Ramadan in the Time of Corona
Muslims look forward to Ramadan for many reasons…
It is a time for community, for sharing, for worship and most importantly for self improvement and seeking mercy. This Ramadan will be very different to the ones of our past, and it may lack many of the beautiful things we look forward to, but that does not mean you cannot find new ways to appreciate and enjoy this blessed month. Fasting is both an act of devotion to Allah SWT and a way to purify ourselves. However, fasting is also difficult for people and requires good physical and mental health. The current global pandemic and lockdown in the UK, it is all too easy to become despondent, overwhelmed and develop bad habits. There are reports of people coping with anxiety, addictions, over-eating and unable to find a balance with work and life.
The problems and struggles you face may feel more burdensome than ever, but don’t feel alone. Many, if not most of us are struggling in some way and this time is a test that we can overcome by being kind, patient and proactive for ourselves and others. The below is a guide on how to make the best of this month and take care of yourself. We hope it helps and we would love to hear how you plan on spending Ramadan and what you will do to make the most of it!
1. Eat and drink well
Be mindful of your well being It is tempting to fall into bad eating habits during Ramadan. During this time many of us might struggle to even find ingredients and be tempted to focus on easy or fast food.
Because fasting is for much of the day, it is easy to overeat during suhoor or iftar, or not eat enough high energy foods to keep you going. Ensure you eat foods that keep your energy up and avoid overdoing the fried foods! Incorporate as much fruit and vegetables into your food as you can- you can eat them raw, add them to meals or even make juices and smoothies!
Eat foods that make you happy too. Give yourself a treat on Jummah or if you really need chocolate as a pick me up! Avoid too much caffeine – you know it will mess with your sleep!
Drink a lot of water…We know that it can be hard to do, but you need to stay hydrated. If you have any underlying health conditions, ensure you check what is recommended for you and don’t push your body beyond its limit!
2. Rest Well
We all want to make the most of the time we have in Ramadan and that means staying up to pray or recite Quran/dhikr. We are all different and many people need very little sleep to function, but if you are struggling to stay awake during the day, make sure you take find ways to catch up on sleep. You can take naps, or sleep earlier. Many people will still be working or studying during the day, so remember that you can also do dhikr or pray during the day during scheduled breaks.
Be consistent in your worship so you develop a routine. Ensure you do some physical activity such as walking or workouts at home etc. and keep your body healthy.
There are lots of online resources for this and you are allowed out for exercise…just be safe, wear your masks and keep social distancing! Find the balance for yourself and ensure you are keeping healthy so you can fast comfortably for the whole month. Ensure you switch off from social media and the news to allow yourself to rest your mind!
3. Make it your Ramadan
Try to keep to the good habits and actions of past Ramadans and do the things you would do despite the lockdown within the restrictions. This can mean dressing nicely for some iftars, having an iftar via distance with friends of family and taking part in community events online. Utilise online services such as Jummah Khutbahs, pray in jamaat with your family as much as possible and give a little charity on Friday, if you can.
4. Make Time for Worship
Although many of us are at home during this lockdown, we still have our responsibilities and duties. Plan your time well, and keep consistent. Having a routine will help and allow you to stay focused on work and worship.
There is a lot of good advice on how to be productive in Ramadan- look up tips and do what works for you!
Frontline and key workers will struggle a lot this Ramadan, so be kind and helpful to anyone you know working in these roles.
5. Focus On Your Closeness to Allah SWT
Although this will be a difficult Ramadan for most of us, it is also a time to give yourself a much needed spiritual boost.
Make the intention to spend more time focusing on improving how you worship- breathing, concentration and understanding.
Read translations and tafseer and try to understand the meanings and wisdom of what you read and recite. Make sincere dua list what you want for yourself and ask Allah SWT. There is no better month than Ramadan to make dua and ask for mercy and favour.
6. Be Good to Others and Yourself
Do not feel bad or give up on yourself if you are struggling to fast or pray.
Try your best and focus on staying healthy. Remember that meditation, fasting and prayer have hugely positive benefits for your mental health- focus on them as medicine for yourself rather than tasks you have to complete.
Don’t focus only on yourself. Make sure you are helping out whoever cooks and cleans at home. Do you part and don’t leave it to one person! Send any nice messages or reminders to you see to your friends and family whilst you cannot see them physically.
Make dua for your loved ones and all those struggling and suffering across the world. Giving charity in this month carries immense reward and there are so many people in need. Remember those working to help us during this time and those suffering. Give locally and internationally. Make the intention to be kinder and more merciful even after Ramadan ends.
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