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10 Mistakes To Avoid During Ramadan

10 Mistakes To Avoid During Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is commonly called, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the month of fasting, and it is certainly true that there is great emphasis on abstaining from eating and drinking. But Ramadan is so much more than that, and we easily lose sight of the important behaviors that we should adopt during this time in order to make the most of this blessed time of year.

In this article, we list 10 common mistakes that people easily fall into during Ramadan, and we offer a few tips to try and overcome them to maximize our success during this blessed month insha’Allah!


Mistake #1: Neglecting the Quran
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى says in the Quran:

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ

“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:185)

You might wonder, how is it even possible to neglect the Quran during Ramadan when we are so diligent about trying to attend Taraweeh every night? The reality is that very few people are fully focused on the Quran during Taraweeh prayers. For many others, Taraweeh has become a social gathering, something that they do mechanically, out of habit, or something that doesn’t resonate in their hearts because they either can’t focus (too much food, too little sleep) or can’t understand what the imam is reciting (no or little Arabic skills, poor sound system – you name it!). As Ramadan leaves us, the dust continues to accumulate on the mushaf (bound copy of the Quran), sadly sitting on the bookshelf at home.

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Build the beautiful habit of reading the Quran everyday prior to the beginning of Ramadan. No need to overwhelm yourself: it can be as little as one ayah (verse) a day.
  • If you can’t read Arabic, now is the time to learn so that you can decipher words in the Quran by Ramadan insha’Allah. It is okay – and even recommended – to read translations of the Quran in your own language, however, nothing will ever do justice to the original version. Therefore, learning Arabic should be on any Muslim’s priority list. Additionally, there are extra rewards when it comes to reading the Quran in Arabic, even if someone doesn’t understand what they are reading, and this is especially true during Ramadan. We recommend focusing on reading the Quran in Arabic as much as possible during Ramadan and using the time before Ramadan to delve into translations or explanations in your own language.
  • During Ramadan (and ultimately, we should do this all year long), make sure dedicate a special time of the day to Quran reading. For instance, right after praying Fajr, before breaking your fast, or around Taraweeh prayers are usually good times to dedicate to Quran reading, even if it is just for a few minutes.


Mistake #2: Overeating

Sometimes influenced by the society we live in, we tend to think that because we don’t eat the whole day, we have to double up on servings when iftar comes around. This leaves us heavy and sleepy for Ishaa’ and Taraweeh, and defeats the purpose of the blessed month of Ramadan during which our focus should be on our ‘ibaadah (acts of worship).

Miqdam ibn Ma’d reported: The Messenger of Allah said:

مَا مَلَأَ آدَمِيٌّ وِعَاءً شَرًّا مِنْ بَطْنٍ بِحَسْبِ ابْنِ آدَمَ أُكُلَاتٌ يُقِمْنَ صُلْبَهُ فَإِنْ كَانَ لَا مَحَالَةَ فَثُلُثٌ لِطَعَامِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِشَرَابِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِنَفَسِهِ

The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath. (Sahih, Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2380)

How to avoid this mistake?

  • When it is time to break your fast, try to follow the sunnah of the Prophet and have some dates and water. Don’t eat a whole meal yet.
  • Eat and drink slowly, sitting down and not standing.
  • After breaking your fast but before eating dinner, take your time to pray maghrib, pray your sunnah and make dua instead of rushing through those beautiful prayers. There is so much blessing in those moments, we can’t afford to miss them because our focus is on our stomach.
  • When you then sit down for dinner, be smart about your food choices (more about that below), eat slowly, be mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth, and let your stomach settle before heading for seconds – we usually don’t need seconds. Remember that one of the blessings of Ramadan is that we learn to feed our souls with more worship instead of more food! Yes, Ramadan food is yummy, but ultimately, Ramadan is not about the food.
  • Try to start your dinner with a bowl of soup – it will help rehydrate your body and will fill your stomach with something light which is exactly what it needs.


Mistake #3: Following a poor diet

Allah says in the Quran:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُلُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

“O you who have faith, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him that you worship.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:172)

When we fast all day long, we tend to crave things that are usually unhealthy, and when it’s time to break fast, we can become lazy about preparing healthy meals as we think that it will take a little longer than unhealthy options like a fast food meal (in reality though, it’s faster to prepare a healthy meal yourself, so long as you have the right ingredients in your fridge and pantry).

