With the sighting of the crescent moon in the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, millions of Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan. It’s a time for happiness, charitable acts, forgiveness, self reflection, healing, spiritual nourishment and the truest test of abstinence. Ramadan is the perfect time to recenter and reground ourselves. We should set our intention and goals for becoming better people and muslims year round.
Forming deeper connections with yourself and most importantly Allah (swt)
Dua is so incredibly important for every Muslim. Not only do we need to make dua for ourselves, and our families, but for our communities and for those in need around the world. This Ramadan, try to make a habit of taking at least 5 minutes of your day to talk to Allah (swt) - it can be before bed, when you wake up, or even if you find yourself struggling throughout the day - dua helps us regroup and recenter our energy into mindfulness. When making dua, set your intentions with conviction that Allah (swt) will answer them. Try not to make it part of a ritual to tick off of your checklist, pour your heart into it. Feeling heard, protected and humbled by Allah (swt) can turn into a euphoric and spiritual experience. Some of the sweetest moments in Ramadan have come from prolonged dua.
Connecting with Loved Ones
Some of us will spend Ramadan mostly at home this year. If you are blessed to live in the same house as your loved ones, spend some uninterrupted, screen-free time with them. Block out some family time in your calendar in order to deepen your connections in Ramadan. Find ways to bond, connect spiritually and plan family activities after iftar. You can share laughs watching Ramadan series, or even participate in weekly game nights, etc. It’s always important to remind your loved ones how much you cherish their company. After all, forming fond memories around Ramadan is especially important for children and encourages them to observe the month wholeheartedly.
If you struggle to keep up with the daily prayers — start with one prayer a day and build from there. Start early and by the time Ramadan comes to an end you’ll be accustomed to praying more regularly and hopefully making it part of your daily routine if it isn’t already. It may help to schedule your prayers on your calendar or set an alarm to help you get your prayers in before the time is up. There are also prayer apps on the ios/app store that help you keep track of your daily prayers. Check out Muslim+ Prayer Times, Quran, Qibla, Dua, Tasbih or Athan by IslamicFinder.
Ramadan is also the month of the Quran. Ramadan without the Quran is like a plant without sunlight - it needs it to flourish; to live. Try your best to read and/ or listen to recitations of the Quran. Brush up on Surahs that you’ve memorized and set your intention to learn and understand ones you’ve overlooked. The most important thing is to try - Allah (swt) will reward you for your intention as well.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet and Learning to take a mindful approach to consumption
Fasting is all about cleansing your body, mind, and soul. Following a well balanced and healthy diet schedule should be a priority when breaking your fast. Ramadan is about mindfulness in all avenues but especially in regards to food through fasting and consuming less.This Ramadan let’s try to minimize our food waste and remember our brothers and sisters around the world who will be fasting these long days without much to eat.
For those in the West, we often endure longer hours of fasting. To make up for this, we often load up on food for suhoor and over eat during iftar, and even host lavish gatherings where food often goes to waste, however, this goes against the spirit of Ramadan. Allah (swt) has prescribed fasting as a means of mindfulness and taqwa. Our fasting is meant to build empathy for those with no other choice but to fast. Through this we learn self-control, patience, sacrifice, and strengthening our spiritual and mental purification.
Remember to work on cleansing your spirit, forgiveness (yourself included), and practice compassion and restraint. Unfortunately, when we reflect and realize that hundreds of millions around the globe do not share the same luxury of food security, we can become more empathetic to their struggle. So for the upcoming weeks don’t forget to increase your zakat (charitable activities and donations) especially in causes that support alleviating hunger. It’s our islamic duty to give back to our communities and the less fortunate. Ramadan Mubarak to you all. May Allah (swt) make it easy for you to achieve your goals this Ramadan, Ameen!