01 Feb A Mindful Ramadan
Why do we fast
"O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who were before you, in order that you may learn taqwa (piety)". (Quran 2:183)
Taqwa essentially means “awareness of God”. It is a quality in a believer’s life that keeps us constantly aware of God. A person with taqwa desires to do good and avoid evil for the sake of God. Taqwa necessitates patience and perseverance. Fasting teaches patience, and patience leads to the high position of taqwa.
The Spirit of fasting
The Prophet (SA) said that fasting is a shield. It protects a person from sin and lustful desires:
Fasting is a shield. So, the person observing the fast should not use obscene language and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice,'I am fasting'". (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim mentions:
"The purpose of fasting is that the spirit of man is released from the clutches of desire and moderation prevails in his carnal self, and, through it, he realises the goal of purification".
Fasting for a full month every year trains a person in piety and self restraint. Believers rejuvenate their spirituality, God consciousness, and cultivate their devotion to God by restricting their body’s appetites during daylight hours. The most important goal of the fast is to restore the centrality of God in our lives.
Fasting helps us live positively
Fasting makes us more aware of our blessings, making us more grateful and motivated to do good. According to the Quran, the goal of Ramadan is to:
"complete the term of fasting and glorify your Lord for what He has guided you to, and so that you may be among the grateful."
When these blessings become more apparent, we can become more conscious of how we use these blessings and in turn think of those who are less fortunate than us.
It isn't just about the hunger
We come to the understanding that prayer is better than sleep, generosity is better than consumerism, and true happiness lies in nourishing the soul and being content with your sustenance. May Allah bless us and guide us this Ramadan.
Tips for a mindful Ramadan
It can be challenging to stay focused and fully engage in the spirit of Ramadan. Here are some tips to help you have a mindful Ramadan and maximize its benefits.
- Set Intention: Start your Ramadan by setting a clear intention to focus on your relationship with Allah and to cultivate good habits and behaviors.
- Plan Your Day: Plan your day to include time for prayer, reflection, and reading the Quran. Set aside time to engage in acts of charity, volunteer work, or simply reach out to friends and family.
- Stay Hydrated: Hydration is important for overall health, especially during the fasting hours. Drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Eat Mindfully: When breaking the fast, be mindful of what you eat and how much you consume. Eating smaller, healthy meals is a better way to nourish your body during Ramadan.
- Practice Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness throughout the day by focusing on the present moment and avoiding distractions. Take time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and actions and try to stay calm and centered.
- Connect with Community: Ramadan is a time for community, so consider joining a mosque or community center to share your spiritual journey and connect with other believers.
- Give in Charity: Giving in charity is an important part of Ramadan. Whether it’s through financial contributions, volunteering time, or simply offering support to those in need, Ramadan is an opportunity to spread kindness and compassion to others.
Ramadan is a time to reflect on the blessings in your life and to cultivate gratitude, humility, and compassion. May Allah accept our acts of worship.