This year, the beginning of Ramadan coincides with the start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
This part of the year is generally seen as a time of renewal after the long dark winter, inspiring thoughts of regrowth and rejuvenation.
Some of us might even consider starting a garden or maybe choosing to nurture a few house plants.
Gardens have always been held in high regard in our Islamic ethos, in both this life and the Hereafter.
The Holy Quran is replete with descriptions of Jannah, the eternal garden where God will reward the faithful and house them forever. I'm inviting you to treat this Ramadan as you would a garden.
One pathway to that everlasting garden is a door of fasting. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) named it Ar-Rayyan, where people who regularly fast will enter.
Preparing a garden in springtime is an exciting task for gardeners, and preparing for Ramadan brings a similar type of excitement and hope for Muslims. Here are some major activities you can do to prepare for the month of fasting:
1. Clean up your garden.
• Clear out all of toxic, negative, and other harmful things that have taken your focus away from Allah and positive religious and spiritual practices.
2. Prepare the soil.
• Prepare for Ramadan. Clean your home, prepare and plan for your worship space, your mindset and your intentions. Infuse your life with activities and objects that will improve the base material of your being - your soul.
3. Prune the excess.
• Cut back and minimize aspects of your life that have grown wild or unkept. The places that have been neglected or have gotten out of control.
4. Planting Ramadan seeds.
• At the onset of the month, start planting seeds that will produce fruit. Start with small easy wins and stretch yourself with more major changes that will produce long after the thirty day Ramadan cycle.
5. Mulching your initiatives:
• Insulate planted initiatives and protect them from outside harm. Place a protective shield over your new initiatives by protecting your time, your senses, and your actions.
• Make sure that you take time to give water and nutrition to your growing actions and your planned activities and actions. It's the only way that they will continue to grow and flourish.
By following these steps, you can prepare your Ramadan Garden for a productive and beautiful growing season. It will bloom this month and for many months following, inshaAllah. May our Ramadan bloom as it progresses and may our actions and intentions be rewarded in this world and the Hereafter.