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4 Ramadan Facts That Are Often Neglected – And How To Fix That!

4 Ramadan Facts That Are Often Neglected – And How To Fix That!

The human being likes building habits. They are reassuring, they help us stay focused and fulfilled, they make us feel more comfortable, they give us the impression that something feels familiar and so forth. And there is nothing wrong with that – so long as those habits don’t take us away from our religion and from our Creator.

Ramadan is a month during which many of us follow habits that we have established a long time ago, or maybe that our parents, extended families, spouse, friends, or even communities have established for us. It becomes a problem when those habits make us lose sight of the true essence of Ramadan. In this article, we look at four facts about the blessed month of Ramadan that are often neglected, and most importantly, what we can do to change that so that we can make the most of this special time of year insha’Allah!


1. Ramadan is the month of the Quran

Allah SWT says in the Quran:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ

“The month of Ramadhan [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 (extra evening prayers during Ramadan) 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 every 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 or struggle to read it, 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 to 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.

2. We should eat less during Ramadan, not more

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 (healthy foods rather than fried, fatty, or sugary options), 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.

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3. Ramadan is about doing more, not less

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. Take the time to rest so you have the energy to do extra ‘ibaadah, just try not to while away the time you’re fasting or after iftar in laziness or overindulgence.

How to avoid this mistake?

  • We can’t say it enough: read the Quran!
  • Make lots of dua’s! 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 and take a short nap after praying Dhuhr if you can.
  • Think about small but consistent deeds you can do throughout the month – check out our Parents’ section for some inspiration

4. Eid is NOT during the month of Ramadan

You might wonder: “What does this even mean? Isn’t Eid the day that concludes Ramadan?” Yes, and no! Eid al-Fitr literally means the celebration of the breaking of the fast, so there is absolutely no denying that it is related to Ramadan and to the fact that we have been fasting during this blessed month. But it’s also good to remember that Eid marks the first day of the Islamic month that comes right after the month of Ramadan, the month of Shawwaal. A common mistake that many Muslims around the world make is to neglect the very end of Ramadan – the last few days, usually whatever comes after the 27th night – because they are already thinking about Eid, planning for Eid, getting gifts for Eid, buying a new outfit for Eid, preparing food for Eid, etc. Usually these preparations involve a lot of time wasted on unnecessary things, huge amounts of money spent on unnecessary things, and negative behaviors caused by all the stress and commotion around the celebrations which we can’t deal with properly because we are wired and exhausted. None of us can afford to neglect these last few days or hours of the blessed month of Ramadan. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to prepare for Eid of course, we just need to be careful with how we go about it. It is always about finding that sweet balance that Islam is all about.

How to avoid this mistake?

  • Use the month of Sha’baan (the month before Ramadan) to get Eid gifts, outfits and any other Eid-related planning done, if possible.
  • Try and keep Eid things simple: we don’t need to be extravagant in order to make Eid a very special time – and we should definitely make it special! For instance, think about a potluck brunch instead of trying to prepare dozens of lavish meals yourself, keep the decoration simple, and invite a limited number of family members and friends. This will drastically cut down on the amount of time you will need to get everything ready.

Ramadan is such a precious time of year in the life of a believer. Let’s try to make the most of it this year insha’Allah!

This article was originally published in our Studio Arabiya Times magazine (Spring 2023). CLICK HERE to read the whole magazine!

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