How to have a productive Ramadan
Fasting long hours and balancing this with both worship and our daily routine can get quite strenuous. Many of us seem to just about ‘get through the day,’ yet are too exhausted when it comes to waking up for suhoor or maintaining our salah with great concentration. However, there is a way to prevent this. What we often abandon, are the many other aspects of our routine that work as a foundation to keep us going. Consequently,we will find our fasting routine enveloped with more productivity in which we do not tire ourselves out as much.
Here are a few factors that used to be carried out by our Prophet (s), which will help make your Ramadan run smoothly, Insha’Allah.
Take care of your diet
We do not want to enter the month of Ramadan with poor health and a lack of healthy eating. This would affect our fasts greatly, making us get tired and lazy very easily. As a result, it will be hard to reap the benefits out of this blessed month.
Before and during Ramadan, be sure to eat your five fruit/veg a day. Make sure you eat food that is high in vitamins and iron. This will boost your energy, preparing you for the fasts yet to come. Also, fill only a third of your stomach when you are having your main meals. Do not over-fill your stomach, as this can not only harm your digestive system, but will make your craving levels high, therefore making the forthcoming fasts difficult for you.
Ash-Shafi’i (rh) said: “I have not filled myself in 16 years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clean understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.”
Drinking plenty of water is a must! Do not think that you could replace drinking water with juice or soft drinks. It is highly important that your water intake is reaching around eight glasses per day. This will prepare you well for Ramadan, preventing you from being fatigued, restless or dizzy during the long hours of fasting. Water increases energy, flushes out toxins and improves the immune system. All of these factors are highly beneficial when fasting.
Get into the habit of reading Qur’an regularly
Too many of us only open up our Qur’ans in the month of Ramadan. We then find ourselves struggling to read or not being able to read with a flow. This is the consequence of abandoning the Qur’an for many months, as we feel that there is not much importance of reading the Qur’an outside of Ramadan.
This Ramadan, put great focus on how you are pronouncing each letter and word. Set yourself a target to read the whole of the Qur’anin this way. Even if it’s impossible to achieve this, at least you will try your very best.
Reflect on the translation of the Qur’an
Ponder and reflect on the translation of the Qur’an gaining your own understanding of the many lessons the Qur’an teaches us. Use your reflections as a means to contemplate and as a source of motivation to keep reading. Aim to be someone who exhibits the teaching of the Qur’an and allow this to be a platform to reach greater heights during the month in itself.
“Surely, the verses of the Qur’an are treasures, so when you enter a treasure, try not to come out of it, until you know what’s in it.” – Ibn Al-Jawzi (rh)
Fix your sleeping pattern
If you are someone who really struggles to sleep at night, or someone who over-sleeps, it’s time this habit changes to reap the benefits out of Ramadan. Too much or too less sleep already affects productivity and this will only increase if precautions are not taken from now.
Look for a quiet and relaxing activity that you could carry out an hour before sleeping. This needs to be something that doesn’t require much energy such as drawing, reading a book, contemplating in a quiet corner or reciting Qur’an. Relaxing your mind with a calming activity will help you sleep more peacefully.
“And it is He Who makes the night a covering for you, and the sleep (as) a repose, and makes the day Nushoor (i.e. getting up and going about here and there for daily work, after one’s sleep at night or like resurrection after one’s death)”[Qur’an, 25:47]
If you are someone who oversleeps regularly, then you need to be more disciplined, having the will power to rise up when your alarm goes off. Instantly, read the morning waking up du’aa, your morning adkhaars, seek refuge in Allah from shaytaan and get out of bed. Draw back your curtains to let any morning light in, make your bed and then start getting ready to begin your day. Your sleeping pattern will definitely transform during Ramadan, however fixing your routine from now will enable you to have more quality sleep after a long day of fasting.
Repent and make du’aa for ease
Repentance not only decreases sins, but cleanses the heart. As a result, you will find yourself being more productive in your daily routine, as you are carrying a clean and pure heart. Our Prophet (s) used to repent 70 times a day. Though he wasthe best of mankind, Prophet (s) still found this act to be of high importance.
“Sins to a heart are like oil drops on a cloth, unless you wash it immediately and vigorously, it will permanently stain.” – Ibn al-Jawzi (rh)
Train yourself to start making proactive du’aas as well as reactive du’aas. This means, rather than awaiting a situation to occur, make du’aa for it beforehand. For example,make du’aa that Allah allows you to extract the fruits out of the last ten nights of Ramadhan from now. Make du’aa that Allah accepts your sadaqah. Make du’aa that Allah gives you the strength, passion and motivation to soldier through every fast.
“If response [to your du’a] is delayed, don’t worry! Understand He’s the Master & Most Wise in planning and the Most Knowing.” – Ibn al-Jawzi
Read up on what the Prophet (s) used to do
Our Prophet (s) used to have the simplest of lifestyles, yet the most productive one. Reading up on the Seerah will bring hope that we do not need to be extravagant in feeding ourselves after our fasts, rather immersing ourselves in ‘ibaadah is what is more beneficial. The less we remind ourselves of the sunnah of the Prophet (s), the more likely we are to fall into a habit of waiting to feed our stomachs. This prevents us from putting greater focus in nourishing our souls with continuous ‘ibaadah.
Anas Bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (s) used to break his fast with fresh dates before he prayed. If he did not find fresh dates then he would use dried dates. If he did not find that also he drank a few sips of water.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawood)
May Allah (swt) grant us ease in the journey through this blessed month. May he protect us from laziness, fatigue and a lack of productivity, so that our fasting nourishes our souls and awakens our heart in worship.