We are about to enter the month of Ramadan. A very special month in the Islamic calendar, a month that is full of mercy and an abundance of opportunities to increase in our worship to gain more reward and strengthen our connection with Allah.
Some of us will feel very excited, although for some, this excitement will come with a hint of trepidation, especially for those that have not fasted before. Some will feel nervous and daunted by it all, wondering how it is possible to go for a whole day without food and drink, others will wonder how they are going to go through it by themselves sometimes without those around them not even aware that they are fasting. Whatever your situation you can be assured that you won’t be alone in feeling this way.
We at Islamwise are here to help you get through this month and emerge stronger in your faith and yearning for the next Ramadan. To ensure we make the most of this beautiful month we are sharing some tips that will hopefully help you maximise your share of the reward in shaa Allah (If Allah Wills).
Short-term fasting has many health benefits, fasting for the whole month is slightly different though, for some people, they just breeze through it, but many will notice some disruption to their sleep and food consumption. This can have a knock-on effect on the rest of our health and affect our mood and productivity. Therefore, we need to give our bodies a little help to minimise any negative effects of fasting.
Get plenty of sleep; This is not going to be eight hours of solid sleep as you will be waking up for suhoor (Pre-Dawn Meal), so you will need to plan a nap or naps to make up for the shortfall. Remember that these should be short naps and not you sleeping the whole day as this will take away from the reward of fasting.
Food Consumption: Ideally, we should practice fasting earlier in the year in the run up to Ramadan, there are many voluntary fasts that one can observe for extra reward that have other benefits too. However, many of us may not have been able to keep these fasts. So, we should try and go for longer periods without food to get our stomachs used to not being constantly filled with something. If you can’t do this then don’t worry as its usually only the first few days that you will find difficult, our bodies adapt fairly quickly.
Tiredness and Fatigue; this can really affect people in the middle of the month when the initial euphoria and enthusiasm starts to wane. It’s good to have some reminders of the rewards and the virtues of this month that can help keep us motivated. Eating properly will also help, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and keeping ourselves hydrated will help us feel energetic. Fried and sugary food should be kept to a minimum although we know everyone loves a samosa or two in Ramadan!
Finally, let us remember the primary objective of fasting, which is to increase in Taqwa (Awareness and fear of Allah) “O you who believe, Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain Taqwa (piety)” [Qur’aan 2:183]
Fasting helps us in gaining in Taqwa in many ways, we will focus on just two for now.
We give up food and drink for Allah, there is no worldly gain, so this makes us more aware of our purpose in life which is to worship Allah. Secondly, most of us will engage in extra worship such as night prayers, reading the Quran and many give more in charity. We do this in hope of a reward from Allah and to help us to gain a place in Paradise, where we will get to see Allah, reminding us of the ultimate reward and that is seeing the face of Allah, in shaa Allah.
May Allah allow us to fast the month of Ramadan and make it a means to gain nearness to Him, Aameen.