It’s that time of year again that I find to have so much meaning and beauty. Today, Tuesday 13th of April 2021, ushered in Ramadan 2021, the 9th month in the Islamic calendar (Hijri 1440). To me Ramadan is so much more than fasting from dusk till dawn or feasting during Iftar.
Not only is it a time when I endeavor to increase my Taqwa/Iman, become more charitable and strengthen my knowledge of the Holy Qur’an, it is also a time that I become closer to Allah.
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Many of us who celebrate Ramadan take journeys at this time of the year and this Ramadan I want to take a journey on how I can get the most benefit from the opportunity Ramadan affords me and I want to encourage anyone who wishes to come along on this journey in making this Ramadan one of great triumph and blessings.
In my Ramadan journey this year as always, I wish to, first and foremost, give top priority to knowing and understanding the true contents and message of the Qur’an.
The reward for reciting and completing the Qur’an is abundantly rewarding. Ibn ‘Abbas narrates, saying, “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) was the most generous person, and He would be at his most generous in Ramadan because Jibril would come to him every night and he would study the Qur’an with him. Additionally, Bukhari reports from Fatima that the Prophet (SAW) told her in the last year of his life, “Jibril used to revise the Qur’an with me once every year…” As part of my journey this Ramadan, I intend to complete reciting the Holy Quran.
Two possible ways of completing the Quran during Ramadan are as follows:
- read 4 pages after each salat.
- 5 times salat x 4 pages = 20 pages each day
- 20 pages = 1 para
- 1 para x 30 days = 30 para
the Quran has 600 pages approximately. if you divide it into 30 days, that’s 20 pages a day. that may be difficult to achieve for some. but if one divides it on the 5 daily prayers, reciting it gets easier.
Furthermore, I wish to take a moment to reflect on which aspects of my life; my routine, attitude, personality or behavior I need to improve on and what my plans are for changing for the better and bringing myself closer to the Islamic standard.
An important part of this journey for me is to be as charitable as I can possibly be. When possible, every time I see people in anguish and poverty, every time my eyes fill with tears at the sight of senseless killings, kidnappings, abuses, blown up bodies, devastation and displacement of innocent people, I will open my purse and give charity. I will remember to forego some of my necessities in order to provide for those who are in more need than me. I will also opt not to spend money on frivolous things and luxuries so that those who are in more need than my family and I can be helped through my charity.
Insha Allah, in my journey, I will sleep early after praying Ishaa and Taraweeh and go to bed with a clear and conscious intention of fasting the next day. Then, I will get up well before Suhur time thanking Allah for giving me life and then I hope to make special Du’aa for the mercy of Allah on our Ummah.
From the start and right to the end of Ramadan, I will try not to sleep after Fajr, but instead, study the Qur’an. In the last ten days of Ramadan, I will go to bed with the intention of getting up early for Tahajjud prayers. Throughout the day, for the duration of Ramadan, I will find time to revise and re-learn the Surahs and Aayaat I already know. Once that is completed, I will try to learn one Aayah a day from a Surah that I may not already know.
Insha Allah, I will be extra kind, understanding, accepting, considerate and supportive to my non-Muslims friends and neighbors. I will listen to them, carry them along and find ways to have them participate in the blessings of Ramadan by sharing my food and gifts with them.
I will counsel myself on my temperamental nature and strive to become calmer. I will try very hard to be forgiving to all those who have offended my family, my community, and I will clear my heart of anger, suspicion and grudges. And I will do a lot of prayer on cooling down my fiery temper.
For the full duration of Ramadan, I will kick at least one of my bad habits and make a special effort to speak only to add value and to say only what is meaningful and useful. When I do not have anything useful to talk about, I will remember Allah SubhaanahuwaTa’aala through the beautiful and peaceful words taught by the Rasul (SAW), while paying attention to their meanings and feeling the impact of the words in my heart, my mind, my thoughts and my attitude.
Ramadan is a spiritual cleansing month not only for the soul but also for the body. It is said in a Hadith that the Prophet (SAW) said we should leave 1/3 of our stomach for water, 1/3 for air, and 1/3 for food.
Therefore, this Ramadan, in addition to my spiritual journey, I will be going on a health and weight loss one as well. While I embrace Ramadan for its spiritual benefits and all the positives that it represents, it really is an excellent opportunity to shed some extra weight. It can be very tempting to devour anything and everything edible during Iftar, but the tendency of this is putting on more weight than one had to begin with and becoming unhealthier.
When we fast, we are already resetting our metabolism by the protracted, long overnight fast, as well as the daily fasting. Our metabolism resets and our body begins to change the way it operates. There is no need to consume excess food at Iftar, dinner or Suhoor, but we usually do. And when we do that, our body thinks it is in a state of famine and will store everything we eat as fat, because it is worried about food supply.
Furthermore, eating once a day scares our body and our body starts to shut down and slow down our metabolism. A diet that is less than a normal amount of food intake but balanced is sufficient enough to keep us healthy and active during the month of Ramadan.
I know for me personally, each Ramadan in the past, I have always had a tendency to over eat during Iftar. But this year, I want to be disciplined, eat healthy, eat slowly, and practice constraint by ensuring my diet consists of low fat food. Without a doubt restricting meals to low fat food for thirty days will make anyone loose weight, no matter how slow their metabolism is.
I know Ramadan is not about losing weight, but I would like to use this opportunity, to address my issue of gluttony and use control and constraint on what I eat.
However, while Ramadan is an excellent opportunity for overweight people to lose weight, please note that underweight or marginally normal weight people are discouraged from losing weight during Ramadan.
If, like me, you have decided to make this a meaningful and triumphant Ramadan by moving closer to Allah and identifying areas requiring improvement in your life, may Allah SubhaanahuwaTa’aala assist you and bless you for taking this step in your life.
If one can succeed this Ramadan in living as planned by the true tenants of the Quran, one will be able to look back and rejoice and feel inner joy and true happiness knowing that their Eid day will be the day of celebrating rewards from Allah SubhanahuwaTa’aala.
As we begin this journey for Ramadan 2021, I wish each and every person welcoming this Ramadan a blessed, fruitful, safe and peaceful month.
Ramadan Kareem and Ramadan Mubarak!