As billions of Muslims prepare themselves for the Holy Month of Ramadan I thought it would be important for each of us to understand the significance of the 9th lunar month. You’ll find that I put together a few tips to allow each and every person fasting to attain a better connection with God by the end of the month. Remember fasting isn’t something for only Muslims. You’re not Muslim? You think this post is a waste of time? I wholeheartedly disagree. If you have a Muslim friend ask them to team up with you and try celebrating this beautiful month. On the other hand if you don’t have a Muslim friend then be adventurous and try it yourself. Ramadan literally means scorching heat and if you haven’t gotten the memo this Ramadan falls in a month of intense heat. God willing Ramadan will fall towards the end of June. But don’t fret you can do it! Although, I have full confidence in you and your ability to complete this month; as your sister I would like to inquire on how ready we truly are for this blessed month. The month of Ramadan is a time to make and break habits. By the end of Ramadan you should feel a sense of peace with your Creator and hence, yourself. What are your goals for this Holy Month? What do you want to better or change about yourself? Some reading this blog post might be asking themselves, “wait a minute isn’t Islam a religion of hate and lies and killing, and blah, blah, blah?” Errrrr, wrong! Islam means submitting your will to do the Will of God. Therefore, all those things you might’ve heard on Fox news are lies. You think I’m bluffing? Well then I won’t be able to convince you otherwise until you try learning about what Islam is yourself. With that said, I plead with you to try fasting this Holy Month of Ramadan.
Fasting has been prescribed upon us as a people because it helps rid our bodies of ailments of the mind, body, and the soul. What I mean by that is that when you fast you’re purposely restraining yourself from food. I must admit that I love myself some good food but too much food believe it or not is not good for you. Have you eaten before and felt your body swell up…as if it was the end of the world? Now think about sins. Have you done something that was the opposite of good and you felt uncomfortable; so uncomfortable that you can’t sleep at night? When you fast you’re clearing these ailments. Some have the misconception that fasting is for losing weight. I’m sorry to break it to you but fasting wasn’t given to us to lose weight (although it could be a bonus) fasting was prescribed for us to strengthen our moral characters. When you abstain your bodies from food, when you can watch everyone around you eat and still you choose not to consume that food what have you taught yourself? It starts with a D…..DISCIPLINE. Fasting is a peaceful weapon; a weapon against the evil forces of this world. Fasting helps us become One with the Most High. No not the One from Matrix but the Ultimate Oneness with God. Life is all about struggles and overcoming those struggles. Please don’t give excuses about not being Muslim or you love food too much (yes I’ve heard them all).
Take this month as entering a brand new semester of classes. You’ll be exposed to different professors, maybe different students, and definitely different homework. Open your heart and allow yourself to be wrapped in the new information you’ll be learning in this new classroom. Submit yourself to the wonders of the Holy Month. No matter what faith you claim fasting is something that has been practiced by our ancestors. It is true that every faith might fast differently but during this Holy Month of Ramadan let’s learn how to fast as a Muslim would; as one who submits his/her will to do the Will of God. After my long rant on persuading you to fast let’s go into some tips to make your Ramadan the best you’ve ever experienced. 🙂
1) Set a GOAL– A lot of times we start something without setting goals for ourselves. True your goal should be realistic but set a goal for yourself. When you have something to look forward to it makes your journey much easier. One of my goals this Ramadan is to become a more honest person. How? By increasing my studies in the Word of God, by going into the community and getting involved, and by striving to always tell the Truth. What are your Goals?
2) Prayer is Key– Yes fasting is great but if we’re not setting time aside to pray our fasting isn’t going anywhere. Remember during this month we’re trying to attain a stronger relationship with God. I once saw a quote that said, “Fasting without prayer is like writing without ink.” For Muslims God has assigned to us 5 daily prayers: Fajr (Morning prayer), Zuhr (Noon prayer), Asr (Afternoon prayer), Maghrib (Evening prayer), and Isha (Night prayer). If you’re not Muslim no worries because you can still participate. If you don’t feel comfortable then watch. I promise you that the sight of congregational prayer is one of the most inspiring wonders of the world. Furthermore, if you’ve been slacking on your prayers during the year use this month to fix that. The worse thing we can do to ourselves is destroy our direct connection with God.
