July 18, 2012

Ramadan 2.0

Every year during Ramadan people switch up their routine. With only thirty days, we want to get the most we can out of the month. This includes switching off the TV, turning off the music and unplugging from Twitter/Facebook.

This year, a lot of people may also be wondering if we need to do the same thing with our smart phones. We probably waste more time on that than all of the above combined. But before we do that, lets consider what we could do with it instead.

  • Avoid temptation by getting rid of all your games, social networking, and other distracting apps. Delete them (it'll be okay, really). If you can't make yourself delete them, at least corral them into a "Do Not Open" folder.
  • Replace the apps on your home screen with Islamic apps - make them the first thing you see when you turn on your phone so you remember to use them.
  • Don't have any Islamic apps? Go download some now (you can find great Islamic apps by Batoul Apps or Guided Ways - or if you're on Android check out Quran Android).
  • Turn on prayer notifications in an adhan app (like Guidance or iPray) for every prayer during Ramadan. Set the app (and as many backup alarms as you need) to wake you up for suhoor and tahajud.

Now that our phone has been transformed from a time waster into a helpful tool, here are some tips on how to get the most out of it.

  • Lots of people try to read the whole Quran this month - a manageable way to do this is to read four pages after every prayer. Having the Quran on your phone (with Quran Reader or iQuran) makes this very easy. It's in your pocket anyway - instead of checking your email after prayer, read a few pages of Quran.
  • Knowing that your phone will play the adhan at Maghrib time lets you stop constantly watching the clock. Instead, make the most of the blessed time right before iftar. Pray from your heart or use a dua/dhikr app (like Supplications or iSubha) to help guide you on what to say.
  • Keep track of all your ibadah during the month with QamarDeen. Its easy to forget that you've been slacking off, but this app will help show you exactly where you need to improve.
  • During your commute or lunch break, don't listen to music.  Listen to an Islamic podcast or Quran recitation. These quiet spiritual moments will energize you for the rest of the day.

People are quick to blame technology and all of their gadgets for distracting them. Yes, they do make it very easy to waste time, but they also make it very easy increase our ibadah. I'm a firm believer that technology and all of its advances are a tool for us, and if we try, we can choose to use them properly.