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How to Make Sure Your Body Survives the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan

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Every Ramadan, along with the serenity of the last 10 nights, there’s always a few “Itikaaf horror stories” that inevitably get passed around our local Masjid. One year, a brother fainted in his salah, presumably due to intense dehydration. Another year, an uncle collapsed to the floor, feeling nauseous after a heavy masjid iftar. Although everyone was awfully worried when the ambulance pulled up to carry away the poor man in a stretcher, the event was soon forgotten once the particular uncle returned a few days later. After all, that was a freak accident that would never happen to YOU, right?

Unfortunately, there are many more stories of sickness, weakness, lethargy and general lack of wellness during the last 10 nights of Ramadan. While we all strive to reach new spiritual heights, often we forget our health. Poor nutrition results in a lack of energy. Overeating can make a person dizzy, nauseous, and cause digestion issues. Add to this a lack of sleep, and many people feel their bodies suffering slowly during the last 10 nights of Ramadan.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“Verily, your body has a right over you.” 1 

The last 10 nights of Ramadan are most certainly a time to focus on our spirituality above all else. However, keep in mind that your soul has a home—and that is your body! Our body requires proper fuel to keep ourselves running at top performance. If you want to get through some serious worship, you need serious energy! By feeding ourselves nutritiously at iftar and suhoor, we will have the energy to sustain ourselves during long night prayers, insha’Allah. And we can prevent our bodies from breaking down, causing us cut our itikaaf short—especially via an exit in an ambulance!

Here are 5 essential tips to make sure you are maintaining your body properly in the next 10 days, to ensure you have the energy for all the worship that awaits you, insha’Allah!

1. Do NOT rely solely on your masjid’s iftar program!

I don’t mean to insult any masjid’s iftar program in any way. Masjid ifars are a great way to bring together the community, and serve the less fortunate in a dignified manner, as well. However, unfortunately, we all know the standard foods that are served at masjid iftars: greasy and oily foods, not a vegetable in sight, piles of white rice and, of course, brightly-colored sugary drinks. These are all fine in moderation once in a while. However, for those who plan on spending a lot of time in the masjid for the next 10 nights, please, do NOT eat this food (if you can help it!) for 10 days straight! This kind of food is very low in nutrients. Oily, greasy, deep-fried carbohydrate-only meals will NOT provide lasting energy to sustain you in salah. You will feel bloated, lethargic, sleepy, heavy and nasty throughout the night. Sugar provides no nutrients, no vitamins, and no benefit at all to our diets. Yet, it is found in almost all the drinks that will be served to you at the masjid. This does NOT sound like a smart way to kickstart a night of worship! You need FUEL for the night, not JUNK!

If you are able, I’d encourage you to pack your own food for the masjid, or eat at home beforehand, and take a pass on the community iftar for these last 10 nights. If you can convince your masjid administrator to change the menu (or, better yet, sponsor an iftar yourself!) then, great, but let’s be practical and take precautions against the reality of masjid iftars.  

  1. Come prepared with some “emergency supplies” for itikaaf!

If you are performing Itikaaf, you obviously will need to eat in the masjid. However, your local masjid probably has a kitchen (if not, that’s okay, too!). If you are serious about having a high-energy 10 days, then realize you are going to have to fend for yourself and come prepared. There are many ways to eat clean, lean food sources that require minimal effort. These foods may not be what you are used to or would consider “comfort food”… but if the purpose of your food is high energy and health, these foods will do the trick and save you time from the iftar lineup, too. I highly encourage all itikaaf participants to come prepared with the following essentials:

  • 1-2 loaves of whole wheat bread (no fridge necessary)
  • Tupperware full of boiled eggs (these can be made in advance and will last a long time! Just peel them and eat!)
  • Canned food & can opener (no fridge necessary): Canned tuna in water, canned black pitted olives, canned green beans, canned chickpeas, etc.
  • Nitrite-free natural turkey slices
  • Raw nuts – almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.
  • Lots of water bottles
  • Sugar-free jam
  • All-natural peanut butter
  • Lots of bananas

Now, when iftar hits, you can casually walk over to the iftar table and see what’s available. Mostly greasy food that will ruin your night, right? There may be a meat curry or some protein that looks good, so feel free to serve yourself some. Skip the naan or rice, and take some salad (if there’s any being served!) Now, head back to your emergency food corner, and eat your plate with your whole wheat bread, with a side of canned vegetables! If you’re still hungry, feel free to make yourself a lean turnkey sandwich and munch on a few boiled eggs. Be sure to drink lots of water, and you just saved yourself from an iftar food coma later that evening!  

