1. Plan Ahead for Ramaḍān
We should plan our activities ahead and try to ensure that our worldly tasks are either completed before Ramaḍān or, if possible, are postponed and delayed till after Ramaḍān, thus freeing ourselves for as much time as we need for ‘ibādah (worship) during Ramaḍān.
2. Plan Everyday of Ramaḍān
In addition to planning for the month of Ramaḍān, we should also plan the twenty-four hours of each day of Ramaḍān. For instance, we should allocate a specific amount of time everyday for reading Islamic literature, for recitation of the Holy Qurʾān, for doing dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and other acts of worship. This does not mean that we aim for an entire day of worship as that is not physically possible. The aim of this mental and practical preparation is to actually create more time for ʿibādah (worship) by freeing ourselves from worldly activities to benefit from Ramaḍān as a time of peace, silence, thoughtfulness, contemplation and worship. If possible, we should try to take a few days or at least the last ʿashrah (ten days) off from work to increase the time we spend in worship.
3. Minimize Cooking in Ramaḍān
First off, as a family we should declare that we will not allow the coming month to become a month of feasting. A whole day spent fasting with the idea that ifṭār is a time of feasting leads to a lot of tension and heightened expectations in the household. To meet this expectation, instead of spending time in ʿibādah we end up running around, shopping, spending a lot of money and investing a large amount of time and effort in preparing the food. The preparation of a grand ifṭār also leads to a significant increase in the load of household work for the women. The hunger and thirst of the fast, complemented by the panicking and rushing for the preparation of food, leads to agitation and bad temper within the household; emotions and practices that blatantly go against the spirit of Ramaḍān.
4. Fulfill the Right of the Body in Ramaḍān
By following this routine and doing a minimum amount of cooking, we can give ourselves the maximum amount of time for ‘ibādah. However, this does not mean that we deprive ourselves of sleep and do ‘ibādah all day and all night. In Ramaḍān, especially in the summer months, the body undergoes many changes due to remaining hungry and thirsty for a long period of time. In addition, our sleep is broken due to getting up for saḥūr, then not sleeping until after Fajr, and then maybe sleeping during the day. With this running around, cooking and preparing along with a disturbed sleep cycle, a person is not in a frame of mind to think of any ‘ibādah or of Allah سبحانه وتعالى . This agitated and heedless state of mind goes against the spirit of Ramaḍān and fulfilling the requirement of the fast.
Excerpt from a Spiritual Gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq