1) Ramadan Resolutions! Don’t let this blessed month pass without working on bettering yourself and setting goals. My favourite thing to do as Ramadan comes around, is to create a list of goals for the month. I set myself spiritual, behavioural and physical goals. These are your Ramadan resolutions, write them down (make the list sparkly, colourful and laminated to make it official!), work on them, and improve every aspect of your life. A couple examples would be: Memorizing new surahs by the end of the month, cleaning out your room/closet and donating what you don’t need, working on not swearing or using obscene language, taking time in the day to reflect on yourself, your day and what you can improve, being more positive and counting your blessings…etc.
2) Don’t Skip Sohoor As tempting as it is to skip on the early sohoor, don’t miss the chance to bond with your family and gain blessings! Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “take the meal of suhoor because there is blessing in it”. There is a beauty in waking up before dawn to the smell of delicious food and enjoying this blessing with your family. It’ll give you time to reflect on your plans for the day before salaat. I also find that in the early of the dawn, I feel an indescribable sense of closeness to God when praying. Another tip, don’t indulge your sohoor meal with sweets, baked goods and lots of carbs. From experience, my whole family agrees that the more unhealthy we eat, the hungrier we get during the day and the harder the fast is. We usually eat some fruit, lots and lots of WATER!!!!, a protein bar or shake, and some other healthy little snacks. Really, the more minimal and healthy my sohoor is, the less hungry I am during the day.
3) Be Around Your Community Much like Christmas to some, Ramadan brings people together. Use this time to get more active and involved in your Muslim community. Build relationships with people you’ve only crossed paths with. Ramadan is a wonderful time to attend the Mosque or Hussainiyeh on a more regular basis. It’s also a time I enjoy getting together with my Muslim sisters and having iftar gatherings, or Ramadan cooking parties. Being around people who are fasting like yourself, can make the experience easier and more comforting (especially for those who are new to it). I also find that since Ramadan is a time to work primarily on improving our character and controlling our desires, being around others who are doing the same is a great way to keep on track. Next time there’s an iftar dinner or gathering at your local Mosque, bake some sweets, grab your family and friends and head over!
4) It’s Not All About Not Eating Fasting is not only about not eating or drinking. An even bigger aspect of Ramadan is self cleansing. This is spiritually and physically. We should use this time to cleanse ourselves from bad habits. Whether that be: the habit of gossiping and bad talking, lying, the use of profanity, spending too much time on the internet or our phones, or putting salaat off to the last minute…etc. For example, Ramadan may be a good time to stop listening to certain types of music. Let’s be honest here, a person in the state of spiritual fast may not benefit from listening to people “twerk it on the dance floor”. Not just music, but give up negatively impactful movies and TV shows from your life. Believe me, as much as you think you want or need it, you nor your brain needs it. You will notice a beautiful and positive change in your behaviour and life when you cut out certain TV shows, movies, music, social networks and influences. It’s sort of like a healthy diet for your mind! Cleansing ourselves spiritually means to cleanse our lives and minds from negative influences that bare us down from reaching our higher purpose as human beings.
5) Stay Hydrated Ramadan in the summer time means HEAT THIRST AND MORE HEAT. During sohoor and after breaking the fast, focus on getting your recommended daily amount of water. Take sips of water throughout the evening, and drink 2 or 3 cups during sohoor too. Your body will thank you later!
6) Read Qur’an Ramadan is the month the Holy Qur’an was revealed. It’s the perfect time to recite Qur’an, learn to recite, or read translations of the text. The Qur’an is the word of Allah (swt), I find that with reading it, I gain an almost direct and intimate relationship with Allah (swt). There is phenomenal comfort in reading His words. Every night before bed, recite some passages from the Qur’an, understand the meaning of it, and try to get through as much as you can by the end of the month. Like I mentioned earlier, Ramadan is a great time to memorize surahs! I usually put a number of surahs on my phone and play them while driving on repeat (with the English translation), and recite along until I have it memorized.
7) Be Positive Sometimes hunger can make a person cranky, but fasting shouldn’t mean an excuse to be moody and unpleasant to people around you. In fact, we should work on being more positive and friendly. Smile more to people around you. Offer a helping hand whenever you can. Stop and take in the beauty of this world, from it’s beautiful sunrises to it’s breathtaking sunsets. Don’t bring people down, lift them up. Ease the burden someone faces, even if it seems small in your eyes. Don’t be a debby downer and fill the air with negativity; see Allah’s beauty in everything.
~ I pray we come out as better people with stronger Imaan, and the love for our deen grows with each passing day inshAllah. Have a beautiful and prosperous Ramadan, full of blessings and love. Ramadan Mubarak my dear friends!
With love & peace,