Ramadan

Ramadan Tafseer Series

Ramadan Tafseer Series

This Ramadan I will be doing a LIVE Tafseer every morning after Fajr at 6 am (GMT +2). You can access the full series on my YouTube Channel. Above is the first episode in the series, focusing on verse 2 of Surah Al-Baqarah.

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Why Your Ramadan Resolutions Don’t Work

Why Your Ramadan Resolutions Don’t Work

Ramadan 1440 AH is just four weeks away. The internet is filling up with blog posts, videos, courses and social media posts on how to get the best out of Ramadan.

But something isn’t right. No matter how many Ramadans go by, and how many of these videos you watch and articles you read, things just don’t change.

You feel like the some person you were before Ramadan began. And it is really bugging you out.

This may be the reason why you are unable to make your Ramadan Resolutions work.

Ramadan 2019

You are setting the bar too high

I get it. You want to be the best Muslim possible. You want to be perfect and sinless. We all do. But it isn’t humanly possible. Sooner or later, you will slip up and err.

So when you set your Ramadan goal as ‘never commit a sin ever again’, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The truth is that as a human being, you will make mistakes, you will err, and you will fall short at times. If you expect perfection from yourself, you will never be able to achieve that goal in this life.

Instead try this: set a realistic goal like giving up one specific sin or adding one specific good deed to your life. This is specific and measurable enough that you can stick to it for life.

Ramadan 1440

You try to accomplish too much in one month.

We often overestimate what we can accomplish in the month of Ramadan. And we underestimate how much we can accomplish in our lifetime.

Sometimes, you can get so excited about Ramadan and goal setting that you try to cram too much into it. You plan to read 10 books, study the Tafseer of the entire Quran, pray Taraweeh every night, recite the entire Quran 10 times, donate $10000 in charity, and spend two hours every night in Qiyam Al-Layl.

After three days, you will be burned out and give up.

Instead, set moderate practical goals. Understand your limits and set your goals accordingly. Do not overburden yourself. It is better to focus on two or three practical goals, than ten impossible goals.

So pace yourself and make sure you schedule some downtime during Ramadan as well.

Ramadan Goals

You limit your goals to Ramadan only

Personal growth is a life-long process. Ramadan may give us a super-charge but it cannot be the only time of the year we spend trying to be better people. That needs to be a life long commitment.

If you set goals for Ramadan, and forget to follow up on them after Ramadan, you will not experience long-term change. Long-term change comes from working on yourself all year round.

If you set a goal to recite 1 Juz of Quran every night of Ramadan, then also commit to 10 minutes of Quran daily for the rest of the year. This is manageable and will help you maintain your spiritual level throughout the year.

Summary

We tend to fail at our Ramadan goals because we set goals that are too high, too many, and restricted to Ramadan. If we instead aim at realistic goals, restrict the number of goals, and keep working on them all year round, then we will experience more meaningful growth during Ramadan.

To learn more about preparing for Ramadan, sign up for our free course here.

Ramadan Course
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New Free Course: Ramadan Reminders

Ramadan Reminders

Ramadan Reminders

Islamic Self Help presents an exciting new free course: Ramadan Reminders.

In this free course, we will be publishing a new video every day in Ramadan 2017.

Each video will cover a summarized Tafseer of an important Surah of the Quran.

Join the course today to gain access to all the videos.

This course comes with the following bonuses:
#1: Free eBook – Verse of the Day Collection
#2: Links to our Ramadan Articles
#3: YouTube Ramadan Webinar Series

NOTE: This course is still in development and a new video will be released every day during the month of Ramadan!

Access the course for free here: http://courses.islamicselfhelp.com/p/ramadan-reminders

Other courses by Islamic Self Help

Islamic Self Help offers a variety of excellent courses to help you grow professionally. These include:

  1. 20 Personal Development Tips
  2. 5 Time Management Tips
  3. 8 Fundamentals of Public Speaking
  4. Self-Publishing Your Books
  5. Homeschooling For Success

What students are saying about our courses:

“I was usually late to most places I go. Everyone used to make fun of me and I couldn’t fix myself. Wherever I used to go late I used to think afterward what did I do wrong and what I should not do. I thought in this life I still have another chance to improve but if I end up loosing my time in this world then in next life there is no chance to fix the lose. I wanted to change myself but didn’t know how.