As the night progresses, you also are equipped to give yourself sustained, quality energy. A handful or two of nuts throughout the night is more than enough to keep your energy high, and you will feel alert and light on your feet in salah, without a belly full of oil to keep you from your worship.

At suhoor, you will probably be served sugary pastries, or at least sugar-filled toppings for some white bread. But you are a smart ‘Abid who knows that WHOLE GRAINS provide longer lasting energy for your fast and worship ahead! Spread some sugar-free jam & natural peanut butter onto one slice of your whole wheat toast and enjoy an open-faced sandwich. Add a banana, an egg if you’re still hungry, and that makes a very fulfilling and healthy suhoor!

If you come prepared with these lean foods, you can also gain major ajr by SHARING these foods with your fellow itikaaf goers!  

3. Maintain your energy by walking during the day.

Did you know that sitting too much may kill you? Recent research finds that a sedentary lifestyle and sitting too much is very dangerous for your health – even if you exercise! During Ramadan, Muslims seem to take our fasts as an excuse to move around as little as possible. There is absolutely no reason for this! You will actually feel MORE energetic if you make sure to walk frequently during the day, and shake out your tired muscles!

If you are staying in the masjid, during the day and between naps, walk around the perimeter of the masjid, and take deep, steady breaths. Swing you arms as you walk, and tip your head, looking up slightly while you walk. Walk for 5-7 minutes, and repeat this every hour until Maghrib. You will feel MUCH more awake, alert and energetic when it comes time for your serious late-night ibadah, guaranteed! blogimagewithin

4. Be extra-cautious for poor hygiene

Health is holistic, and includes overall wellbeing, in addition to your nutrition and activity! Many itikaaf goers get very sick during their masjid stay, or at the very least, come home by Eid with a cold, runny nose, or illness that they caught from someone at the masjid. At the masjid, many bodies are in close proximity and can pass on germs easily. Here are some tips to protect yourself, and others, and maintain overall health!

  • When handing dates to your fellow brothers & sisters, do not touch the dates with your hands! Offer the whole bowl, and let each person pick their own date. If you touch it, you must eat it! This prevents multiple hands and possible bacteria from creeping onto other people’s foods.  
  • NEVER drink from a disposable cup if you are not sure it is yours.
  • Request that your masjid DOES NOT leave piles of dates or food uncovered in the building overnight! Flies, insects, even rodents may come to piles of dates and walk all over your food and sticky dates when they are uncovered. This is an obvious way to transmit bacteria.
  • Wash your hands and any cutlery before eating! This is an obvious reminder but many people are so eager for iftar that they dive in without making a trip to the masjid bathroom. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. If your masjid is handing out utensils, have a peek to see where the utensils were stored overnight. Were they in a sealed bag? Or were they kept open beside the tray of open dates, all night long? For all you know, a rat could have licked your spoon! Wash your plastic cutlery if you are not sure! 

    Cleanliness is a big part of our beautiful faith, so let’s be sure to return to this Sunnah, insha’Allah.

  • When we talk about health, too many times we ignore the obvious factors that could be making us unwell – HYGIENE! Cleanliness is a big part of our beautiful faith, so let’s be sure to return to this Sunnah, insha’Allah.
  1. Take naps!

Our bodies have been created to require sleep. Of course, we aspire to spend the night in prayer, so be sure to get enough sleep via naps in the day, so your body can get through 10 nights of standing in prayer! Many people exhaust all their energy in the first few days of being at the masjid, so they don’t make it through all 10 with the same vigor as when they started. In the daytime, many itikaaf goers spend time chatting and socializing. If you are not worshiping… you should be doing good deeds or sleeping! These 10 days are a spiritual marathon, and you must be prepared and willing to make every minute count. Yes, that may mean sacrificing a chat with a friend at the masjid. But your sleep is more important and will allow you to have energy in the night for meaningful worship, insha’Allah!

At Amanah Fitness, we believe that our bodies are an amanah – a trust to us from Allah SWT. It is our responsibility to care for our bodies appropriately. Please try to implement these 5 essential tips during these blessed 10 nights, and be sure to make dua for your lasting health and well-being as well, insh’Allah.

