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Ramadan and Studies: 10 Tips for Hardworking Students

A hardworking student faces his/her studies with devotion. S/he is also able to commit to intense worship during the month of ramadan. But, that may be a myth for many in this special month of fasting. The reality most students face is tiredness, low energy, reduced focus and concentration ability, reduced study desire, extra pressure, sleep deprivation, guilt and more.

With Ramadan falling in school/ revision/ exam season for the next few years around most of the world – what can a hard working student do?

How can s/he make the most of Ramadan and studies?

The beauty of our deen – Islam – is that it doesn’t restrict worship to praying, fasting and reading the Qur’an. Worship can encompass your day-to-day actions simply by virtue of your intention. Reading your books or going to sleep can be worship with the right intention.

Besides, Ramadan is not meant to bring you hardship,rather, it is a means of gaining closeness to your Creator.

”The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al Baqarah, 2:185)

Managing your Ramadan and studies

Here are 10 tips for managing your studies and worship in Ramadan.

1. Define your study goals

Everybody is studying for a different reason. You need to understand first and foremost what your own study goals are. Don’t just follow the crowd. People have specific goals to suit their own lifestyle and definition of success.

With that in mind, are you:

  • Seeking success for both worlds?
  • Aiming to earn a halal means of livelihood/ create a halal business?
  • Striving for a career opportunity in a field that is important to the ummah?

Knowing your study goals will help you to purify your intention, even as you face your studies with the aim of gaining Allah’s pleasure.

Action point: Make sure you define your study goals, verbalize and write them out; and place where you can see always.

2. Select your activities carefully

”There is more to life than studies”, you may think. And that’s quite true.

You don’t have to cut off family and community just because of studies. Rather, your spiritual, study, social and personal goals can all intersect with the right intention.

Make sure you invest your time and energy into activities that will complement your learning and not distract you. Remember you have only 24 hours in a day. Just because something is trending, it doesn’t make it OK to spend your time on it. Feel free to drop off all activities that add no value to your life. There’s no excuse to be bored with Ramadan and studies happening.

Action point: Plan your important activities around your 5 daily prayer times.

3. Get some rest and sleep

All work and no rest will get you nowhere. No matter the pressure you feel to catch up or study all day and all night, do not try to ‘cheat nature’ as its popularly said. It will catch up with you ultimately.

Your system needs time to get repaired and rejuvenated. Also, remember your body is an amanah to be cared for and nurtured properly. Take time out to nap during the day and sleep at night.

Action point: Schedule your daily rest time.

4. Cut off excessive social media/ screen time

The time is just right to reduce your use of technology.

A simple rule is: If it isn’t pertaining to Ramadan and studies, leave it alone.

You have time to catch up. And in fact, you may realize later that there nothing important to catch up on. If you allow it, technology can be the biggest thief of your time. Try to keep your devices away from iftaar, suhoor, nap/ study time, tarawih, family time and any other time you consider important to you in this month.

Action point: Put your devices on airplane mode or turn off data for Internet usage during periods of study/ worship.

A simple rule is: If it isn’t pertaining to Ramadan and studies, leave it alone.

5. Protect your soul

In the same way you have to care for your body and mind – so do you need to aim for spiritual purity.

How can you achieve this?

By exercising self control and general mindfulness. Monitor your actions, behavior and speech. Avoid gossip, arguments and free mixing. Maintain good company and focus on purifying your soul through consistent good deeds. This will help you get closer to Allah , since you cannot spend all night in prayers.

Action point: Follow good deeds with more good deeds.

6. Ensure you have a prayer place

Attend congregational prayers if possible. That will help you regain your energy and focus, and also gain some rewards. Don’t neglect your prayers with the excuse of studies. Ramadan is a good opportunity to get back on track with your 5 daily prayers on time.

Action point: Plan your study sessions so you can easily access a prayer place or create a suitable one.

7. Don’t overfeed

Use an appropriate meal plan – nothing elaborate.

Stock up on dates, water, fruits and healthy meals in Ramadan. Do not get tempted by the 101+ exotic ramadan menus flying around on the internet. If you are invited to an iftaar, eat only what healthy portions you require or ask for a takeaway. Do not feel obliged to taste everything laid out.  Eat as the sunnah recommends.

Action point: Keep your meal portions simple and healthy.

8. Utilise first half of the day

Do not sleep your mornings away. You can never catch up during the day. There’s blessing in the morning hours, so seek it for studying and purifying your soul. Adopt a flexible study schedule so you can invest in the morning hours as much as possible. Leave other activities for later in the day.

Action point: Utilise the morning time.

9. Create special retreat during last 10 days 

Even if you can’t make Umrah in Ramadan or spend the last 10 days in seclusion at your local masjid, you can plan a day, some hours or a weekend to connect with your Lord. 

Action point: Mark your calendar for a convenient date to have a mini retreat even if its in your bedroom.

10. Make Du’a

Use His most beautiful names and attributes to call upon Him in this blessed month.

Turn to Allah  pouring out your frustration and hope with Ramadan and studies coming together. Do not be shy, ask without mincing words. Ask Him to place barakah in your studies, to facilitate your study goals, to accept your efforts and keep you sincere in your worship through studies. He is Aware of your struggles but He loves to be asked so ask Him and put your trust in Him.

Action point: Spend at least 5-10 minutes daily connecting with Allah asking His Help and support in your studies and life.

Renewing your intention

There is no doubt, your studies is a means of seeking Allah’s pleasure and ultimately His reward in the akhirah. Do not take it for granted! Rather, work on building positive and purposeful habits from day to day. The activities you choose now will lead to better outcomes for you, your future career, and the entire Ummah.

What you need to do is to keep renewing your intention.

“Verily, actions are by intentions” 1

Your Ramadan goals in brief

As a student, you have the opportunity to fulfill your Islamic obligations by:

  • Having sincere intention:
  • Performing well in exams;
  • Engaging in active studies;
  • Seeking closeness to Allah ;
  • Detachment from shiny objects and blings;
  • Focusing on the inner self – physical and spiritual purity;
  • Accelerating your rewards through simple but consistent deeds throughout Ramadan.

”… And say, ”My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Ta-Ha, 20: 114)

Flexible Ramadan mode for students

Here is a simple Ramadan mode for hardworking students. It is centered around the 5 daily prayers. Feel free to adapt it to your own needs/ personal situation.

FAJR:           Tahajjud – Suhoor – Quran time – Study

DHUHR:      Nap time/ rest – Chats/ emails/ calls – Revision

ASR:             Chores – Dhikr – Charity

MAGHRIB: Volunteer – Du’a – Iftaar

ISHA:            Tarawih – Family/ Community time – Self reflection

You need to recognize that studying to enhance your future and to deal knowledgeably with the world is a great form of worship. You just need to make the intention, re frame your mindset and keep striving hard.

Study purposefully without getting angry, complaining, cursing at your situation or wishing otherwise. Your study activities and habits could help you become a true Muslim ambassador.

So, what are you waiting for? Say Bismillah and keep working hard to achieve your goals for Ramadan and studies.

Which other tips can you recommend to hardworking students in Ramadan?

  1.  Bukharee

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