Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, the month of mercy and forgiveness, the long-awaited month of the year. It is where people find themselves eager to revive their hearts, form a bond with their Creator and simply cleanse themselves thoroughly from within! Therefore, is it not natural for one to be keen on making the most out of this blessed month by avoiding the distractions and obstacles?
Many of our daily routines and practices act as potential obstacles for us during the month of fasting, thus hindering our productivity and *golden* opportunity for spiritual growth. We must not allow that to happen, rather we should benefit from every moment to come in order to prevent ourselves from being disappointed at the end of the month.
The ‘Not-to-do’ list:
1) Having the wrong intentions
The reward a person gets from fasting during Ramadan is simply tremendous. This is why it becomes a major loss for one if the entire month is fasted for the sake of showing-off rather than for the sake of Allah .
“Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied for him, between ten and seven hundred times for each merit. Allah said: ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I shall reward for it.'” 1
2) Overeating at suhur/iftar
Due to the special meals that are prepared during the month of Ramadan, people tend to overeat, hence, gain weight by the end of the month. This, however, is a habit that MUST be avoided, because the quality of our prayers are thus affected. Overeating at suhur could lead to missing or being late to fajr prayers. Similarly, heavy iftar meals result in late maghrib prayers. Moreover, the feeling of satiation discourages one from standing for taraweeh- Ramadan’s special bonus!
The importance of moderate intakes of food is vividly portrayed in this hadith:
Miqdam bin Ma’dikarib said:“I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath.” 2
3) Over-indulging in lavish iftar parties
This is an especially negative point for women, as they are given the responsibility of preparing the meals. Spending an entire day trying to host an iftar party results in less time for worship and spiritual nourishment as well as exhaustion by the end of the day, hence, the inability to pray taraweeh. Moreover, the majority of these iftar parties involve more of idle talk and time wastage rather than quality ‘ibadah.
- Take a simpler approach when hosting an iftar party (where you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen)
- Avoid attending all the gatherings you are invited to
- Introduce activities in gatherings to include more ‘ibadah such as fund raising for charity, reading duas, sharing reminders and prophetic lessons, etc. 3
4) Engaging in useless activities and wasting time
This would include watching TV, playing games, engaging in useless debates, gossiping and idle talk. Gossiping and backbiting are not only useless but are also forbidden in Islam.
“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (Surat Al-Ĥujurāt; 49:12)
We should avoid wasting time during the month of Ramadan as every moment grants us the opportunity to gain Allah’s forgiveness. Enormous rewards can be earned if time is spent wisely and for the sake of Allah .
- Reciting, learning and memorizing the Qur’an
- Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah
- Prepare an iftar meal for the orphans and poor
- Donate money and clothes to charities
- Distributing water to the poor, etc.
5) Unhealthy meals
Unhealthy, oily food is very common during Ramadan, but these must be avoided as they unfortunately lead to obesity and heart diseases. They also affect the quality of our ‘ibadah due to the fatigue caused by fatty foods.
- Avoid eating oily, fatty foods
- Increase you intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Drink adequate amounts of water to avoid dehydration
- Have more sunnah and energizing foods, especially at suhur e.g. dates, olives, watermelon, honey, etc. 4
Ramadan is a beautiful month revolving around ‘ibadah, a gift from Allah to erase our sins and to help us establish a strong, long-lasting bond with Him. Do not waste this chance by pursuing trivial activities. Treat it as your last Ramadan, thus stimulating yourself to maximize your rewards.
- Avoid burnout during Ramadan- Productive Muslim: http://productivemuslim.com/avoid-burnout-during-ramadan/
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