Answered by Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
Question: Do you have any practical tips for mums with young children on how to make the best of Ramadan as often time is very limited? Also, in this context, should one focus on reading as much Qur’an as possible or on tafsir or memorization, bearing in mind that many of us can’t manage taraweeh in mosques with babies/ toddlers, especially now the fasts are very long here in UK and it is extremely difficult to achieve all these aims even with best of intentions unless one has a live-in nanny!
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions, and those who follow them.
Thank you for your question, which is a very important one.
My advice is to take on what you can consistently sustain during Ramadan and throughout the year.
First, assess the state of your obligatory worship and see where improvements can be made. Try to ensure that at least your fajr and isha prayers can be performed in relative peace and quiet. Of course, this depends on the age of your children and their sleep and waking times.
Second, assess the state of your voluntary worship and see what can be added or improved upon. For example, if you’re up nursing a baby at night, then now might be a good time to start performing a couple rak’at of tahajjud prayer. Start with something manageable and then build on that.
Third, organize and set aside a place for prayer. Make sure that you always have clean prayer clothes, a prayer mat, a copy of the Qur’an, prayer beads, and your favorite books of supplication at the ready. That way, you don’t have to fumble around for those things and waste valuable time that could be spent in worship.
Fourth, Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an and you should certainly strive to read as much as possible. But bear in mind that quality is as important as quantity. Allah Most High says, “Read ye, therefore, of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you” (Al-Muzzammil, 73:20). If you are unable to read an entire juz’ (section) per day to complete the Qur’an, but you really want to gain the blessings of doing so, then you might consider organizing a khatm-e-Qur’an. Find a group of sisters who are having the same challenge and assign sections of the Qur’an to them (or let them choose their preferred sections). When everyone has completed her reading, gather together to read the 30th juz’ and finish off with the supplication of Qur’an completion (located in the back of your Qur’an). This way, everyone can attain the blessing of having completed the divine text.
Finally, one of the mercies of sacred law is that women are rewarded for their prayer in the home as if they had gone to the masjid. Although you probably feel that you are missing out by not being able to pray taraweeh in congregation, you can still perform this special prayer at home, preferably once your children are asleep. If you make intention for taraweeh and qiyam al-layl (standing the night in prayer), then you get the reward of both.
May Allah Most High bless you with a Ramadan full of mercy, forgiveness, and salvation,
Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
(Originally answered in the SeekersGuidance Fasting Course)