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Tips to Increase Your Ramadhan Take Away

Raya Al-Jadir offers an array of suggestions to help increase your Ramadhan worship and blessing intake.

• Lack of food, sugar and caffeine will undoubtedly affect our mood but that is not a reason to vent your anger on others; Remember – if they are fasting then they are in a similar situation to you and if they aren’t fasting then you don’t know what they might be going through. Be in control of your mood just as you are in control of your fasting.


• Fasting does not mean misery; smile as you leave the house, smile at the people you meet on the street, smile at the animals, plants, nature, smile when at work. It costs nothing and has been scientifically proven to require less muscle usage than frowning. Looking happy may encourage others to see the beauty of your faith.


• Shopping for this holy month is not a competition or a race to stockpile all of the Ramadhan specials and speciality items. Islam is a religion of moderation and our behaviour should reflect this; don’t push people out of the way with your trolley, make space for the disabled and elderly, queue in an orderly manner and don’t try to beat the other shoppers.  The best things come to those who wait and who knows what may befall you if you rush and what you could miss out on if you don’t take your time?


• When at work or school devote your time, energy and concentration wholeheartedly. Be loyal to your work/studies as you are to praying and fasting, as work is a form of ibadah if done correctly. Arrive on time, treat colleagues and customers politely, complete tasks adequately and try your best to love what you do. Pace yourself, but don’t get sloppy; continue to do your best during this blessed month.


• Connect with people, not just family and friends but strangers too, whether it is via greetings, a simple smile or even inviting them to share dinner/tea. If your neighbour is elderly or someone who lives alone, ask them over to your house – an extra plate will not make a difference to  your housekeeping – or just send them over some food.


• Recycle your leftover food and general waste: if iftar was not fully consumed then it can be stored for the next day. Otherwise, give it to people who might be in need or homeless or even take it to your local mosque where they might serve the food for suhoor. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was a strong proponent of sustainable use and cultivation of land and water, proper treatment of animals, plants and birds and the equal rights of users; put simply, he was a pioneer of the environment. When clearing your household waste at the end of the day, remember that by recycling papers, plastic bottles, glass, etc. you are protecting Allah’s (SWT) creation: the surrounding environment.


• Serve the community. fasting has many benefits such as teaching us patience, endurance and empathy. Try to be involved in a community activity or cause that will be like sadaqah. It could be keeping your street clean, ensuring the less fortunate within the area are offered help, giving a weekly/daily class to children/adults or even contributing to a community project such as a soup kitchen for the homeless where you could all break your fast together.


• The mosque is a communal place/house of Allah (SWT) so treat it respectfully and better than your own home. Don’t throw your rubbish on the ground, prevent your children from messing the rugs/walls, etc.  Ignore those unruly kids at the masjid or, better yet, distract them for a bit so their parent can get their ibadah on. Don’t stare or talk about people who seem ‘different’ within the mosque. If you are interested in learning about their disability or whatever difference they may have, ask them directly but politely. Although essentially you should just accept people as they are; after all, they are human beings just as you are, created by Allah (SWT) as you are.


• You can’t rebuild your likely not-perfectly-accessible masjid overnight, but during this Ramadhan be sure to keep disabled parking available to those who need it. When you park your car make sure you are not blocking anyone’s path or a ramp/slope that allows wheelchair users or buggies to cross the street. And after Ramadhan help to get your masjid up to code so everyone can use it!


• Extend yourself. Don’t just give salams to your besties; remember the greeting is a right we have over each other. Make an effort to give it to everyone as we all should.


• Refrain from judging others. If you see someone eating, try to understand why they may not fast – they may have various reasons. Also, it is not your place to comment or judge people’s actions.


• Islam is a religion of peace, knowledge and coexistence; this month, focus on those elements by being forgiving of people’s trespasses on you, seek out knowledge in an area you are lacking and reach out to people of other faiths, especially by inviting them to experience an iftar.


• Ramadhan essentially is a family month when everyone eats together at iftar, goes to the mosque and visits people, so don’t waste these opportunities. Be socially active and make it a month different to the rest of the year.


• Health and sport is an important aspect of Islam. Think about both during the month, exercise/walk daily and eat well and healthily; just because you are fasting there is no need for excessive consumption. Do not obsess over food but rather enjoy the fresh air and the natural beauty of Allah’s creation. If you are unable to fast, don’t pity yourself – Islam is about ease of access so do other good deeds like giving alms and feeding the poor instead.


• Be considerate always and to everyone and forgiving of those who for their own reasons were not.


Raya Al Jadir is a freelance translator, writer and proofreader. She has also taught English to refugees and migrants as a volunteer at The Migrants Resource Centre and worked at both Amnesty International and Equality and Human Rights Commission. Raya is a keen blogger and campaigner for disability rights issues and has her own site ‘Careless’. Her main interest is promoting disability awareness, especially among Arabs and Muslims. You can read more by Raya at www.accessless.com and join her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Accessless.