Categories: Wellbeing

Make the Plan for Ramadan

Full-Time Analyst Dina Aziz speaks to BMM about her Debut Book Release called “The Ramadan Planner” inspired by a revert friend at university, whom she created a planner for. As a result, the book has grown immensely and was also published by Penguin publishers.

The Inspiration
It was 2020, in the middle of Covid and it was crazy. It was my last year of university I made friends with someone who is a revert, I’m not sure exactly when she reverted. She would message me during Ramadan, and she would say, oh, you know, I’m a revert so it’s a bit hard for me compared to you and she would tell me a lot about her struggles and I felt helpless. As much as I could invite her over to have Ramadan dinners with us, I couldn’t invite her over for Suhoor or every single prayer and how we also do congregation prayer, which is hard when you’re single and living by yourself in London. She didn’t have her parents with her because they were from Germany and Spain.

So, I was like, hey, why don’t I make you a planning sheet? That’s how it started. She was also making stuff for me as it was my birthday during Ramadan too. She made a list of postcards of Allah’s names. It touched me a lot and I was like; you know what, I’m just going to make her a whole planner. I’m going to do something that I feel that she can use because she was struggling with the time she was struggling. She was also at the same time journaling a lot. So, I thought, oh, if I only could merge all of it.
I just made it for her and I witnessed her frustration become less with observing them that month. She appreciated it to the point where I think she sent it over to someone else and they sent it over to someone else.

The Background Research
It was a group chat or university group chat. That is when people were like where can we download this where can we get it from? I made a Google Drive link. I didn’t think much of it shows you if more than 100 people have downloaded it right. I had blocked that link within 24 hours because 300 people had downloaded from that. At the same time, I had my Instagram and I was using my Instagram to sometimes share stuff that I did make. I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t even think that many people were benefiting from it. I felt compelled to do a questionnaire and this questionnaire reached, I believe 15,000 people took part in it. At the same time, I was also doing my dissertation.
I asked everyone about planners and how they feel about social media in general. What if I made a planner? How would you guys feel about it? Everyone’s happy. They were like when is it coming out?

The Domino Effect
I finalised everything and released the first issue was that the Google Drive link got blocked again so I did Dropbox which also got blocked because amount of people who were downloading it.
I didn’t genuinely I didn’t expect it I thought it would be able to uphold it because we use it at university and I thought so then why I’m one of my friends suggest just putting it on a website? So, I put it on my website at the time I was running a jewellery store and I just put the PDF on. That reached 1,000 over 2000 downloads when you download them once you can also send it send it over to other people. Yes, excluding the people who downloaded it for their friends and then sent it over to everyone. And I posted it on Twitter. I posted on Twitter. It had an impression so 1 million people saw the tweet. And 50,000 people retweeted it. I was able to keep track and I think a total of 20,000 downloads or more. There was no price on it and I realised the magnitude of it until someone messaged me from Malaysia and Pakistan telling me that they printed out sixty copies of the planner to use for students. Someone printed a copy using their publisher’s printer, laminated it and said this would be a great book, then the day came when Penguin Books reached out. I thought it was fake at first and they were like we think this is cool. We’d love to support building this further and publishing it.

What the Planner Contains
The beauty of this planner lies in its versatility. So, it’s not aimed at a specific target audience. It does have the diary, the full 30 days. But that’s only one section, but the beginning of the planner highlights the fundamentals of Islam. So just in case you’re walking around and you just pick up the book, and you want to learn more about the actual religion. It starts with the five pillars, the six beliefs, how to pray, how to do Taraweeh prayers and how to do the basics.

The reason why I did this is because I took inspiration from when I was younger. We used to have this book called The Salah book. I still use that book and I thought it would be cool if I could just merge all the stuff that I had in there into this, which includes the one really big thing during Ramadan is keeping on top of your prayers because it could mean that that your fasting might be not valid if you’re prayers, that was the highlight of Ramadan is not just about not having food, it’s about being more spiritual and building good habits. It gives you a month to really refresh, reset and come back to the ground and become a better Muslim. There is also a dedicated section to mental health. It’s not just about how your day goes. It’s also what you struggle with? The fact that you struggled with it are you going to do a point of action? It’s like a self-help book as well. I don’t know how but I just kept adding as I went along the years, so the first edition was 2019 and then it’s like okay, I will now want to add every time I publish, I want to add the calendar, then add recipes.

I also made sure I added an inspirational quote according to the days of the month, so the first day will be the hardest so there is a quote about what to do. If it’s the hardest words of God to encourage you. Then there will be a hadith which contains random facts to help you get through and lift your spirits then when you’re feeling demotivated, it goes along with your mental state. People struggle to go from everyday life content to Ramadan content. It became fun for me because it keeps me on track. So ever since then, everyone knows me as the Ramadan planner girl and they’re like, you know, this has helped me a great deal.

The Ramadan Planner is available from, at £11.95

British Muslim Magazine

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