Overeating During Ramadan

Ramadan is the time of year where people go crazy with food! We have soups, samosas, cakes, sweets, juices, tea, coffee, dates, you name it! The list could go on all day! However, we must have self control and understand that our body has rights over us, we should be careful what we put in it, not only the food, but the amount!

Miqdam ibn Ma’d reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “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.” Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2380

That being said, I understand that it is very tempting to overeat, especially at iftaar. However, if you plan ahead then you can really decide and control what you are going to eat and how. An excellent thing that many families do, including myself, is that we break fast with dates, water and a bowl of soup. Then we go to pray salat ul Maghrib, come home and have a nice light dinner. Go pray taraweeh, come home and have dessert with tea or coffee etc.

Even if you haven’t been doing good so far, plan and prepare now, it’s never too late to start. In the past my typical Ramadan would be to break fast with  dates, water, soup, samosas, some sweet treats (not all the time) go off to play (sometime we would just have dates and water, pray first and come back) and then we would chill for a few hours, pray taraweeh and have dinner. It was like having two dinners a couple hours apart from each other. So we ended up eating far too much, being crazy full and also having no energy. As you might not know, carbs makes us crash, and we have a lot of carbs during Ramadan which is why we feel so tired and have no energy at Taraweeh.

Luqmân said to his son: “O my son! If the stomach is full, one’s mental processes go to sleep, one’s wisdom is dulled, and one’s limbs refrain from worship.”

Something that I also want to correct this year is my sleeping schedule, and my eating schedule can interfere with that. If you are having dinner at say ten o clock or eleven, you are going to be too full to sleep and end up staying up for suhoor, which is what I ended up doing almost every night last year. And that way you end up not eating much for suhoor either because you are not hungry.

Allah says: “O children of Adam, take your adornment to every mosque. Eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” [Sûrah al-A`râf: 31]

Umar observed: “Whoever eats a lot finds no pleasure in the remembrance of Allah.”

Use this blessed month as a training ground to exercise your self control and make a plan, even though Ramadan has already commenced, and strive to get your eating and sleeping habits in order.

 

Ramadan is near – Stay active and keep worshiping

As children, the phrase: “Ramadan is coming” brought joy to our hearts. Knowing that Ramadan was a month where we have guest, delicious food, night trips to the mosque; where family and friends come together to fully appreciate this unforgettable month. As children we didn’t pay much attention to what we were supposed to do and not to do, but as we’re getting older, we’re realising that Ramadhan is much more than Maghrib  countdowns and good family vibes, and sometimes we may be confused with what to do as we become young adults.

Many of us are focused on the food and inviting guests during this month, to the point that we miss the actual benefits of Ramadan. We get caught up in an everyday routine and we forget the actual purpose; to praise Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, in Ramadan, which is a widespread problem in our Ummah today .

Things to do in Ramadan

  • Sleep at night, not the day

It’s easy to get your nights and days turned around as you get up to prepare Suhur before Fajr and pray Taraweeh in the Masjids after Isha’. Make it your goal to not be amongst those who waste precious hours in the day and find ways to keep yourself occupied during the daytime i.e reading Quran, make dua, etc.

  • Try to be active during the day by worshiping Allah and increasing your deeds

When preparing for this Ramandan make a goal list. Think about the type of person you desire to be and pick a few characteristics or deeds and break it down into obtainable goals and work on them this Ramadan. One such goal may be to indulge in less screen time and social media. Choose goals that will help you fill your day and try and stay off that phone until after iftaar.

  • When you cook, try to spend less time in the kitchen. Eat light foods and make easy meals so that Taraweeh isn’t difficult and you can worship Allah at night

Remember that Ramadan is not the month of ‘feasting’ but rather a month of training and endurance against your Nafs, self/desires, a vital stepping stone for helping you build your relationship with Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, throughout the year. Eating a lot and ‘feasting’ will leave you tired and overly full making Taraweeh extremely difficult. This can lead to missing out on such a golden opportunity for gathering rewards.

  • When the last 10 day have approached, don’t spend all your time preparing for Eid.

The greatest rewards are in the last ten days, espically Laylatul Qadr, a day that is better  than a thousand months – that is longer than most people live. As stated in Surrah al-Qadar(97):3: “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months”

A night wherein Allah sent down the Qur’ân to the lowest heavens. Our good deeds on this special night are magnified in value, so that it is as if we have been offering those deeds for 1000 months.

  • Increase in kindness to those around you. Give your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters their rights.

