Goals are our anchors. “Goal-less” people drift aimlessly, without direction or destination in mind. The change in daily routine that Ramadan brings, makes the month a good time to set goals for self-improvement.
The ultimate goal of every believer should be for the pleasure of God. The mini-goals we set to accomplish in this life mission of ours must cover all the different dimensions of our lives. Balance between our physical, spiritual, and creative components is the key to attaining true happiness in this life and the next.
This spiritual awareness is at the core of this exercise. If we sincerely pursue the fulfillment of our spiritual lives, God The Most High promises to facilitate the all aspects of our well-being.
Moreover, we must begin with what is obligatory and not the supererogatory.
That said, we are practical beings, nonetheless, and must set and attain practical goals. It is the small and consistent deeds that carry us to great ends. In the mundane, we often find the seeds of transcendent truth and everlasting success. So grows the great importance in setting these tedious and ordinary goals.
Settle your finances before the final accounting
Neglectfulness of the Day of Judgment can lead to carelessness in accounting for one's wealth. We can very easily become consumed by the desire to gain more wealth to the point of neglecting our other responsibilities. Financial ambition can (and has) led many devout Muslims to place work and lifestyle over worship. We should first and foremost pray as the Prophet did: "O our Lord! Make us content with whatever you provide.”
And so our financial objectives in this life should complement our ultimate goal of pleasing God. Know that you will be asked two questions concerning your wealth on the Day of Judgment: (1) How you earned your wealth, and (2) how you spent it.
Tips to consider for Ramadan:
- If your earning is from a source that is not compatible with Islam, then your first goal should be to find an alternative source of income. The Prophet said: “How excellent the wealth of the Muslim is, if it is collected through legal means and is spent in God's cause and on orphans, the poor, and wayfarers. But he who does not take it legally is like an eater who is never satisfied. Thus his wealth will be a witness against him on the Day of Resurrection” [Al-Bukhari].
- If your source of earning is Halaal, then focus on purifying your wealth by fulfilling any obligations you may have concerning Zakaah.
- Next, maximize your savings for the Hereafter by spending your wealth for the sake of God in Ramadan. The Prophet was the most generous of us all. Yet his generosity increased even more before and during the month of Ramadan.
Establish your social goals
Muslims should be sincere in their dealings with others and strive not to harm them. We are exhorted to be quick to forgive when wronged and must love for others what they love for themselves. God, The Just, on the Day of Judgment, will not forgive a harm done by someone to another until and unless that person seeks forgiveness from the one he or she has harmed or the harmed one is compensated for the wrong done to them by the one who harmed him or her.
Keep the following in mind as you set goals for your social life in Ramadan:
- Forgive those who harmed you in any way, even if you were right (meaning, hold no grudges).
- Hearts become softer in Ramadan. It's a good time to repair damaged relationships. God Says what means: “The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And remain conscious of God that you may receive mercy.” [Quran 49:10].
- Ramadan events provide excellent opportunities to mend (and start) relationships. Invite friends and family who you've fallen-out with for an Iftaar at your home. Have Iftaars for neighbors and others you would like to connect with.
- Spend more time with your family. Take your family to the Mosque on a daily basis for Iftaar and for the Taraweeh prayer.
Plan your physical & health goals
Our bodies are a trust from God (as are our time and wealth). We are accountable for what we do with our bodies and how we maintain them. Our own body parts will either testify for or against us on the Day of Judgment. We will also be questioned as to what we have consumed to sustain our bodies.
You can consider the following suggestions for health and physical fitness:
- Control what you eat. Our food must be Halaal. The quality must be wholesome. The quantity must be moderate. As your eating habits inch closer to these ideals, you will become healthier, both physically and emotionally.
- Purify your body parts by pulling them away from prohibited acts and engaging them in God-pleasing acts.
- If your tongue is occupied in gossip, cease this and occupy your tongue in Dhikr (remembering and supplicating God).
- If your hands are used to manipulate scantily clad characters in a video game, then busy them with helping someone out.
- If your ears are absorbed in music, then change the tune: Start listening to and reciting Quran more.
Ramadan contains its own motivational energy, free for all to access. Take advantage. Remember, the obligatory duties are priority. And goal number one should be to maintain those duties throughout the year, not just in Ramadan. Be balanced, as well. 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, said: "Audit yourselves before being audited,” meaning by God on Judgment Day. Use this blessed month to step back, evaluate yourself, and reset your intentions. Then adjust your reality.
May God make Ramadan a blessed means by which we attain His pleasure and forgiveness, and a source of positive change in the lives of each and all of us.
Adapted from "Soul Purification" Islamweb.net