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Meal planning and prepping are great ways to make sure that the food you will eat for suhoor and iftar will be nutritious and bring your body and mind what you need during this blessed month. The best way to do this is by making grocery lists prior to the beginning of Ramadan, and, if possible, even prepping some meals and pop them in the freezer for instance. This will also save a lot of precious time that can be spent on acts of worship during Ramadan insha’Allah.
  • A good rule of thumb is to avoid sugary drinks, fried foods, fast food, and anything that basically carries “empty calories” – meaning rich foods that don’t bring a lot of (if any) nutritional value to your meal, such as soda and sweets.
  • Also, when you fast, make a grocery list prior to heading to the store and try to do groceries early in the day when you are not hungry yet, to maximize your chances of making smart food choices in the store. When we are hungry, our stomach tends to control what we buy!
  • Check out some of our Ramadan recipes here!


Mistake #4: Skipping Suhoor

It can be tempting to “sleep in” during Ramadan and wait until the last few minutes before sunrise to wake up and pray Fajr. However, there is so much to gain from eating the pre-fasting meal called Suhoor, even if it is just water and a few dates, or maybe a fresh smoothie full of vitamins and good nutrients that will give you energy for the day insha’Allah.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah said:

تَسَحَّرُوا فَإِنَّ فِي السُّحُورِ بَرَكَةً

“Take the pre-fasting meal. Verily, there is blessing in the pre-fasting meal.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1923)

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Have the intention to wake up before Fajr, with enough time to eat suhoor, and make dua to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى to help you in the process.
  • Don’t eat too late at night, and more importantly, don’t eat too much, as it will make it easier for you to be hungry at suhoor time.
  • If you dread the preparation piece so early in the morning, prepare your suhoor the night before so that it will be ready when you get up.
  • Plan something yummy for suhoor, to motivate you to get up!
  • Stay hydrated – a full bladder might help wake you up for suhoor!


Mistake #5: Missing Tahajjud

Tahajjud is a voluntary night prayer (in sets of two rakaat, or units – and it can be just one set) and it is recommended to pray it in the last third of the night. Ramadan is therefore the perfect time to make this a habit since we get up anyway for suhoor, as there is great emphasis on this special voluntary prayer in the sunnah of the Prophet :

Abu Haraira رضي الله عنه reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying:

“The most excellent fast after Ramadan is God’s month. al-Muharram, and the most excellent prayer after what is prescribed is prayer during the night.” (Sahih Muslim 1163a)

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Have the intention to wake up earlier and plan ahead! You will need enough time to prepare and eat your suhoor AND pray tahajjud before Fajr comes in.
  • It might be best to pray tahajjud right away when you wake up, and then have suhoor.
  • Educate yourself about the importance of tahajjud: there are so many virtues and blessings associated with this special voluntary prayer and the time at which we pray it (which is also great for making dua and feeling closer to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) – the more you know about it, the more motivated you will be to get up!
  • Find yourself a tahajjud buddy: it might be easier to get yourself up to pray if you have someone to do it with. This could be your spouse (which will also add virtues and rewards), a parent, a sibling, a friend, etc. Just make sure to keep renewing your intention for Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and not for that person


Keep scrolling to read about 5 more mistakes and how to avoid them!

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Mistake #6: Missing duas before starting and breaking the fast
We know how it is: when there are just a few minutes left before Fajr comes in, all we want to do is finish that piece of bread and empty that cup of water! When maghrib is about to be called, we can’t focus on anything but that plump and sweet date in front of us and that amazing meal that smells so delicious in the kitchen! These two times are so precious though, and we can’t afford to miss out on them. These are the perfect times to make dua’.

How to avoid that mistake?

  • Be intentional, prepare yourself mentally and make sure to allot at least 5-10 minutes before Fajr and before Maghrib to just making dua’.
  • You can also prepare a dua’ list ahead of time so that your focus will be fully on those supplications and not on the food that’s sitting around! We have some Ramadan dua’ lists you can download here!


Mistake #7: Not paying attention to our behavior

When someone asks us what Ramadan is all about, we usually start our response with fasting and restraining ourselves, sometimes we also include extra prayers and charity. But how often do we explain that Ramadan is also about being on our best behavior?