Once I have talked to my brother about my concern he gave me the link to this course. I liked it because it is by Muslim scholar and he made many points from Quran and Sunnah. This course not only gives tips about time management but also tells to prioritize things like reading and spending quality time with your family. I referred this to my brother and sister too.” – Saima Yusaf

Alhamdulillah, this is the third course I am taking at Islamic Self Help and really enjoying it. I never thought I would have the patience to write a complete book mainly because I didn’t know the sequence and details so it is a big help and encouragement for me. The steps are very detailed, clearly explained and easy to follow and provide valuable information on the whole process of writing and self-publishing. Insha Allah with the help of this course I will be able to publish my first eBook in 2017 and maybe even two or three.” – Muna Bushra

“Brother Ismail takes us through practical and step-by-step pathway backed by real life examples to have the courage to tread the path. While pointing out chronic loopholes in conventional education system, he strikes a great balance between excitement and challenges of homeschooling.” (Bela Khan – Life Coach/Homeschooler)

Join Islamic Self Help today and begin your journey of personal development.

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7 ways to improve the quality of your Taraweh

Taraweh Article

7 ways to improve the quality of your Taraweh

In our previous Ramadan article, we discussed how to set realistic goals for Ramadan. Today, I want to share with you a few tips on how to improve the quality of your Taraweh Salah.

For too many of us, Taraweh has become a ritual that we just try to get through. A lack of concentration and understanding, combined with rushed prayer lead many to have an unfulfilling experience. However, there are many people who really benefit from the night prayer in Ramadan.

These Muslim experience higher levels of spirituality, closeness to Allah, and a deeper connection with the Quran.

How do they do it?

I have summarized this in seven simple tips that any of us can implement this Ramadan. Applying even one of these seven strategies will help you improve the quality of your Qiyam Al-Layl this Ramadan.

1. Renew Your Intention Daily

Any act of worship can become a ritual if we do not check our intentions daily. So the first step to keeping Taraweh relevant is to remind yourself everyday why you are praying it. Remind yourself every single day on the way to the Masjid: “I am praying Taraweh for the sake of Allah to improve my relationship with Allah and His Book.”

A daily reminder about why we pray goes a long way in helping us pray properly.

2. Choose the right Masjid

In some Masjids, the Imams treat Taraweh as a ritual to rush and complete in record time. As a result, the Quran is rushed through, Salah is prayed too fast to be considered acceptable, and nobody really benefits.

But there also exist Masjids in which Taraweh is treated with respect. The Imam recites with proper Tajweed, at a moderate pace, and still completes in a decent time. Choose these masjids over the former for a better experience.

Last resort, if you can’t find a Masjid where they pray properly then consider praying at home alone, or with family and friends. It is better than rushing through the prayer at super-speed.

3. Read the translation

Before heading to the Masjid for Taraweh, browse through the translation of some of the verses that the Imam will be reciting that day. This will help you concentrate better in the Salah and get more benefit from the Salah. Read the translation of key passages before Salah and reflect on them during the prayer, instead of daydreaming.

4. Study The Tafseer

Attend a local Tafseer class, follow an online Tafseer series, join our free online course, or read a Tafseer book. Make an effort daily to understand the Quran a little deeper. This will make the Taraweh experience more beneficial.

Be careful though! Make sure you are studying an authentic Tafseer, and not a misguided Tafseer or even worse: making up your own understanding of the Quran. To be safe, stick to the work of authentic scholars.

5. Pray in the last one third of the night

Depending on which school of thought you follow, Taraweh and Tahajjud are the same thing i.e. they are both Qiyam Al-Layl prayed during Ramadan. Therefore, the best time to pray it is not immediately after Esha, but during the last one third of the night.

This is the time when duas are answered, giving you more reason to pray at that time. There are many ways to work this into your Ramadan. You could pray the entire Taraweh late at night, or leave a few Rakah for late at night. Or even just leave the Witr for Suhoor time. Whichever route you choose, try to pray a few Rakah during the one third of the night for a deeper spiritual experience.

6. Make dua during the last one third of the night

As mentioned in the previous point, duas are answered during the last one third of the night. So you don’t just want to pray at that time, you want to pour your heart out to Allah at that time. Too many of us wake up groggy for Suhoor and sleepwalk through the meal. Instead, utilize that time to make dua for the things you really want. This will lead to a deeper spiritual experience.

7. Avoid Negativity

Focus on your Ibaadah and relationship with Allah this Ramadan.

Avoid negative thoughts: I’m not good enough to pray!

Stay away from controversial discussions: How many Rakah is Taraweh, anyway?  

Keep a distance from bad company: What’s a sinner like you doing praying?

