Ramadan Kareem! it’s the fasting season again. This is easily one of my favourite parts of the year. The vibe, the spirit, the excitement, the discipline. Always gives me some kind of spiritual rejuvenation. Last year I spoke about Why Ramadan Is Important. This time, I’d like to talk about how we can make the most of it, given it’s only 1 month in the year.
In today’s post, I’ll talk about how we can develop lasting habits in Ramadan, how to schedule our time effectively to finish reciting the Quran, certain practices to incorporate and why we should embrace the disruption.
Developing habits in Ramadan
One of the greatest things about Ramadan is the consistency that it requires. We have to wake up before sunrise every single day to eat something before we commence the fasting. As many of you may already know, waking up that early in the morning has incredible benefits.
The other thing it helps with is discipline. We cannot eat or drink anything (yes, even water) for the entire day until sunrise. This helps us control our urges and snacking habits, which occur quite often when we’re just bored.
Another aspect is that it helps build consistency with praying. In Islam, we pray 5 times a day. Because of the spirit of Ramadan, we tend to be more diligent with those prayers and try to pray them in congregation on time.
Fasting is also another incredibly healthy habit that this month allows us to work on. It’s not always easy during the year to fast, especially given how we structure our entire lives around eating. Ramadan allows us to practice the habit of fasting and makes it easier to keep steady on it afterwards.
These little habits are all fairly simple yet quite remarkable. The impact it has on our day to day lives can be very rewarding, if we approach it with the right mindset and correct intention.
Scheduling your time to recite the Quran
As with my usual reading tricks, there are certain ways to effectively find time to read more Quran during this month. The concept of habit stacking comes in play here. This is essentially implementing a new habit before or after an existing habit, since there would be less effort that way. So, what you can do after each salaah is sit down and recite as much as you feel comfortable to. This will make it more manageable, if praying 5 times a day is an existing habit.
Let’s say your objective is to try and finish reciting the Quran over the 30 days of Ramadan. Considering there are 30 chapters (juzz or paras) in total, that equates to roughly 1 chapter a day. Reading a chapter in a single setting is not necessarily easy for everyone, so you can break it down into more digestible pieces.
In the Quran that I use, a chapter is roughly 20 pages. Using the habit stacking method, you can divide those 20 pages by 5, which equates to reading 4 pages after each salaah. If you use this method consistently over the entire month, it will allow you to recite all 30 chapters.
Once the habit if formed after Ramadan, you can just keep the momentum going by sticking to it afterwards.
In addition to the previous habits that I’ve mentioned, there are a few key boosters that are easier to implement during the month of Ramadan. These are typically done throughout one’s life, but can be incorporated specifically if you haven’t already formed them.
- Giving charity regularly and being grateful
- Listening to Islamic lectures / podcasts
- Waking up to pray Tahajjud (in the last 3rd of the night)
- Praying in the masjid 5 times a day for each salaah
- Making zikr throughout the day (remembering Allah often)
Here are specific things to try and avoid doing, to ensure that you make the most of your time and to help you cut down on bad habits in general:
- Don’t sleep the whole day (for those of you on holiday)
- Try not to stay up till too late playing games or watching TV (in fact try and cut that out completely this month)
- Cut down the time you spend on social media (delete unnecessary apps if possible)
- Don’t overeat when it’s time to break your fast
Embracing the disruption
The last topic I’d like to talk about is the disruption that often occurs in this month. We leave our comfort zones to a certain extent. We can’t stick to our usual habits. We need to adapt to certain changes, like waking up early to eat or staying away from snacking all day.
If we can embrace the disruption and use it to our advantage, it will make the adaptation process a lot more efficient. This will not only allow us to make the most of Ramadan, but it will also aid us in staying consistent with the habits afterwards.
Ramadan is an incredibly blessed time of the year. We should be very grateful to be experiencing it yet again. Time is your most valuable asset. This is the prime time to invest it in your spirituality and Islamic habits. The return on the investment is immeasurable. Don’t miss out on your chance. You only die once.