When I read about Ramadan planning and listen to lectures on striving towards an outstanding month of worship my heart is filled with passion and longing to be among those people who are the forerunners on the path to Jannat. And this passion moves me towards dreaming and planning of so many things that I want to do in this month with the hope of making life long changes in my attitude and behaviour. On one hand I want to have a strong ever present bond with Allah and on the other hand I want to have all the positive qualities of a Muslim. But time and again I fall short of my targets and end up feeling quite depressed and confused. Depressed because I have so much desire to excel and yet do not have the self discipline to act on this desire. So after the first few days of watching Ramadan go by and making little or next to zero progress on the tasks I had planned for myself, I decided to change my strategy. Therefore instead of making the regular checklist which told me to do a certain task in a certain time frame, I have made an extra addition to it, which is in the form of points. Like I have a slot which says that from 3 am to 4 am is my time for Allah and I will do only Nafals and duas and Istaghfar in it. Previously what I used to do was to get up at 3 but instead of going straight to wuzu I would be so pleased with myself for being awake that I would unconsciously waste more than half the time in other things like having a snack and then turning on the computer for emails, assuring myself that I was doing it to awaken myself but by the time I would really “wake up” it would shock me to find out how much of time had slipped by and now it was hardly time for a couple of rakahs and off I go into the kitchen to prepare the sehri….daily I would say that this is the last time and of course tomorrow I am going to stay focused. But again the same pattern would repeat itself, forcing me to think that there is surely something I must do before I lose this month completely. So now I have got this idea that I have assigned 100 points to this “one hour exclusive time with Allah” and I told myself that I will deduct one point for every minute that I spend elsewhere. And after this I can have 25 minutes for emails which I can enjoy more because I have kept my promise. Again this time limit has to be followed otherwise I will deduct points. Same for all the other things keeping high points for areas where I am likely to be distracted; like 100 points for a long qirat in Fajar, reading Quran and duas immediately afterwards and so on. This has worked wonders and in my urge to score full marks I rush to do all that I have assigned for a particular time. Now that I am writing this I have an idea that I can even control my bad mood while cooking by giving myself points for smiling instead of frowning!!! Another way of improving upon this plan is to give sadaqah according to the points I score in a day so that the more points the more khair I can accumulate for Akhirah….the ideas are unending if you really think about itJ
I decided to share this because I feel like there might be many people out there like myself who don’t have the company of people who would urge them towards completion of their goals and so they have to make use of their own will power to get the maximum benefit from their time and resources. We are all imperfect but we can all support each other through sharing our defeats and successes and our ideas for self improvement. It’s a long and tough road to Jannat but the end is too sweet to waste it for the sake of our petty pleasures and distractions or for the excuse of being alone in our struggle….because if you think about it, we are never alone…Allah is with us all the time!!!
May Allah enable us to act upon what we learn and make us among the forerunners on the road to Paradise…InshaAllah.