“Fasting is a shield”.
[Sahih Bukhari: Book 13, Hadith 211]
And indeed it is WHEN done right. O Muslims, rejoice! For Alhamdulillah, your special combo opportunity to gain folds and folds of rewards from God has arrived again.
Since young, the majority of us was taught by our parents, teachers, or from the people on TV of the pillars of fasting and the vast benefits of Ramadhan. So, at this point of time, I’m sure most of the readers (assuming that my readers are of teenage years minimum) are already equipped with the knowledge of what we should or should not do during this holy month and thus, I will not be mentioning them again here. In my writing this time, I would like to lead our attention towards the importance of proper planning during this month so we can use it to its full potential.
1 : ON-THE-SIDE QURAN
Alhamdulillah, the month of Ramadhan has brought about such pleasing sights and tunes to the soul. People here and there are reading the holy words. More attention are being placed towards the Quran and even those who rarely picks them up starts picking up their tempo on telawah (recitations). MasyaAllah, very good indeed.
But, it is of a great waste that we cannot read more.
Reading more than you usually do is totally up-top, but it would be triumphant if you can do more. If your Quran spends time being covered with a thin layer of dust and if it is not within your norm to read much of it in your everyday, now is the best opportunity for you to go ‘crazy’ and take that step out from your habit and finish yourself an entire Quran; within a month. But be cautious though, as to not place your full concentration on finishing but with ZERO efforts to understand and take the words of God to heart.
Women are a common player in this matter because they usually lose at least a week for telawah due to their menses. Now, what we can do here ladies, is to go for an intensive head start to counter the missing days that are sure to come biiznillah. We usually keep a calendar to keep track and even for those whose cycles are irregular, you can still roughly estimate when and for how long your menses will take place. Finish early especially when your cycle starts nearing the last days of Ramadhan so you don’t feel too rushed at the end.
For what a waste it would be to not be able to finish the Quran in the holy month of Ramadhan.
2 : EXCESSIVE SLEEP & REST
You are tired, we get it. But it just beats the purpose of fasting when you spend half the day on bed or purely resting for the sake of ‘conserving energy’. Take note that Allah eases fasting during the time of Ramadhan as compared to the other months. Those who practices fasting outside of Ramadhan can tell.
Cast away excessive rest and sleep. This is one of the main reasons of why we feel that there is not enough time. Do not make Ramadhan look like the month of idle Muslims and be more productive with your time but YES, keep it at a lower intensity to keep yourself from exhaustion. Finish work earlier when possible for iftar (breaking fast) preparations and quality time with Allah & family. A brief afternoon nap brings wonders to your alertness and body so try to take them.
3 : ENTERTAINMENTS
Another reason of why you might think that time is not enough. I, as a fellow human being just like you, strongly believe that you will most definitely NOT die from cutting yourself from entertainments for only ONE MONTH. Just say no. To everything. If your friends say that you’re a hypocrite or anti-social for not joining them in these useless acts, say “Thank you, glad to be one hommie.” and carry on.
“When any one of you gets up in the morning in the state of fasting, he should neither use obscene language nor do any act of ignorance. And if anyone slanders him or quarrels with him, he should say: (” I am fasting, I am fasting.”)”
[Sahih Bukhari: Book 13, Hadith 209]
The Prophet pbuh said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)”
[Sahih Bukhari: Book 30, Hadith 13]
4: CONSUMING AND WASTING FOODS
I kid you not, the greed for food within the lustful beast in mankind is no myth. I understand how excited you are on the sight of various delicacies served before you but goodness people, refrain yourself. I’ll just list down the summary of what we can do to try and curb this.
- Drink some water first so you don’t have to eat much.
- Take a bit out of every dish to release your anguish for good food.
- Stop before you reach satiety.
- Do not cook and prepare too much.
- If you do, keep the leftovers for later. DO NOT THROW THEM OUT.
- Do not eat heavy meals before going to bed. Give it a minimum of 2 ½ hours before settling to bed.
By the end of the first week, your stomach had already shrunken down so it will be cruel to keep stuffing yourself with gluttonous amount of foods so be kind to your tummy.
5: LOW QUALITY TARAWEH PRAYER
When you have stuffed yourself too much from iftar, it makes it hard for you to keep your wudhu’ (ablution) due to your urges of needing to go to the toilet or pass flatus. You commonly get sleepy after your lunch break right? Isn’t food supposed to give you energy instead of making you all sluggish?
After meal time is when your body energy concentrates on the stomach to carry out their digestive functions, thus why the circulation to your brain that keeps you up and alert are reduced and directed elsewhere where it is more needed at the time. So, if you can find out the surah recited by the imam during taraweh, reciting along during salah will really help in keeping you awake and more focused. As mentioned always, eat in moderation to avoid feeling sluggish. Don’t think about finishing quickly and motivate yourself that taraweh gives you both physical and spiritual strength.
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying regarding Ramadan, “Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”
[Sahih Bukhari: Book 32, Hadith 26]
6: MISSING QEYYAM EL-LEIL (NIGHT PRAYERS)
The two most common causes relating to this issue has been mentioned earlier; stuffing oneself with foods and late night entertainment.
Avoid before bed snacks & sleep earlier. There is no shame in asking others to wake up when you find it difficult to do it on your own. Never forget to make dua’ for Allah to wake you up.
7: MISSING MORNING PRAYERS
Come on people, what is this? Performing the sunnah like waking up for sahoor but actually missing out on the pillars of Islam like Subh prayer. Why? For the same reason mentioned above. Only now you are too full from sahoor.
Again, don’t eat too much. Keep yourself busy and engage yourself in a more interactive activity with your household members to avoid dozing off into the morning. Ask help from others to wake you when you do. Take that freezing morning shower to shake your nerves and keep you fresh. Plan the night before for sufficient sleep as you do for qeyyam. At the same time, let’s not forget Dhuha prayer to add more blessings to your morning.
With all that, can we still not see the seriousness of a precise planning in order to help us obtain a far more beneficial Ramadhan. Grab the chance that is laid out for our pick. For truly, this is the time of envy for the dead who had lost their chance to do good.
“Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.”