Dear readers, I wish you all a blessed holy month of Ramadan. It’s already half of the month down and hopefully, your Ramadan has been filled with generous worship and spiritual abundance. By now we can attest that fasting can be difficult, sometimes more on one day than another, but that’s a given. Really, that’s the whole point. The greatest part of fasting is the act of abstinence. We are meant to abstain from eating and drinking, from sexual activity and immoral conduct. We are meant to be aware of our actions and behaviors, ensuring that we are not defying the rules of this holy month. Yet another significant purpose of Ramadan is to practice good deeds and to accomplish acts of worship. It is indeed very challenging to stick to a plan of goals whilst feeling hungry, thirsty and tired from the day but that only means that the value and reward of your actions are much greater. Many share a common misconception that Ramadan should be all about reading the Qur’an and performing prayer, and reciting surahs and dua’s. While that is of essential importance, what is fundamentally flawed about this misconception is that performing other tasks such as working, studying or even reading a non-religious book are deemed to hold no significance in this month. They are neither spiritual nor pious acts therefore practicing them has no benefits. It’s not that wasting time in reading comic books or binge watching one Ramadan show after another would be considered productive acts to be praised for. Instead, one must take the time to create goals, seeking to achieve them to the best ability in this month, making use of the precious time we have. Here are a few ways you can ensure productivity both spiritually and professionally for the remainder of this Ramadan, because it’s never too late.
Write down your goals
It is especially important to take the time to jot down your goals whether they are spiritual, professional, physical or personal goals. The act of writing down the things you wish to achieve is a very powerful thing. Let this holy month be no exception to this, in fact, this is really the time you should be doing it! Laylat Al Qadr, or the Night of Decree is approaching us very shortly. It is the real deal, unlike the first day of the year where we declare we have New Year’s Resolutions. On the sacred night of Laylat Al Qadr, a Muslim should take their time to seek refuge in Allah, submitting to him through hearty prayer and worship as this will be the defining day where each Muslim’s destiny is revealed for the following year to come. As such, one must prepare for this night beforehand. You should take the time to reflect upon yourself and discover what you would like to change about yourself or achieve in your life. What are your goals and ambitions? This month is here for you to reflect, to ponder about the state of your life and work on areas of improvement. There might be things in your personality you are not very proud from. Maybe you could be kinder or less short-tempered, are you too stressed and dramatic? Think of the traits you want for yourself. Have these goals be with you in tangible form as that will make you more likely to achieve or prepare for these goals. On the Night of Decree, after you’ve connected to your Creator, ask for the things you wish to have as there is no one more generous and knowing than your lord.
Create a checklist of the perfect Ramadan
What does a great Ramadan look like to you? Since you have only a number of days left, now is the best time to look back at the state of your Ramadan. Did you do as much charity as you wished to? How many times did you skip Fajr prayer? Were you late to all your summer course classes? Did nothing really useful during your work hours? What about reading the Qur’an, did you manage to read more than a few Surahs? You be the mastermind of what a perfect Ramadan should look like. Maybe you really value visiting extended family to perform Silat Al Rahm this month but have been lazy about it. Call them tomorrow and schedule a visit? Write down all the things you wish to achieve this Ramadan and see if you can satisfy them at the end of the month so that you look back proudly when it passes, knowing you really did do what you could have done and next year you’ll be more excited to continue this habit.
Have a schedule
You know your busy and free slots throughout the day. When you’re not at work, university or preparing Iftar, arrange a time where you can look at the things you want to achieve and start laying the foundation for them.
You can’t expect to achieve big tasks without some dedication. Preparing the necessary ground work is a smart way to get into the process without feeling suddenly overwhelmed. Stick to this method when you are having a particularly lazy day yet you are still keen about being productive.
Do long awaited tasks
What’s more productive than finally doing the things you’ve been pushing away forever? You’ve got some responsibilities, errands, and tasks you have been ignoring for weeks on end. You know doing them will make you less stressed and more productive. They are a weight on your shoulder and you always think there’s no time to do them when really time is up to you. If only you can get these things done will you feel the rush to carry on the productivity in the following days.
Establish a minimum time frame for worship and satisfy it
Are you not attending to your acts of worship on the greatest month in the year? Are the Ramadan shows swallowing your time away? Sleeping all day? If so, then it would be wise to set for yourself a minimum hour of worship to achieve on a daily basis. 10 or 30 minutes, two hours, it’s up to you. If you’re guilty of slacking, it’s better not to drag it on or you’ll later regret it. Besides, how can you not take advantage of the shaitan being locked away? Tick tock, that’s not going to be the deal forever! Get in those spiritual hours! Whilst reading our holy book is a given, truly dissecting and reflecting upon surahs, verses and the structure of the Qur’an can land you in a perfect zone of gratefulness, peace and intellect.
“Fasting is, first and foremost, an exercise for identifying and managing adversity in all its forms. With faith, in full conscience, fasting calls women and men to an extra degree of self-awareness.” – Tariq Ramadan
Wake up early
Only the worst of all ideas! Right? Well, the thing is, waking up mid-day on Ramadan is not a good idea. You simply miss out on the Baraka of waking up early. You’ll only make the day feel more onerous than it is because your sleep overdose has only gotten you lazy and desperately waiting to break your fast. You’ll want to woosh away the hours and your noisy stomach is not doing you any favors. When you set the alarm clock to 7 or 8 A.M and allow it to wake you up without abusing the snooze, you can get hold of your day to jot down or review your tasks for the day.
Accept the hardship but don’t let it be an obstacle
Yes, fasting can be difficult but you know that already. Instead of accepting defeat on days on end, pick yourself up and adjust to your new condition. Work past the hunger and thirst and you’ll find yourself more and more inclined to get things done and you’ll end up forgetting, at least temporarily about your alleged starvation. Each time you feel too tired to continue your work, remember God and ask for help and guidance.
Drink lots of water upon breaking fast
Your brain function relies on your water intake. The more water you consume once you break your fast can have a substantial impact on your productivity when you are fasting.
Don’t neglect your 7-8 hours of sleep.
What you can’t fix during the day can be repaired overnight. It’s very tempting to stay up late to catch up on every Ramadan show ever aired but that should not be your point of priority each and every night. You need the rest to resume in the morning. It must not be fun dragging yourself from bed each waking day, feeling sleepless and let me guess, still hungry! Don’t be too hard on yourself and lock in those bed hours to avoid being late to your classes, work or other obligations. Besides, sleeping a bit earlier to wake up for Suhoor is an act highly encouraged by our Prophet. When you’re too tired to wake up for Suhoor, you know you not only missed your chance of restocking your body with nutrients but also the chance to pray Al Fajr on time, an ideal time for worship which should be a primary bucket list goal in every Muslim’s book.
Indulge in meaningful reading
There’s nothing quite like feeding your mind off of guidance books that will fill your thoughts with beneficial information.
Whatever you choose to read need not be religious or sermon-themed but it’s preferable that you pick up an Islamic book since it could enlighten and entice you to engage in spiritual activity and reflection in this blessed month. There are many stories about great Muslims across time that we can learn from. Busying ourselves with fruitful reading is always a bonus during this special time of year.
I hope these tips can inspire you to make use of the very few days we have left in this holy month. It’s never too late to recharge and connect to God in a way that you prefer and enjoy.
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