21 hacks for a smoother Ramadan in quarantine

While Ramadan in quarantine has forced us to curb many of our outside activities, the temptation now is to think we will easily be using our time to reach our Ramadan objectives of spiritual empowerment and improvement. The following hacks can help keep us on track during the blessed month insha Allah, so we make the most of every moment insha Allah.

  1. Choose a system to help you reach your Ramadan goals. There are many apps available that can help, but if you’re more of a paper and pen person, post your Ramadan goals on the fridge or on the mirror so you can see and internalize them a few times a day. Check in at Dhuhur, then after Isha, to track your progress. 

  2. Set up auto pay for a charity of your choice, to be deducted every Friday in Ramadan. Suggestion: this year, consider giving this way to your local Masjid. With quarantine in place, mosques will not be able to fundraise as they normally do during large gatherings at Taraweeh prayers. Masjids still have operating costs and Imams and other staff to pay. Please support them. 

  3. Select one online weekly volunteer task to complete. Contact your local Masjid or Islamic center to see if you can coordinate shifts to deliver meals to those in need, make calls to them, or complete other tasks that don't require you to leave home. 

  4. Set up an online Iftar party with family and/or friends once a week. Choose one dish all of you will make, decorate the place, and dress up. Even better: make a one dollar Iftar and donate what you would have normally spent on an Iftar party to those in need. You can also order in from a local restaurant to support them. Restaurants have been hit hard because of the COVID crisis. 

  5. Self-block your non-essential social media consumption or limit it to 10 minutes three times a day or less. There are apps that can help with this. 

  6. Make your Suhur, including whatever caffeine you need for the day, right after you eat Iftar. This way, you only have to warm and eat/drink in the early morning. 

  7. If you take medications at Suhoor, have them lined up and ready next to your nightstand with a covered glass of water so if you wake up too late, with not enough time for a full Suhoor meal, you can at least take your medications. 

  8. Put a glass or jug of cold water in the fridge at night so it’s readily available for Suhoor.

  9. Go to sleep right after Tarawih. Avoid falling into the habit of catching up on social media before bed, which disturbs sleep. If necessary, time yourself to do this for not more than five minutes. 

  10. Decide on an Iftar menu and post it on the fridge for the week, or even for the whole month, so you can shop for ingredients you need beforehand, and prepare and eat meals efficiently and quickly. 

  11. For grocery shopping, shop at a store that will do it for you and that offers curbside pickup. Many stores have been doing this during the pandemic, and it is a great time saver. If you have sick or elderly family, friends, or neighbors, help them order their groceries this way, and pick up and drop theirs off at their door when you get your own. 

  12. If you live with others, establish a menu chart and a chore chart and post it on the fridge. Make sure to stick with it so that everyone has a chance to balance cooking and cleaning tasks with extra worship in Ramadan. 

  13. Schedule in time for an afternoon nap of not more than 20 minutes. Set up a reminder on your phone, along with an alarm.  

  14. Plan outside time for everyday, even if it’s just a walk around your block. The positive effects on health, mood, and concentration are well worth it. 

  15. Designate the last 20 minutes before Iftar as Dua time. The food should be ready and the table set before then, so you can spend the last precious moments making sincere Dua. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the supplication of a fasting person is not turned away at the time of breaking fast” (Ibn Majah). 

  16. If possible, cook your meals over the weekend for the entire week. Or if you prefer to cook daily, cook in the morning or early afternoon so you can have more time for Dua right before Iftar. 

  17. Instead of setting one large block of time to read or memorize the Quran, break it up over the five daily prayers. If you read or memorize 15 minutes after each of the five daily prayers, that will give you more than one hour in a day. 

  18.  The Prophet said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely, and moderately. Always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course, whereby you will reach your target (of paradise)" (Bukhari). Set a reminder in your phone or on your fridge to do a good deed a week. Here are some you can do in five minutes or less.

  19. Set a reminder in your phone to give charity at least every Friday in Ramadan. 

  20.  Right before bed, spend five minutes to review your day. If possible, write down/keep track on your phone three things: what you did right, what you did wrong, and what you need to do to improve. Just five minutes.

Order all of your Eid gifts online in the second week of Ramadan and have them sent directly to the recipient. This way, you can focus on worship in the last 10 days of Ramadan without worrying about gift-giving. If possible, avoid Amazon.com and order something unique from a small business to support them during this crisis. Like restaurants, they’ve been hit hard. Etsy is one place you can find them. Search under “Islam”, “Muslim” and “Eid” for gifts.

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