Use this blessed and beloved month as your training ground to becoming a better version of yourself and choose take the high road when provoked by others.

  • Keep yourself hydrated and satisfied when eating and drinking (make soups to maximize on hydration) and help your mum in the kitchen or around the house.

Staying active during Ramadan

Health! We all spend time trying to get to a body size, that we wish to be, or just want to eat healthy in general. Making time to workout during Ramadan can be difficult especially when you’re fasting and want to make time to sleep before getting up for suhoor.  The following is a solution that you can implement during this Ramadan:

  1. You can workout 1-2 hours before Isha  or before Fajr
  2. After taraweeh you can rest until 1-2 hours before suhoor and then you can workout.

It’s important to remember that spiritual and physical health are both vitally important and therefore we should strike a balance, all the while not forgetting the true purpose of Ramadan. Use this beautiful and blessed month as your training ground to prepare both and insha’Allah, by the end of the month you will see the fruits or your hard work.

 

Dua: its virtue and importance

Dua (supplication to Allah) is one of the many gifts Allah swt has bestowed upon His slaves. It captures the very essence of eebadah and Tawheed, and it is an act which Our Lord loves. The prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than dua’a” [sahih al jami no.5268], illustrating that it is an action which holds much significance in our religion. To highlight this further, in another hadith, rasul sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “The most excellent worship is dua’a” [sahih al-jami no.1133] and once again, this shows its importance. Like many things in Islam, the topic of dua’a is broad, it can be tackled from different angles and discussed in length. The purpose of this post is to encourage Muslims to remember this act of worship, and to make it something that we consistently perform in our day to day lives. I will discuss some of the benefits of dua’a below.

A believer is always in need of Allah. Whether we are going through hardship, or our lives are running smoothly, it is in our nature to need Allah: “O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (free of wants and needs) Worthy of All Praise”, notice that in this verse Allah is not solely addressing His slaves, but the whole of mankind, illustrating that it is the entire human race is in need of Our Creator. When we need something from Allah, we ask Him by way of dua: “Ask Allah for everything, even the lace of your shoes. If Allah does not provide, it will never be available.” [Ibn al-sunni, no.349- hassan. Supported by at-Tirmidhi and others.] SubhanAllah! The prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam is telling us to ask for everything, even something as small as a shoelace, because Allah swt is the All Provider. At this stage in your life, there may be things which you are desperate to have, have you considered asking Allah for them? Perhaps you consider it impossible to acquire, but it is important for us to think positive about Allah. Recognize that everything is in His hands, and that He can make the impossible possible. “And He will provide for Him from places he never imagined. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient.” [surah at-Talaq]

Dua is one of the ways through which we build our connection with Allah, it is a means by which we can grow closer to Him. A beautiful feeling settles upon a believer when he realises that Allah has responded to his request. A similar feeling should occur when Allah doesn’t respond, it could be that He is saving you from something great that you do know of or realise. Allah swt says: “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. And Allah knows but you do not know.” This verse brings comfort to a believer, knowing that whatever situation he finds himself in, then it is good for him. It could be, for example, that you want to marry a specific person. You ask Allah for that person but you don’t end up having them, before you become frustrated and upset at your Lord’s decree, take into consideration that He may be saving you from something great. We do not see or know what Allah swt Sees and Knows, from your perspective, this person is your dream spouse. However, Allah knows that he/she will make your life a misery if you end up with them, for example. He/she might not be able to offer you that happiness you want from them. It could be that this spouse was in fact okay, but Allahs swt has someone even better for you. A balance of patience and trust is what it takes, and do not worry because beautiful things await.

This life tires us. Some of us may not even be able to remember the last time we felt peace and tranquillity, everything from money to studies to kids stresses us. Dua’a is a relief from distress, worry and anxiety. When you make dua’a, you are settling your affairs with Allah, acknowledging that He has power over everything, and that He can make a way out of every stressful situation for you. Dua’a is an action, it is something that prophets and messenger always performed, and we see the benefit of this action as we read the Quran. They called upon Allah, He answered and helped them in unimaginable ways subhanAllah.

And so, brothers and sisters, I urge you to always make dua’a to Allah whether your life is running smoothly or you find yourself in a hard situation. Settle your affairs with him, and always remember to make dua’a for yourself, friends and family for the hereafter. When you see the Muslims being oppressed and harmed, do not feel hopeless at the fact that you cannot physically do something to help them, grant them your dua’as. Allah is in control after all, and you would be surprised the change that one dua’a can bring.