Emir Abdelkader Mosque, Constantine Algeria
بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
As a Muslims,we should have extremely high standards of hygiene. Islam places great emphasis on both physical and spiritual, cleanliness and purification. While people in general usually consider cleanliness to be a pleasing attribute, Islam demands it. Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) informed his companions and thus all of us, about the importance of cleanliness when he said,”cleanliness is half of iman”(source: Hadith Muslim) And you see today that so many people appear to forget that cleanliness is so important.
Apart from cleaning we need a psychological, spiritual, and social cleanse which are also required before we start fasting. It would be useless to fast and worship without getting some serious garbage that tends to accumulate in one`s system InchaAllah. We are human after all, we tend to make mistakes.
We need to keep in mind that the month of Ramadan is conditioned with breaking fast parties (Iftar parties). People more often like to invite their friends and relatives at their home in Ramadan. So cleanliness of your home does matter a lot.
A month before Ramadan, I start going through the closests looking for any unwanted and outgrown clothing that I can give away to charity. Ramadan (and pre-Ramadan) is the prefect time to give away all items we don't. Organize a bazaar or garbage sale even. Then give the profits to charity. At this time, I also round up useful cooking tools or other housewares that I'm not using but maybe helpful for my family and friends.
Then two week before Ramadan, I write up a list of target areas I want to hit. This is easier for me to know what I have to. Then I cross out each job after doing them.
I find FlyLady has many useful tips and tricks for home cleaning and management. I start the deep clean of my entire house. I spend the two weeks cleaning top to bottom. I have 4 children, so I allow myself two - three weeks, depending on what's going so I can do everything at a leisurely pace.
I scrub the walls down with bleach. Clean behind kitchen appliances and furniture. Rearrange furniture. Organize closets. Look over my pantry. Condense food containers. Write on my list, what pantry items are low. Having a well-stocked pantry makes for easier throw-together iftar meals on the fly. Not a cabinet, closet or drawer is passed without me sorting through all of its contents, throwing away things, donating others and organizing the rest.
The deep cleaning of the house, before Ramadan then minimal upkeep chores are needed throughout the month. Additionally, Ramadan is a time of renewal and spiritual reflection. I believe that in a clean environment without extra clutter, it helps one to rid themselves of the clutter in their mind and focus on more important things.
To make my Ramadan cleaning easier, after completing a full deep clean, my clean up plan is pretty much divided into 3 parts:
1 - Cleaning up the meal preparation.2 - Cleaning up after iftar.3 - Quick cleaning of different areas of the house.
My main cleaning is after meal preparation and the clean up of the iftar meal. I try to prepare suhour and iftar all at one time, so I'm in the kitchen less but also cleaning less. After cooking, there is no delay I go straight to getting the food properly stored and the area cleaned up. My children are assigned various jobs according to their ability. I find they actually like helping out elhamdullah. I'll be going into more detail about cooking in the next installment of this series.
My second major job is cleaning up after the iftar meal. While I love cooking the iftar meal, but cleaning up afterward is a drag. While you'd rather chill out for a moment before going to Tarawee prayers, you have this huge clean up job to tackle. But it has to be done. Make your intentions clear, make even such a mundane job as clearing up for the sake of Allah ... and it will be easier I swear!
The third cleaning I do during Ramadan is the quick clean. Like the FlyLady method, I usually divide my house into areas, or "zones" as she calls them. I do heavy traffic areas like the kitchen and dining room after each meal preparation, but the other areas of the home like the living room, bedroom, etc during Ramadan I just "hit" with a quick 15 minute clean. Since I did heavy duty cleaning and decluttering my work is rather easy during this month. For this clean, I have a bucket ready filled with my cleaning supplies and get to it!
There are a few things I do to keep the entire mealtime experience enjoyable from start to finish. Some, you've probably heard a million times, while others may be new:
- Clean up as you go. Have a bowl handy to hold food scraps -- this can reduce trips to the trash can. Wipe countertops and wash cookware and utensils as soon as you've finished with them.
- Use a tablecloth that doesn’t require ironing or washing. Tablecloths may seem like extra work at first but I have found plastic tableclothes so much easier and time saving. If there is a spill, it doesn’t go all over and you don’t have to jump up from the table in a panic to get a rag. I usually only use fabric tableclothes when we have guests.
If the tablecloth is pretty clean when dinner is over, you can just wipe it down, fold it and use again. If it is really dirty, you can just toss it into the machine. Even that my children are young, I can often use the same tablecloth for years.
- Everyone in the family helps clear the table after iftar. The secret to fast clean up is to have everyone pitch in and help. My philosophy is, "If you eat, you help clean up".
- Have a tray or basin ready to place all the dishes in after eating. It is easier to carry to the kitchen in one single trip.
- Have your smaller childen put on items still left on the table like napkins, salt shaker, bread basket to the kitchen.
- Have a damp rag and extra plate to wipe down the table with.
- Have your kitchen sink cleaned up, free and ready to be used to wash the dishes. Have plenty of soap on hand. Don't forget to stock up before Ramadan.
- Assign one person the job of breaking down the debris and leftovers, into what can be re-served, recycled, given away or what needs to be tossed.
- As you and your family clean, try talking about Ramadan or listening to the Qur'an. Something about being together, it is a prime time to give dawah. And share the joy of Ramadan even in cleaning up.
Don't forget to check out my Ramadan boards on Pinterest. Ramadan Ready, Suhour Recipes, Iftar Dinner Recipes, Eid al Fitr and Oriental Sweets. Feel free to share your ideas on Facebook.
REMEMBER Ramadan is not about temporary change but rather a much needed jump start to a year of positive change, inchAllah! Bismillah.
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