Once again it’s that time of the year that we always eagerly look forward to, the blessed and holy month of Ramadhan. As has been the tradition, this column celebrates Ramadan-il-Kareem as the Islamic heritage month, by featuring inspiring stories of Muslim Heroes and achievers across the centuries. This year, the heritage celebration will start on a different note. Due to the current state of the world, occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, there is a need for us to find ways to observe this annual Ibadah successfully, despite lockdown constraints. In the following piece, our brother Jiblu Rahman discusses how we can achieve that. Please read on and Ramadhan Mubarak!
Alhamdulillah, the blessed month of Ramadan is upon us!
This holy month brings the opportunity to worship Allah (SWT), to reflect, to reach out to others and to grow spiritually. However, this year is a little different….
Yes, with the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ll all be spending Ramadan indoors at home.
This means no taraweeh prayers at the mosque, no family visits, no communal iftars and no volunteering on the ground in our communities.
It’s a strange time, to say the least. But: it’s still a special and blessed period! And we just have to learn to adapt to our new situation.
Yes, we can still reap the rewards of Ramadan and get closer to Allah (SWT). Whilst we may be at home and under lockdown, we can still have a productive Ramadan.
Here are our top four tips to have a productive Ramadan in self-isolation.
- Make a Ramadan schedule
By making a daily routine, you can keep track of your activities and spiritual progress.
Lockdown or no lockdown, it’s always a good idea to set a schedule for Ramadan. It helps us to plan, set goals and keep track of our days.
This is especially important during the current lockdown, where we are always in the same place and need a routine to maintain some sense of normality.
However, there’s one important thing to remember: set realistic goals.
Yes, we all start Ramadan with a mind full of things we want to do. But it’s important to be realistic in what we can achieve.
Consistent ibadah and good deeds are better than pressuring yourself at the thought of “failed” goals and neglecting your health and personal self-care.
So set up a timetable of how you’ll spend your day and work in regular ibadah practices e.g. how much Qur’an you’ll read, how long you’ll spend in extra prayer, what good deeds you’ll do.
You’ll find the consistency will help with the stress of lockdown and ensure that you achieve your goals, insha’Allah!
- Eat healthy
Try to avoid fried foods and dishes with a lot of sugar and salt – they will only dehydrate you and make you sluggish!
When it comes to food during Ramadan, rule number one is without a doubt: don’t overeat at iftar time!
Overeating or eating heavy, fried or otherwise starchy foods will leave you feeling sleepy and bloated.
To be your best self, ensure that you eat healthily.
You need energy to keep you going throughout the day. This is where a good suhoor is vital.
Eat slow-releasing foods such as porridge, with fruit, yoghurt and cereals to keep you going throughout the fasting day.
Not eating enough will mean you won’t have enough energy for reading, prayer and carrying out your daily tasks. Likewise, over-eating will leave you feeling sluggish and wanting to over-sleep.
So prioritise eating good-quality, healthy meals. And: plan ahead by making a pre-planned menu or cooking rota or even cooking in bulk.
This will ensure that you’ve got healthy, nutritious food at hand and you aren’t going hungry or rushing for fast-food at iftar time.
- Focus on self-care
Looking after your physical and mental health is a religious duty, so do take good care of yourself.
Self-care is incredibly important, not just for our physical health but also our mental wellbeing.
During the lockdown, it’s crucial that we establish good self-care practices. This not only ensures that we’re happy and healthy, but helps keep us motivated and productive.
During Ramadan in particular, with the extra challenges ahead, it’s therefore critical that we make time for ourselves. We need to ensure that we engage in activities that help us feel relaxed, as stress-free as possible and centred within ourselves.
After all, Allah (SWT) commands us to look after our health!
So if you’re self-isolating alone and missing friends, family and loved ones: schedule regular Skype calls or phone calls. Or even better: why not break fast together with a Zoom iftar?
It’s Sunnah to maintain good relations with loved ones, so reach out for a friendly chat, communal virtual fast or just to let off some ‘pre-hangry’ tension.
Likewise, a regular exercise routine will keep you fit, healthy and mentally “unfogged”. Join an online keep-fit regime or any suitable alternative into your ibadah routine.
It’s important to make time for yourself and activities that you enjoy. Pray to Allah (SWT), take that relaxing bath, have a kick-about in the garden or go for a long walk (ensuring that you maintain your distance from other people outside your household) to ensure that you stay healthy in mind as well as body!
- Simplify Sadaqah
Ramadan is a time of worship to Allah (SWT) and remembrance of others less fortunate than ourselves. And no matter where we are, we can always reflect and reach out to people in need.
This is especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here in the UK, vulnerable people are struggling with their health, financial worries and loneliness.
With food supply chains disrupted and a lack of financial and medical resources, millions of men, women and children all over the world are also increasingly vulnerable.
But the good news is that, even from the safety of our homes and limited options to go outside, we can still help.
Helping elderly neighbours with their shopping, donating your Zakat online and volunteering for the NHS are just a handful of ways you can make the most of sadaqah (good deeds) during Ramadan.
Men, women and children in crisis need our help more than ever. Let’s not forget them as we pray and worship Allah (SWT) during this holy month.
So, there are our four top tips to make the most of Ramadan. A month of endless blessings, alhamdulillah!
May we all have a blessed Ramadan and make the most of this wonderful time. Ameen
Jiblu Rahman works with Islamic Relief UK!