It has been narrated that The Prophet Muhammad SAWS said:

“Two blessings are often overlooked by most of mankind: Good health and free time.” 2

Let’s work hard to maintain this immense blessing during these precious last 10 nights of Ramadan – our health!

About the Author

Amina Khan is the founder of Amanah Fitness, an organization aimed at fitness & nutrition education towards a healthier Ummah! Amanah Fitness seeks to improve health and wellness through health, nutrition and exercise programs of the highest quality. Amanah Fitness has prepared a special HEALTHY EATING & EXERCISE IN RAMADAN eBook – Grab your copy HERE at www.amanahfitness.com/ramadan! Be sure to like Amanah Fitness on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amanahfitness for more free health advice!  

 

  1.  Bukhari
  2.  Sahih ul-Bukhari

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If you liked the article, do leave a comment down below

54 Responses

  1. aishalabbaika2@gmail.com'
    Labbaika Aaeeshs

    MashaAllah,thanks for the article it will help us a lot, May Almighty Allah SWT reward you abundantly,May He accept our Ibadah and grant our request Aameen, may this Ramadan not be our last one.Aameen

    1. yahyajaffar2011@gmail.com'
      yahya jaffar

      During the last ten days of Ramadhan is it necessary to pray Taraweeh prayers or not…some Mosque don’t do it y?

  2. yomnalife@gmail.com'
    Patricia

    So Im a comvert alahmdulilah (female) this is my 2nd ramadan. Unfortunately there are no available muslims or masjid in my small town. I live alone and work a lot to support myself and daughter. So napping on some days is not a option and I often work 24- 48 hour shifts in my 50-80 hour work weeks. Can someone advise how I can make these last 10 nights work for me. And really give me a more clear idea of what needs to be done. I realize that I should pray more in the night and read the Quran. Any help or Advice is appreciated. Thank you

    1. rrquinzonrn@gmail.com'
      ameera quinzon

      Dear sister, i suggesr you join MUSLIM CONVERTS in FB. There you will find muslims ever so willing to help and assist you in your questions.

      I am also a revert and i cannot give you advice as of yetxas i too am still learning.

      May Allah guide us all to the right path. Aameen.

    2. khanquerer5pg@gmail.com'
      Dr. Nawazish Ali khan

      S. A. Sister congrats on reverting to true religion whose guardian is the CREATOR himself ALLAH SWT, now coming to the solution of your problem first do not try to over do anything as extremity of anything is bad as prophet Muhammad SAWS was reported by his wife ummul momineen(mother of ummah) hazrat aisha siddiqa R. A that nabipak saws always chose middle path when faced with 2 extremity, working to feed/bring up and support your child is also ibadah/worship in eyes of ALLAH, yes last 10days of Ramadan important but just do that much which doesn’t break your body/mind, remember ALLAH sees INTENTION more than actual act, I would advise you to read QURAN with meaning even if it’s just 1 paragraph, either you could read in physical form of QURAN or download app from Google play store “The noble QURAN” it’s very good with translation in different languages and audio also in voice of different reciters, it’s always better to understand what creator is trying to say to us, I did it yesterday and believe me despite being a born Muslim I never read meaning of QURAN in such depth, iam feeling enlightened ever since I started reading meaning of QURAN, hope it helps

    3. khanquerer5pg@gmail.com'
      Dr. Nawazish Ali khan

      Yes it’s very unfortunate that ignorant Muslims have developed this unhygienic and unhealthy habit of eating oily foods at iftar, this culture is more common in India Pakistan subcontinent coz basically here most of Muslims were poor who couldn’t afford healthy diet like fruits nuts etc, moreover illiteracy also contributed towards this, I would suggest to open iftar with dates, water, fruits and then drink a glass of glucose 4teaspoon full in water believe me it keeps you super charged till midnight coz glucose is final metabolic product of all carbohydrates in digestion so it doesn’t need to be digested by body saving digestion part of your energy which is actual reason for post meal drowsiness, it keeps you light feel yet full of energy coz brain utilizes just glucose in fed and fasting state, so add a glass of glucose 4teaspoon full in water at iftar and feel the difference, s. A

  3. RAISAHMAD548@GMAIL.COM'
    Rais

    You work soo hard and still you are worried about prayer ,alhamdolillah,You are real inspiration to us.I am a muslim by birth but you inspired me a lot for making best use of last 10 days of Ramadan.