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah said, “When one of you wakes up in the morning for fasting, then he should not use obscene language or behave foolishly. If anyone abuses him or fights with him, he should say twice:

إِنِّي صَائِمٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ

‘Indeed, I am fasting! Indeed, I am fasting!'” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1151)

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Learn more about what Ramadan is truly about: bad behavior during Ramadan can often be due to pure ignorance, as some people might not realize that Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and drink the whole day. Knowledge is therefore often key!
  • Try to be mindful of your behavior by writing a journal to keep track of your negative behaviors, what triggered them and how to avoid them in a positive and healthy manner.
  • Learn the dua’ above.
  • Good rule of thumb: if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all. Another good rule of thumb: when in doubt, keep your mouth shut as well!


Mistake #8: Neglecting our other duties like praying on time

We put a lot of effort into fasting and doing extra acts of worship during the blessed month of Ramadan, and this is great! However, we can’t use Ramadan (consciously or not) as an excuse to neglect our other obligations, such as our five daily prayers or getting to school or work on time.

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Remember that everything we do is tied to our deen, not only our direct religious obligations such as the five daily prayers, but also other life responsibilities such as fulfilling our duties at work, submitting our homework on time, or taking care of our family’s basic needs, among other things. We are responsible in front of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, even during Ramadan.
  • Do make the most of the special month of Ramadan to do extra (extra prayers, extra Quran reading, extra service to others) but be realistic about how these extra deeds will fit into your schedule once your obligations have been fulfilled. Your priority should always be to make sure your basis is covered – whatever extra you can do is exactly that: extra.
  • Since our five daily prayers are of utmost importance, download or write down their times for the month of Ramadan in order to mentally prepare yourself to pray within their times and not miss one. You can also download an app on your phone or get an adhan clock so that you can hear the call to prayer.


Mistake #9: Oversleeping or being lazy

Ramadan can be exhausting, and we need to make sure we get enough sleep to keep up with our daily life and responsibilities. That being said, we very easily fall into oversleeping and lazy mode during Ramadan, blaming our fast and extra acts of worship like Taraweeh for our lack of energy. We can’t be late to work or school everyday during Ramadan because we couldn’t wake up on time as a result of being up all night to pray. Our responsibilities need to be fulfilled. Additionally, there is so much blessing and virtue to gain from Ramadan, and spending this holy month sleeping or doing nothing beneficial would defeat its very purpose.

How to avoid this mistake?

  • We can’t say it enough: read the Quran!
  • Make lots of duas! Ask Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, sincerely, to fill your time in Ramadan with barakah (blessing) so that you can make the most of it and nourish your soul with it insha’Allah.
  • Do your best to engage in beneficial activities and avoid the pitfalls of Netflix and the likes. Prepare a list of beneficial activities prior to Ramadan and make it your go-to list by default whenever you feel yourself drift away.
  • Be realistic about what you can or can’t do during Ramadan: fasting means saving energy through other means, so that we don’t become lethargic by lunchtime. Be smart about what you eat for suhoor and iftar, avoid intense physical activity unless you are used to it or aim for the last hour or so before maghrib (if you are not used to working out, don’t start during Ramadan!)
  • Set a special Ramadan routine to make sure you get enough sleep to function properly. For instance, try your best to go to sleep and wake up around the same time everyday throughout the month.


Mistake #10: Wasting time on activities that are not beneficial

We live in a world of distractions. Social media, smartphones, YouTube, Netflix… Some of these platforms have even been purposefully designed to waste time, to keep their users scrolling or watching so that they can make more money, subhanAllah! Unfortunately for many Muslims who observe Ramadan, these platforms – which they already use heavily in normal times – become even more addictive as they are used as a distraction to forget hunger, thirst and an overall feeling that “there is nothing else to do during Ramadan”.

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Be honest with yourself as to what constitutes a beneficial activity versus a waste of the precious time that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is giving you. Scrolling social media to find a new suhoor recipe might not be the most beneficial – a quick search on the Internet should do.
  • If you think you will easily fall into wasting time on social media or other platforms, consider deleting these apps from your phone, turning off notifications, and suspending your subscription during the month of Ramadan.
  • Prepare a list of beneficial activities prior to Ramadan and make it your go-to list by default whenever you feel like checking your social media accounts or doing anything that wouldn’t be beneficial. Reading the Quran, offering extra prayers, and doing small acts of kindness to those around you should be included on that list.
  • Use our FREE Ramadan Planner to help you prepare and make the most of this special month!


O Allah, allow us to reach the month of Ramadan and experience its many blessings and virtues, ameen!

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