A checklist for the remaining precious days of this sacred month. By Afia R Fitriati
How time flies! In a blink of an eye, we are entering the last lap of this year’s spiritual marathon. This grand finale of Ramadan is a time when we expectantly search for the blessings of Lailatul Qadr, decorate our homes, make plans for Eid – the list goes on.
But don’t fret. We have prepared the following list to help you optimise the last 10 days of Ramadan:
- Plan your travels. If you are thinking of travelling somewhere around Eid, make sure you plan thoroughly. During this peak summer season, it is very likely that tickets are more expensive or selling out quickly, flights are delayed or air traffic is more congested than usual. If you plan to travel before Eid and still want to keep your fast, be sure to bring some dates and bottled water in case you have to break your fast en route. For those of you who plan to travel by air, make sure to read Flying While Muslim.
- Check holiday schedules. If you live in a Muslim-majority country, plan ahead by checking the opening hours and holiday schedules of banks and other local businesses. For example, I just learned that my laundry service would be closed for three weeks after Eid, which means I have to figure out a ‘laundry plan’ for my family during that period.
- Inform others of your holiday schedule. Make sure you make your holiday schedule known to others who might contact you during your time off. If you run a business, put up a sign to inform your customers when your establishment will be open again, or set up an automated email response for your work email.
- Budget. Regardless of how you plan to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr and the holiday season, it is essential to plan your expenses. Set a budget for Eid shopping, Eid gifts, travel expenses and most importantly, don’t forget to…
- Pay your Eid zakat. After weeks of commiserating with the hunger and thirst of the poor, we should pay zakat before the dawn of Eid ul-Fitr so the needy may also celebrate on this day.[i] Contact your local mosque for details.
- Clean your house. Whether you are welcoming guests or travelling somewhere during Eid, cleaning your home will bring a sense of newness, purity and joy – in line with the spirit of Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr. If you can, put up some Eid-themed decorations to perk up your dwellings and share it with us!
- I’tikaf. Now that you have planned ahead, you can dedicate time solely for worshipping God during these precious last days of Ramadan. I’tikaf or night vigils at the mosque is an act of worship that many Muslims do during this period in the hopes of experiencing Lailatul Qadr, which is believed to fall on one of the odd-numbered nights in this period.[ii]
- Read the Qur’an. How is your Qur’an reading so far? While there are still a few days left, don’t pass a day without reading the Qur’an in its sacred birth month!
- Think of ones who may not have a merry Eid. I spent my grimmest Eid ul-Fitr while living alone abroad. So I encourage you to look around in your community and invite others who may not have a festive Eid – a new convert, a foreign student, a poor family – to celebrate with you and your family. It may take more work on your part, but trust that your efforts will be cherished, both by the people that you invite and by God.
- Keep up the Ramadan momentum. Sometimes we experience spiritual stagnation or depression in the middle of Ramadan. Meanwhile, making plans for Eid may distract us from more spiritual activities. But it is important to keep in mind that we are privileged to be experiencing this Ramadan. Let us make every second count and maintain the momentum of this Ramadan! Get sufficient rest and watch your diet to keep your energy levels high for these remaining days.
- Reflect and pray. When takbir is announced when the sun sets on the last day of Ramadan, do spend a few minutes to reflect on the past month: what good habits did we acquire and would like to continue? What bad habits should stay in the past? Finally, may God give us the chance to see this treasured month again next year.