    Madam Patricia,I have heard somewhere that if you do somework with good intention like money that you’ll earn, you will give your daughter better education so that so she becomes a good person , good human being and good muslim,you will help people by charity,you will spend some money and time on ummah and needy people feeding them, teaching them or helping muslims and non-muslims better understand Islam then all the time that you spend in working will turn into prayer.As if you have been praying all the time while working and your reward will be accordingly.

    Please someone throw more light on what Patricia Madam is asking as i don’t have much knowledge about it.I am also curious to know,

  4. hinurali@hotmail.com'
    Ali

    Finally someone mentions the food served for iftar at the masjids. Greasy, oily food, deep-fried carbohydrate – totally unhealthy.
    We’re fasting long summer hours, and break it on unhealthy food.
    Not good.
    There should be a nation wide program to educate the masjids, muslims on eating healthy.
    healthy mind, healthy food, healthy religion = healthy heart.

  5. k_bhanji@yahoo.com'
    Karim

    On time advice that can be followed even after ramadhan. Allahuma ainni ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibaadatik. Amiin.

  6. agiladomini@yahoo.com'
    Warina

    Baarakallaahu fiykum!
    Low fat, low sugar, and enough protein, potassium, nuts and vegetables will sustain our energy throughout Ramadhan in shaa Allah.
    Mine is a diet of water, non-fat fresh milk, dried dates, watermelon for iftaar. Post taraweeh is tuna & egg on wheat bread with okra, carrots & broccoli and boiled bananas. Midnight snack of fresh bananas, nuts and water. Suhoor would just be like iftaar light but with boiled bananas. Hazelnut latte at times Alhamdulillaah
    Eating light is truly beneficial and makes you feel light yet strong.
    Jazaakumullaahu khayran

  7. jakirmansuri92@gmail.com'
    Jakir mansuri

    Masshallah……. its very IMPORTANT advice for Ramadan and rest of 11 months too….I really appreciate ur work…..thanks so Much for sharing us

    1. Islamic Online University

      alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah , we are glad you found it beneficial. Please remember the entire team in your duas. Jazakallah khair 🙂

  8. Bashantan@yahoo.com'
    Kingdomless king

    We have to pray full night for last 10
    day’s.if anybody hav physically
    weakness & unable to pray full night,
    i think he/she must complete esha &
    faj’r salaah with jaamaah.rasul (sm)
    said who completed esha & fajr pray
    with jaamaah, he likes as complete
    prayer of full night.

    1. yomnalife@gmail.com'
      Patricia

      Asalaam Alikuim could you please describe to me what is meant by esha and I pray fajr yes but when you say to pray it with jamaah could you help me undersrand the meaning? May Allah bless you for your help.

  9. nabila.husain@gmail.com'
    NAbila

    Aslamualaikum Patricia,

    Alhumdulillah , may Allah bless you with good in workd and hereafter.Ameen

    may he grant you and your entire progeny jannatul firdous.Ameen

    here is an authentic narration by the mother of believers….wife of Prophet Muhammad

    ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:
    I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (ﷺ ) replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).”
    [At-Tirmidhi ]

    you can learn this dua and recite as much as you can….and since these nights mark the inaguration of the revelation of Qur’an

    spend whatever time you get with Quran either reading with translation, or detailed tafseers or reciting …

    and remember Allah is Al Latif (subtle) and Al Khabeer ( All knowing)…he knows whats inside you and what are your circumstances..he will reward u abundantly for your pious intention itself in sha Allah! 🙂 and

    dont forget to remember your entire ummah (nation) in your valuable du’aa.

    Love you for the sake of Allah!
    take care

  10. Nsriyaz@gmail.com'
    Riyaz

    Assalaam alaikum …. Very useful article for healthy living during fasting … important article published at right time …. let allah give us lasting health and well being … Amen … jazakallah khair ….

  11. malikjunny@gmail.com'
    Junaid

    Jazakallahu khaira … May Allaah grant you goodness to your whole organisation in dunya wa aakhira.
    How can I get regular guidance n health tips from your organisation.

