During Ramadan, there are many things that you can do to increase the strength of your faith, keep healthy, and participate in community activities. Follow this to-do list to make the most of the holy month!
We're always supposed to read from the Quran... but during the month of Ramadan we should read much more than usual. It should be the focus of our worship and effort, with time for both reading and reflection. The Quran is divided into sections to make it easier to pace yourself, and accomplish completing the entire Quran before the end of the month. If you can read more than that, though... good for you!
"Turn to" Allah throughout the day, every day. Make du'a: remember His blessings, repent and ask forgiveness for your shortcomings, seek guidance for decisions in your life, ask for mercy for your loved ones, and more. Du'a can be done in your own language, in your own words, or you can turn to samples from the Quran and Sunnah.
Keep and build relationships
Ramadan is a community-bonding experience. All over the world, beyond national borders and linguistic or cultural barriers, Muslims of all types are fasting together during this month. Join with others, meet new people, and spend time with loved ones whom you haven't seen in a while. There is great benefit and mercy in spending your time visiting relatives, the elderly, the sick, and the lonely. Reach out to someone every day!
Reflect on and improve yourself
This is the time to reflect on yourself as a person, and to identify areas in need of change. We all make mistakes and develop bad habits. Do you tend to speak a lot about other people? Tell white lies when it is just as easy to speak the truth? Turn your eyes when you should lower your gaze? Become angry quickly? Regularly sleep through Fajr prayer? Be honest with yourself, and strive to make just one change during this month. Don't overwhelm yourself with trying to change everything at once, as it will much harder to maintain. The Prophet Muhammad advised us that small improvements, done consistently, are better than large but unsuccessful attempts. So start with one change, then move on from there.
Give in charity
It doesn't have to be money... Perhaps you can go through your closets and donate quality used clothing. Or spend some volunteer hours helping a local community organization. If you usually make your Zakat payments during Ramadan, do some calculations now to find out how much you need to pay. Research approved Islamic charities that can put your donations to use for the needy.
Avoid wasting time on frivolties
There are many time-wasting distractions around us, during Ramadan and throughout the year. From "Ramadan soap operas" to shopping sales, we could literally spend hours doing nothing but spending -- our time and money -- on things that have no benefit to us. During the month of Ramadan, try to restrict your schedule to allow more time for worship, reading the Quran, and fulfilling more of the other items on the above "to-do list." Ramadan only comes once a year, and we never know when our last one will be.