It’s almost time for my annual kick in the butt.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which Muslims fast from morning to evening, begins this year on Saturday.
Each year, Ramadan serves as a reminder to practice my faith. All the work I do throughout the year – praying daily, reading the Koran, doing charity – I make a special effort. In fact Doing so is expected to recharge and maintain some momentum.
In addition to abstaining from food and drink (yes, water too), smoking and sex during the day, Muslims generally refrain from sinning and instead strengthen their endurance and patience levels, increase their understanding of sacrifice and gratitude and, most importantly, God. , Or strengthen your relationship with Allah.
Fasting is considered a pillar of Islam and is essential for healthy people to do so. Young children, the elderly, menstruating women, pregnant and lactating women and travelers all get a pass.
Getting through a month of fasting is hard, but there are some things you can do to make it easier and more meaningful, for yourself or your Muslim friends.
Generally, I start the month strong. I get up most of the time for pre-fast food, which is called Sehri, Sehr or Suhur. Earlier this month, the fast will begin at 5:30 a.m. in the Los Angeles area.
Tip no. 1: Don’t give up seriously
I’m not usually a big breakfast person, but I know from experience that regrets will come sooner rather than later for Sehri.
In 2022, most daily fasts will revolve around 14 hours. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar month, Ramadan begins about 10 days before each year. When the month coincides with winter, daily fasting can be as short as 10 hours.
Tip 2: Pay attention to what you eat
It is advisable not to eat salty, greasy and greasy food in Sehri. They will only lead to bloating and dehydration. It is advisable to reduce your caffeine intake in the days leading up to Ramadan, so you do not have to skip cold turkey on the first day. You’re just asking for a caffeine withdrawal headache otherwise.
For the first few days of Ramadan, I’ll stock up on protein early in the morning: hard boiled eggs mixed with spicy tomato sauce and white rice, and maybe even beef shami patty. I
Others who can stand it speak highly of oatmeal as a source of energy. Dates, nuts and lentils are also good in this regard and help in the feeling of perfection to boot. I don’t particularly like wheat bread but it’s acceptable for avocado toast, an easy enough thing to prepare half asleep.
At the end of the 2nd week of Ramadan, I have definitely started setting the second alarm because the first one is being ignored immediately. As the days lengthen, the fast begins a few minutes earlier each day and ends one or two minutes later.
Answering the second wake-up call instead of the first is less time for food, so as Ramadan progresses, for me Sehri is usually arranged in a bowl of raisin bran (because … fiber), and even some yogurt. Help with a sense of digestion and detoxification.
Tip number 3: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Generally, I find it worse to feel thirsty during Ramadan than to feel hungry.
Staying hydrated is important throughout the day. I swallow the lemon-lime gutta-percha and the water that can be swallowed in Sehri.
Tip # 4: Work from home if possible
Since March 2020, when the Kovid-19 epidemic began, I have been working from afar. This year I am gratefully working from my third Ramadan home.
Fast work has made fasting much easier for me. Sehri and morning prayers, after Fajr, I can sleep for about an hour before taking my daughter to school. Going to bed early after eating is not good for health. But I’m not particularly interested in starting a dishwashing or laundry load when I can save my strength instead. Do what you can.
I don’t have to work, thank you, do physical labor or stand on my feet all day. I can go from bedroom to office space in my pajamas and what I want to do on my laptop.
The privacy and comfort of home allow me to (theoretically) take a quick break from the daily prayers that Muslims should say in the afternoon and in the afternoon.
Tip # 5: Take time for self-reflection
After work is the best time to look inwards. Prayers may be appropriate to reflect, but so is reading, whether the Koran or other spiritual material.
A short walk around the neighborhood (if it’s not too hot) can also be meditative.
Tip # 6: Sleep well. Similarly, cold water rains
On working days, I usually plow all day and try to go to bed early instead of going to bed. But on weekends, I usually sleep in the afternoon. Some of the best sleeps of my life have been during Ramadan. There is also the added benefit of killing time before going to bed with a meal called iftar.
On hot days, which are usually difficult to fast, a cold bath or a quick dip in the pool can go a long way in making you feel refreshed.
Tip 7: Don’t eat too much during or after Iftar
After sunset, food is available again. It was customary to break the fast with the date of Prophet Muhammad, and many Muslim families, including my own, do the same. I try to keep my Iftar meal light: dates, samosas or end rolls, some apple or orange slices and cranberry juice. I want something to take the edge before evening prayer, Maghrib. After that, I eat a little more, almost always with meat.
I used to think that daily fasting would help me lose weight. But almost every Ramadan, I manage to put on a pound or two. When not eaten for a long time, the body’s metabolism slows down. And after practicing self-sacrifice throughout the day, real effort is needed not to indulge in the evening.
During the epidemic, my family did not gather with other Muslims for community iftar. For an introvert like me, it’s better to stay home and not have to dress. But iftars allow you to meet family and friends that you haven’t seen in a while, and they offer you the opportunity to taste a part of the ummah, largely the Muslim community, which is supposed to transcend racial differences. , Ethnicity, class and nationality.
Tip # 8: Try participating in Jumma and Tarawih prayers
A few years ago, I attended a Friday, or Friday, prayer at a different mosque in Southern California. It was an interesting experiment for me to explain what the various mosques emphasized during Ramadan. Mosques also offer special Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan. In those long late-night prayers, the entire Qur’an is recited in Arabic throughout the month.
Tip number 9: Try to do community service and pay zakat
Southern California has several Muslim-led social service organizations, including ICNA Relief, Uplift Charity, Olive Community Service and Sabil USA. During Ramadan, when Muslims are tired of fasting all day, the need for volunteers is great. You can help pack and deliver food boxes for those in need, for example, or help with diaper distribution or sort of donated clothes for refugees.
Ramadan is also a welcome time for Muslims to pay their annual zakat, or 2.5% of their wealth, in charity. It is not necessary to pay zakat during Ramadan, but many Muslims choose to do so because of the spiritual reward of the month.
Tip 10: If you do not fast, you can still support Muslims during Ramadan
Non-Muslims do not need to fast to show unity during Ramadan. Of course, those who seek to fast the whole day, or even part of the day, are welcome to do so. Fasting certainly creates empathy for those who do not have food security.
Often, fasting people need some understanding. Be patient with them. They may not be thinking clearly because they have not eaten for a long time and their normal sleep is disturbed.
Their lips may be cracked and their mouths may be dry because they are not able to suck water.
Their breath? Yes, it does. You can tell them that there is a hadith, or a saying of Muhammad, that the breath of a fasting person is better than the fragrance of musk for God. Actually … don’t point out their foul breath. Just make a mental note of why this is the way.
For Muslims, it may be tiring to explain what Ramadan is when you are fasting. Consider saving that conversation for another time, when the person has eaten and is well rested. (Or maybe re-read this article?)
Generally, it is okay to eat in front of a fasting person (life goes on, after all), but the level of sensitivity and tolerance is going to vary. Does it almost always feel aggressive when someone asks you why? Are not Fasting Don’t make a woman tell you she’s menstruating.
Finally, don’t forget to say “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramzan Kareem” to your Muslim friends. Happy Ramadan. It means a lot to gain support, the recognition that self-improvement is worth the effort.
Fasting for about 30 days every day is challenging, but it is a kick in the butt I need every year. Hopefully, following these tips will help us all to benefit from this year’s Ramadan.