3) Read Al-Kitab (The Holy Qur’an) – What better way can you become closer to the Most High than by reading His Words. If your Qur’an is dusty…well that’s not good…but don’t be too hard on yourself because this Ramadan will be your gate way to never allow dust to surface your Holy Book again. Don’t forget after reading to share the knowledge you’ve attained. Hint, hint I’m trying to give tips on ways to do more Sadaqa 🙂 (Please also note that there are many other books out there which you can add to your library to read during this Holy Month)
4) Please Hydrate yourself– Dehydration is not cool. Allah (God) has not prescribed fasting for unnecessary discomfort. Yes there’s struggle but dehydration shouldn’t be one of them. Make sure you wake up before Fajr prayer and have Suhur. Suhur is the small meal you take before dawn. Drink lots of water during this time. June and July days are long and hot. You don’t want to pass out so drink as much water before you start your fast!
5) Do a Good Deed– Yeah I get it, it’s hot outside and you would rather stay inside and rendezvous with your air condition and fan but I’m sorry you shouldn’t. Get out of your house and do something good. Go to a soup kitchen. Go to an orphanage. Go to a nursing home. Go somewhere and do something where you’re giving back. God has blessed you with life. God has given you an opportunity to fast so please let’s all strive to give back and inspire those around us.
6) Can’t Fast No worries– If you’re pregnant, sick, or traveling you might not be able to physically fast but you can still fast morally and spiritually. You’re just as responsible for the things you surround yourself around. ZAKAT, SADAQA, ZAKAT, and more SADAQA! We should all be doing both obligatory charity (Zakat) and voluntary charity (Sadaqa). Remember God has not prescribed fasting to make life miserable. It’s all about YOUR NIYYAH (INTENTIONS).
7) Surround yourself with Positivity– Misery Loves Company. I’m sure you’re aware of this cliché statement. But in all actuality it’s not cliché at all. For some reason bad is always attracted to good. Watch out for those who are tainting your Holy connection with God. Yes, unfortunately I must admit that people like this exist. Put up your Armor of God and don’t let what others say impact you negatively. Also, stay away from NEGATIVE music, movies, social media, and anything that will bring your spiritual energy down. There are plenty of nasheeds out there (look them up on YouTube). There are also really good and positive lectures on YouTube. My personal favorites include The Honorable Min. Louis Farrakhan, Bro. Ishmael Muhammad, Bro. Nuri Muhammad, Sis. Yasmine Mogahed, Sis. Dr. Ava Muhammad, Bro. Nouman Ali Khan, Bro. Dr. Zakir Naik, Father Plfeger, Imam Siraj Wahaj, Imam Sultan Muhammad, Rev. Willie Wilson and so many more. The brothers and sisters I’ve just mentioned are some of my favorites but there are so many great people out there doing great things you just have to type it in your search engine. Don’t be lazy. Also, if you don’t agree with what these brothers and sisters have to say don’t be nasty and vile about it. This is a learning experience. Ramadan should be a time for rejuvenation and peace. If you don’t understand then research, ask questions, do more research, and ask more questions.
8) Congregational Prayer– I know I spoke about prayer a few tips ago but I need to further emphasize how important prayer is during this special month. The best prayer is done in a unit. Pray your Salat with family and friends. You will receive more Hassanat (Good Deeds).Think about it: you’re praying with others who are striving like you to attain oneness with God. #BANG #BANG 🙂
I pray that this post helped shine a light on the beauty of Ramadan and how much we should all look forward to it. Out of all these tips please remember to set a GOAL. Trust me it will take you far (this is coming from someone who has been fasting for over 10 years). Remember to be humble and by God’s Grace you will be able to make it through this month feeling rejuvenated and HEALTHY! Don’t over eat when you break your fast! Social facilitation can cause us as humans to eat more because everyone else is eating. Please don’t. You’re doing yourself a disfavor. Your body will feel horrible and you won’t be able to pray Taraweeh prayer (prayer after Isha prayer during the month of Ramadan). Control yourself. Pace yourself. You can do it but you have to believe you can. Let’s have a positive attitude about this holy month and prepare ourselves to open our arms to a waterfall of blessings. Put on your lab coat and your goggles and let’s get ready to experiment with the Holy Month of Ramadan 🙂
That Black Muslim Girl
Ramadan Mubarak to All!
(P.S. And yes I will be carrying miswak (all natural teeth cleaning stick) with me during the month of Ramadan)
Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts. They mean a lot to me! 🙂