And avoid arguing with your fellow Muslims.

Focus on your relationship with Allah. That is all that matters. Taraweh is not a competition between you and your friends on who is going to pray more, finish faster, or who has the stronger Daleel. It is an act of worship that must be done for the sake of Allah.

Do these seven things and you will, in shaa Allah, experience a more spiritual Taraweh this Ramadan!

To help you improve your understanding of the Quran this Ramadan, get a copy of our exclusive eBook ‘Themes of the Quran‘.

Buy Now

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A realistic guide to Ramadan Goal Setting

Ramadan Goal Setting

A realistic guide to Ramadan Goal Setting

It is Ramadan goal setting season. Blogs everywhere are releasing their annual pre-Ramadan articles. And the pressure is on to set the biggest, best goals for the upcoming Ramadan.

But have you ever noticed how often we fall short of our Ramadan goals? And did you ever wonder why?

The R in S.M.A.R.T.

In goal setting, I tend to follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal system. The R standing for realistic. And I believe that is where many of our Ramadan goals fall short. For a goal to be realistic it needs to be within your current capabilities, and not require some kind of miracle.

Consider the following examples:

Unrealistic Goal: Ahmad has set his goal to pray all 20 Rakah of Taraweh with full khushoo every night of Ramadan. By the 16th Rakah of the first night, his concentration is already waning. He then gives up on Khushoo for the rest of Ramadan as he failed to achieve his goal.

Realistic Goal: This year, Ahmad sets his goal to pray Taraweh with as much Khushoo as possible. He has his most Khushoo-filled Taraweh ever!

Unrealistic Goal: Ayesha doesn’t recite Quran for the other 11 months of the year, but is determined to recite 60 entire Qurans this Ramadan. On the first day, she barely manages to recite 1 Juz. She then gives up as she realizes she isn’t going to meet her goal.

Realistic Goal: This year, Ayesha is going to recite 1 entire Quran in Ramadan, by reciting one Juz a day. She meets her goal and benefits greatly from the recitation.

Unrealistic Goal: Yusuf set his goal to never commit a single sin ever again for the rest of his life! One the first day of trying, he gave up. It just wasn’t possible

Realistic Goal: This year, Yusuf will focus on removing one sinful habit from his life. He will try to never miss Fajr on time ever again. By focusing on that one thing and making Fajr on time a new habit. He meets his goal and remains steadfast on his Fajr for life.

Tips for setting Realistic Goals

I too used to set unrealistic goals for Ramadan. Nowadays my goals are far more practical and achievable. Here are a few things you can do differently to make sure your Ramadan Goal Setting methods are realistic.

1. Think within the realm of what is possible in 29 days

The T in S.M.A.R.T. stands for time-bound. Ramadan goals are already time-bound, you have just 29 days to achieve the goal. Be realistic about what you can achieve in 29 days. Perhaps you can recite the entire Quran twice. Or you can give up a bad habit like smoking. Maybe you could read an entire short book of Tafseer.

Use the 29 day mark as a guideline to help you set a goal that is realistic and possible within that time limit.

2. Limit your goals to five or less

The more goals you are juggling, the less attention you will be able to give to each. Being realistic also means being realistic about how many goals you set. If you are only able to give attention to two goals, then just set two. Anything more than five is unrealistic for most people.

Be realistic, and limit your goals to the five most important things you wish to achieve or change this Ramadan.

3. Divide each monthly goal into daily steps

The best way to make sure your goal is realistic is to divide it into 29 pieces. One for each day of Ramadan. For example, if your goal is to recite the entire Quran twice, then break it down into 2 Juz a day. If your goal is to read a 290 page book of Tafseer, then break it down into 10 pages a day.

By dividing your goal into daily goals, you increase the chance of completing that goal, and give yourself something realistic to focus on each day.

4. Every day just focus on the action steps for that day

If you followed the above guidelines, you should now have a list of five goals. Each being realistic with a practical daily step. Now all you have to do is focus on those five daily steps. Every day just check what are the five things you need to do for the day and get them done.

Do so, and you will achieve your Ramadan goals without even having to focus on anything more than your steps for that day.

That’s It!

Keep it short and realistic. Think about what you can achieve in 29 days. Set five or less goals. Break each one into daily steps. And just follow those steps every day.  And that is how you do Ramadan Goal Setting the realistic way!

For more tips on time management and goal setting, check out our exclusive eBook:
Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide To Time Management

Buy Now

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, 5 comments