do is listen, repeat, listen, repeat, listen, repeat. You get the picture. What I like to do is put the Sura I want to memorize on a loop on my phone so that when I’m driving in the car or doing something in the Kitchen it’s playing in the background. That way I get to hear it with the right pronunciations and intonations. The second benefit is that it gets stuck in my subconscious like those annoying songs on the radio you can’t shake, the same thing happens when you listen to the same Sura over and over again. You’ll find yourself reciting random verses because you like the way they sound, or the way the reciter recited them.
The second trick I use is to choose the verses I want to learn first, depending on the length of the verse it could be anywhere from 3 to 4. Then I recite them over and over and over, usually with the meaning, as this helps me connect the dots. Then I don’t stop until I feel confident that I have fairly gotten them.
The third trick which I think of as the test drive is when I recite those verses in Salat. From then on, I recite them in every Raka’at of every prayer. This is when I know whether I have memorized them or not, and if I have, it helps seal them into my brain.
That’s it, once I feel confident with the verses I’ve learnt, I add another set, and I keep going. Each time in prayer I do all of them, so I don’t forget the previous ones I’ve learnt.
The final tip I have for you is this awesome app called Quran Companion that helps with memorization by keeping track of the verses you’ve memorized and providing you with daily prompts and reminders.
2- RECITE SURAT-UL MULK EVERY NIGHT BEFORE BED
Surat-ul Mulk is a special Sura in that it is said to intercede on behalf of the reciter on the day of Judgement until its reciter is forgiven by Allah. It is also said to serve as a protection from the punishment of the grave. Click here to read more about the benefits of reciting Surat-ul Mulk. Knowing all this, you would think every Muslim would recite it every night religiously. Unfortunately, life happens, we make excuses and the opportunities keep passing us by. So this Ramadan if you choose this goal and retain it beyond the blessed month then you would have achieved something incredible.
Pick a certain time to recite it, set an alarm if you must and make sure you read it. You can read it on your phone, your tablet or on a physical Quran. If you have memorized it then you can simply recite it to yourself before going to bed. The key is to remain consistent with the time so it becomes an ingrained habit that you will automatically feel incomplete without doing.
3-PRAY RAKA’ATANIL FAJR (THE TWO SUNNA RAKA’ATS BEFORE SALAT-UL FAJR)
The Blessed Prophet was reported to have said that Salat-ul Fajr is worth more than the whole world and everything in it. I am still trying to comprehend that statement. It would be an absolute tragedy to miss out on gaining something so valuable. So if, you have been content to simply pray all your Fard or obligatory Salat and feel like you will start doing the Sunna Raka’ats in the future, the future is now. Even if these two Raka’ats before Fajr are the only Sunna Raka’ats you ever do, then you would have succeeded.
These two Sunna Raka’ats are considered so important that you are even allowed to pray them after Salat-ul Fajr if you missed praying them beforehand. By ensuring that you pray them every morning either before or after Salat-ul Fajr, they will become a habit in no time. Click here and here to learn more about the value of these two Sunna Raka’ats.
4-PRAY SALAT-UL DUHA
Asides Raka’atanil Fajr and Shafi’ and Witr, Salat-ul Duha is perhaps the most valuable Sunna Prayer as praying it once the sun has risen after being seated since Salat-ul Fajr earns one the reward for performing Hajj or Umrah. This prayer is also known as the prayer of the Tawwabeen, or the prayer of the penitent. So even if you can’t remain seated after Salat-ul Fajr, incorporating it into your daily routine will earn you great rewards. Its time begins after sunrise and ends about fifteen minutes before Salat-ul Dhuhr.
Again, the best strategy is to pick a fixed time and stick to it. If the early morning time is too hard for you then commit to making it to the Masjid early enough before Dhuhr that you can pray it. Just tell yourself you’re going for Umrah or Hajj every day; that should serve as a great motivator! Click here to read more of the benefits of praying Salat-ul Duha.
5 – 8 PRAY OTHER SUNNA PRAYERS
While the Sunna prayer for Raka’atanil Fajr is the most important of all the Sunna prayers, all the others are very valuable as well. The second most important Sunna prayers are Shafi’ and Witr. However, I did not add them to the list as in Ramadan we pray them during Jami’ prayers after Tarawih and so the only way you can incorporate them into your daily routine is by starting to perform them after Ramadan. So while I don’t mention them in this list which is Ramadan specific, do not underestimate their importance. The person who prays Shafi’ and Witr is rewarded as if they had stayed up the whole night praying.
The reason I separated each Sunna Salat as a separate item is because the aim is to pick only one thing to aspire to achieve by the end of Ramadan. Offcourse if you feel able to add them all, then by all means, go ahead! However, the danger in trying to do too much at once, is that you may fail, become overwhelmed and give up. Also, the idea is not to just to perform the desired goal in Ramadan, but to retain it beyond the blessed month.
So pick the Sunna Prayer that’s best for you and work on it. I find that the Sunna prayers after Salat are easiest for me because immediately I finish the Fard or Obligatory Prayer I get up and perform the Sunna. To the point that it has become so ingrained, that I occasionally forget and get up after Salat-ul Asr to perform a Sunna prayer (Oops!). The key is to take theses thirty days and get your mind and body used to performing these Sunna prayers that after Ramadan you won’t need to think about whether you should do them or not, you will simply find yourself doing them. Much like the Tahiyat-ul Masjid (The two Rak’ats you are required to perform upon entering the Masjid before you sit down.), you will find you are unable to sit down in a Masjid until you perform the two Rak’ats.
In sha Allah,there will be more tips and details about the rest of the ideas on the list in Part 2. Meanwhile, if you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments section. Till then, may the peace and blessings of Allah be with you.