Without a family and community around us, sometimes new Muslims will fall into mistakes during Ramadan.
These mistakes are not uncommon among those born Muslim, either.
They might seem natural to do, but they are harmful and will not help us fast. They will make it hard for us to enjoy Ramadan and get the most out of it.
Let’s take a look at what we can avoid, and why, in order to have a successful and not a regretful Ramadan:
So easy to just reach over and turn off the alarm…
Just a few more moments of sleep is all we need…or is it?
Does it really make a difference to our whole sleep time to add that few moments before the Pre-dawn (Fajr) devotion time?
Missing out on the early meal (suhoor) is not worth it. You don’t know how that small meal can help you!
The Messenger of God said, “Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.”
So get up out of bed and prepare something simple. Even if the only reason you’re doing it is because of the advice of the Messenger, there is blessing in it for you.
When it’s finally time to eat in the evening, it’s really tempting to just dive in.
Our minds are in survival mode, as if there is a food shortage. We have an urge to eat like there’s no tomorrow, because we haven’t eaten all day.
Without checking ourselves, we will fill our bellies.
Not only is stuffing yourself harmful to your body, your digestive system, and the success of your next fasting day, it has an affect on your soul, too.
The self-restraint that we show when we avoid food, drink, and sexual relations has a direct effect on our priorities.
If we can hold ourselves back for a full month, then we can develop self-restraint. Even after Ramadan is over, this will keep us from sins and vices.
It will keep us from filling our stomachs the rest of the year, God willing, as is mentioned in this report from the Messenger:
Remember the report of the Messenger on eating habits: “The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.”
So you’re not eating or drinking all day.
One way to make it through the day is to try to sleep as much as possible.
Sure, sleep helps use up some of the long hours in the day. But you know what works even better?
You can lay around all Ramadan, or you can really make a change in your life and the lives of others.
You can prepare a meal for only yourself and eat it alone, or you can invite others to eat with you, or volunteer your time at a soup kitchen.
You can waste your time until you eat your evening meal, or your can use the time wisely. You can read the Quran, listen to Islamic lectures and lessons, and you can help a neighbor.
You can do any of these things during the day in Ramadan, but the choice is yours. It has to do with where you want to be at the end of the month.
If you want to have fasted Ramadan, you’ll get there.
Do you want to really change for the better and live the spirit of the month? Then you’ll choose the active, engaged activities that can make the difference between just not eating, and really living Ramadan.
Some fasting people get the idea that it’s the lack of food that’s making them grumpy.
You are in control of your emotions. If you’re a little tired, or a little grumpy, it’s time for you to ramp up your cheerfulness and energy.
It is humanly possible to get through a day without eating and drinking. It’s even possible to do it without being miserable the whole time.
Having a snack in our hands does not create a good mood, nor does it increase our motivation.
It’s just sustenance. It keeps us alive. It does not define who we are, nor how grumpy or happy we are going to be.
Part of the test of fasting in Ramadan is how we behave. It’s not enough to just get through the day, we have try to do it with grace.
Wait, didn’t I already mention about avoiding grumpiness?
Yes, but this part of the blog is about lying. Backbiting. It’s about not changing our ugly speaking habits while fasting.
Talking about others is something that is so natural to do. It’s something that is very common, too.
Before Ramadan, we may have been prone to lying. We may have had no problem insulting people.
That has to stop. And we should use the chance in Ramadan to stop it.
You see, we have to hold ourselves back from all kinds of desires. The desire to have people laugh, the desire for attention. The reasons people lie or backbite are varied.
If we can hold back from eating and drinking, and then in the evening hold back from stuffing ourselves, then we can hold our tongues, too.
Because the Messenger of God advised us, “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, God has no need of him giving up his food and drink.”
That means it’s just as important to hold your tongue from lying and behaving badly as it is to avoid eating and drinking in Ramadan.
Ramadan is supposed to be a time when we establish good deeds that we can keep doing all year.
It’s a motivation to change what we do, get rid of bad habits and establish good ones.
We should never think that Ramadan is the time for good deeds and we stop once Eid comes.
All these things listed, and more than that, are preventing us from success on many levels of life.
May God bless us with the guidance and motivation to make these changes for good during, and after Ramadan.