  12. ahmadshaqeeq.m@gmail.com'
    AHMADH

    Ass’alaamu3alaikhumWB
    Maashaallah. ALHAMDHULILLAAH. ALLAHu AKBAR.
    Jazakallah ul Khyran Katheerah.
    Very useful, timely, thought provoking, self introspecting and rewarding article. Keep up this good work. Research more into this. Try R&D and submit more diet charts mentioning calories etc. (I know it’s tedious. But will be helpful to health concours people.)
    May ALLAAH (swt) THE ASH SHAAFI – THE ONE WHO BESTOWS HEALTH bless us alleging good health to fulfil our commitments towards DHEE to attain the highest honour and position in the AAKHIRATH.

    AMEEN AAMEEN AAMEEN YAA RABBAL ‘AALAMEEB

  13. ahmadshaqeeq.m@gmail.com'
    AHMADH

    FEW PERSONAL QUERIES
    (Everyone kindly give your valuable opinions/suggestions, please)

    From last Ramazdhaan I’ve adopted a simple Suhoor & Ifthaar diet consisting of
    FOR SUHOOR
    1⃣ 11 DATES (+/- depending upon my hunger)
    2⃣ 3-5 CUCUMBERS
    3⃣ Couple of tumblers of BUTTERMILK
    4⃣ Couple of Tumblers of WATER
    5⃣ Few ALMONDS / PISTACHIOS (nuts)
    6⃣ FRUITS (if available or if needed)

    FOR IFTHAAR
    1⃣ Few DATES (as usual)
    2⃣ Couple of glasses of WATER
    3⃣ Half a bowl PORRIDGE (served in the subcontinental Masjidhs)
    4⃣ FRESH CITRUS JUICE (Sweetlime / Lemon)
    5⃣ TENDER COCONUT WATER
    6⃣ FRUITS
    7⃣ NUTS
    Planning to completely avoid the greasy, oily foods for good.

    I don’t take anything other than SUHOOR & IFTHAAR. (Very rarely when I feel really hungry I take few nuts/dates/juices/fruits/and the likes)
    I feel very light & my Wuzdhu stays for very long.
    I don’t feel tiered or sleepy much.
    I get up fresh for Suboor and don’t sleep even after Ishraq.
    I’m able to focus well during Adhzkar (Zdhikrs).
    Only problem I face is too much body heat & leg pain. Due to the same.
    . But even while I used to follow the general usual Ramazdhaan diet (of 3 meals, greasy foods, stuffing the tummy) also few years back I had the same problem.

    My family, friends & others are worried and furious for me adopting this diet except for my mother & brother (who are also the same type).

    MY QUERY
    Is my diet correct ⁉️
    What’s causing body heat nd leg pain⁉️
    Solution to
    Are there any other food I’ve to add/remove to/from this diet
    Should I also have the 3rd meal before/after Tharaveeh ⁉️
    Is this diet AGAINST SUNNAH ⁉️
    (I’m 33 years old, married Indian & a limited eater
    Healthy nd active person though)

    EVERYONE & ANYONE KINDLY SHARE YOUR
    OPINIONS/FEEDBACK/CONCERNS/SUGGESTIONS
    So that I can improve myself and if in case this works, I can suggest others as well.
    (Upon consulting few scholars, they find nothing wrong in this with respect to Sunnah)

    Jazakallah ul Khyran Katheerah

    1. khanquerer5pg@gmail.com'
      Dr. Nawazish Ali khan

      S. A. Brother I think you should avoid butter milk as after fasting fat digestion takes long time and makes you lethargic as during fasting already lipolysis /breakdown of fats going on to produce energy so if you take fat from outside it would shutdown lipolysis leading to accumulation of lactic acid n hence pain, moreover do not eat whatever you mentioned in list in one go but give interval of 10min between them, put pillow under your legs to raise it to facilitate deoxygenated venous blood to return to heart n then to lungs for oxygenation, deoxygenated blood is full of toxins n lactic acid which causes pain, massage your legs as calf muscle is termed as peripheral heart helping to return deoxygenated blood to heart, hope it helps, tc, s. a

  14. Muhannad.a.sukkar@live.com'
    Muhannad Sukkar

    Jazak Allahu Kharian and that is beneficial and I pray to Allah that He will have mercy on us and will grant us to be forgiven in Lailatu Al Qadr.

  15. jailani30@gmail.com'
    Jailani

    Assalamu alaikum warahmathullahi wabarakathuhu…
    Subhanallah subhanallah, a great tip . This would be definitely helpful for our ummah.
    Keep up ur good work.
    May Allah Subhawata’ala grant us a eternal victory and unite us in jannathul Firdouse!
    Jazakillahu khayrun katheera..

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