Do you know that feeling when you’ve been waiting to see someone you’ve been missing so much but then the moment you see them, they have to leave again? Well the month of Ramadan feels exactly the same!
Can you believe a whole week has passed on Ramadan already?!
Despite how fast this beautiful month is moving, we should try to spend it wisely to gain all its bounteous blessings.
So, I am guessing by now you have a Ramadan routine, and you already know if you’ve been doing well enough or need to work harder. But if you’re like me, you might be worried that even though you’ve been doing somehow well, you might eventually lose your momentum, right?
Well if that’s the case, then do stick around.
After so many trials and errors, I landed on these 5 easy and obvious – but I promise- useful tips. You can always customize these tips to your liking. But all I ask is to try them this Ramadan and come back and tell me how it went!
Reminder: make Dua to Allah to provide you with success, and barakah (blessings) along with every step.
Tip#1: Fasting doesn’t mean lower performance
Did you know that your brain actually performs better while fasting? Its function, memory, and learning capacity are all enhanced by fasting. 1 Moreover, you’re still fuelling from last night’s suhoor. So avoid cramming the important tasks after iftar, especially that you might find yourself not doing much due to the time spent cleaning the dishes, preparing for Tawareeh as well as spending time with your family.
Hence, it is preferable to distribute your tasks throughout the whole day. You might need to try to see what suits you best in the first couple of days until you find an efficient routine.
Tip#2: Set the right kind of goals
– Realistic goals & expectations
If you quickly realize the goals you have set for yourself are too much to handle, rethink your plan.
It’s okay, do not overwhelm yourself.
Staying consistent with your ibadat (acts of worship) is more important than quantity. You don’t want to start strong but then ditch them completely for the rest of the month. It’s a simple equation:
Consistency > Quantity
There is nothing wrong with taking baby steps to build up your goals.
I used to feel like a failure when I used to bite off more than I can chew, only to realize that these tasks are just way too big for me to handle.
You’ll quickly find yourself in a viscous cycle:
Feel bad for not doing much –> dwell–> feel overwhelmed –> end up doing nothing–> set a big goal to compensate. Therefore, I decided to start small and slowly add on more to my day.
حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ، عَنْ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ عُرْوَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ كَانَ أَحَبُّ الْعَمَلِ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الَّذِي يَدُومُ عَلَيْهِ صَاحِبُهُ.
– Set non-negotiable priorities
If you find yourself not able to fulfill the goals you’ve set out for yourself because of unexpected reasons, then set at least non-negotiable goals. Yes, goals that you cannot let go of no matter what. Like reading the Quran daily with comprehension, praying the obligatory prayers, fasting (obviously).
Our goal though is not to do the minimal effort in Ramadan, this is applicable only when sometimes things that are out of our control can arise.
Tip#3: Even if you slack for many days, NEVER GIVE UP
If you’ve been slacking off for this past week and you have done absolutely nothing, please start now. As long as you’re breathing then keeeeep going.
And here’s why:
First, you still have a chance to take advantage of the wonderful month with its endless blessings
Second, if you give up, you will regret it immensely after it’s over
Third, you might be lucky enough to observe Laylat AL Qadr
The Night of Glory is better than a thousand months.*That night the angels and the ˹holy˺ spirit1 descend, by the permission of their Lord, for every ˹decreed˺ matter.*It is all peace until the break of dawn.
Put in the effort every single day and keep trying. Most importantly ask Allah with sincere intentions to help you and He will inshAllah.
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارِ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ الْعَبْدِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ سَعِيدٍ – وَابْنُ أَبِي عَدِيٍّ عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ، – وَهُوَ التَّيْمِيُّ – عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِذَا تَقَرَّبَ عَبْدِي مِنِّي شِبْرًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ذِرَاعًا وَإِذَا تَقَرَّبَ مِنِّي ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ بَاعًا – أَوْ بُوعًا – وَإِذَا أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً ” .
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said:When My servant draws close to Me by the span of a palm, I draw close to him by the cubit and when he draws close to Me by the cubit, I draw close to him by the space (covered) by two armspans, and when he comes to me walking, I go in a hurry towards him.
Tip#4: Avoid overeating
This is pretty self-explanatory. Avoid over-eating to avoid crashing later on and feeling lethargic. Doing so will keep you energized enough to perform Taraweeh and night congregation.
When the athan goes off, drink water and eat your dates and then go pray. When you’re done please eat slowly and stop before you’re full. Remember according to our prophet (PBUH) one-third of your stomach should for food, one-third for air, and one-third for water. Check the 5 Sunnah eating habits to know more.
I want to emphasize that praying before eating is important because even though you are starving, the simple act of praying Maghrib will help reduce your craving even by a little leading you to potentially eating less, and more importantly, it’s the Sunnah of Rasullullah (PBUH).
Tip#5: Don’t spend most of your time cooking
Please hear me out, cooking for your family gives you barakah and good deeds. Plus if your intention is for the sake of Allah, each meal cooked is considered feeding a fasting Muslim, and that alone is wonderful.
BUT do not spend half of your day in the kitchen cooking three different meals and 5 side meals, when you can spend most of your time doing ibadat. Plus cooking a lot of food will most probably go to waste and that will consequently remove any barakah.
Tip#6: Take a power nap
Take a 10 or 15-minute power nap in the middle of the day to rejuvenate your energy supply. This will allow you to power more effectively through the day inshAllah.
As-Sa’ib ibn Yazid said, “‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, used to pass by us in the middle of the day – or near to it – and say, ‘Get up and take a midday nap. Any time spent here after this is for shaytan.'”
According to Dr. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep expert, and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, a 15 to 20-minute nap will increase your alertness as well as motor performance. 2
Tip#7:Enjoy every moment
Enjoy the beauty of Ramadan, the amazing feelings of making Dua before you break your fast, praying Taraweeh and the fact that the shayateen are locked up!
Learn about Allah to be able to love Him and therefore enjoy worshipping him.
The grand take-away
Most importantly, do plan your days in advance. It doesn’t have to be thorough and complicated planning. Simply, do it each night or even when you wake up for Suhoor or Fajr prayer, have at least a basic outline of your day. That way you don’t have to spend time and energy on deciding what to do next with every task.