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How to Maximize your Ramadan experience

Radiyah Beyah

Ramadan is here, and it is once again time for us to reflect and ask ourselves what we can do to maximize our blessings? The first question we need to ask ourselves is what does Ramadan mean to us?  Ramadan isn't a month in which we simply abstain from food and drink. Ramadan is the month of Mercy, the month of Forgiveness, the month of Peace, the month of the Quran, the month of reflection and submission. Think of Ramadan like a chrysalis and you start out as a caterpillar and you leave Ramadan shedding your previous husk, fully rejuvenated, ready to take on the rest of the year. When I think of Ramadan, I instantly feel a warm and fuzzy  sensation in my heart. I remember standing side by side with those I love in prayer. Listening to my Grandfather recite and lead us in Taraweeh, the smell of sweet Udh burning, and the sounds of Allah’s remembrance. I think of the sound of the adhan after Suhoor telling us to stop eating, and the sound of the Adhan at Iftar. Let's think about how we cab maximize our experience this Ramadan.

Connect with Muslims this Ramadan

            Everyone experiences Ramadan differently, however everyone has the same goal each Ramadan. Muslims reverts look to connect with their new Muslim brothers and sisters. Muslims who have recently moved into a new neighborhood look for brothers and sisters to share iftars with. This is another reason to download the Salams app. The Salams app has a Connect feature that allows you to connect with other Muslims in your community. Try out the connect feature this Ramadan and invite more Muslims to your Iftaars and community events. Ramadan is about coming together as a unit and helping your community, so that you can increase your rewards. 

Strengthen your Iman

 In Ramadan there are 5 things that we have to be mindful of:

1. Fasting
2. Salah
3. Laytul Qadr
4. Tarwe’eh
5. Charity-giving back to your community.
This is part 1 of my five part Ramadan series, that will break down these five major components of Ramadan. 

Seeking Forgiveness

         One of the major goals of Ramadan is attaining forgiveness and strengthening our Iman. It is our duty to strive for perfection and do our best to perform dhikr. Ramadan is a month of Mercy, a month of peace, a month of forgiveness.

What Fasting really means

“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful”. [2:185]

         Everyone knows that fasting during the month of Ramadan is obligatory. However, fasting does not mean simply abstaining from food and drink. A fasting person abstains from idol talk, gossip, harsh words, lying, and getting angry. 

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1903, 6075)
And the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “If any one of you is fasting, let him not utter obscenities or act in an ignorant manner, and if anyone insults him or wants to fight him, let him say, I am fasting.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1894; Muslim 1151)
 During your fast, try your best to stay calm, and limit your speech so that you can receive the full reward of fasting. While you are fasting, you are in a constant state of dhikr (remembrance). Fasting strengthens one’s Iman and makes one conscious of Allah. It is the only good deed that stays between you and Allah. The only one who knows if you're truly fasting is Allah. Your fast could be the one thing standing between you and the fire of Jahannam. 
On the Day of Judgement, “Fasting will say: O My Lord I prevented him from food and desires so accept my intercession for him.” [Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu’aim, Hasan]. 

Physical Benefits of Fasting

       Fasting benefits you spiritually and physically. Fasting cleanses our body of toxins and forces our cells to undergo processes that they couldn’t in the presence of a food source. It forces the body into gluconeogenesis, a state in which the body must produce its own sugar. The liver converts non-carbohydrate materials, such as lactate, amino acids, and fats into glucose. Since our bodies conserve energy during the fast, our basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy our body burns while resting), becomes more efficient. This in turn lowers our heart rate and our blood pressure. The second process that our body undergoes while fasting is called ketosis. Ketosis occurs after 10 days of fasting, in which our body uses stored fat as its primary power source.  This process helps our body balance its blood sugar levels. 

          In order for your body to undergo this purification, you have to be careful what you put in your body during Ramadan. You should not eat a big breakfast or a big dinner, in an attempt to make up for not eating during the day; this ruins the body’s cleansing process. The Prophet (ﷺ) ate three dates and drank water for Iftar.

 In a hadith, as narrated by Anas (R.A.)  “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him.) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if there were no (fresh dates) then with dry dates, and if there were no (dried dates) then he would take a few sips of water. (Narrated by Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi. It has been classed as hasan in al-Irwa.

      There is so much wisdom behind this specific diet, as I previously stated in my “Halal foods in the Quran Blog,” dates are a natural multivitamin. They are filled with all of the nutrients our bodies need. You should also eat moderately when breaking your fast, after “Iftar.”  During Iftaar you often see large amounts of food, and you cooked up such a spread while you were fasting. You see the delicious chicken curry, goat curry, naan bread. Please stop yourself from indulging too much. If you eat too much your stomach will feel so full and standing in Taraweeh will be difficult for you. It is best to eat a light dinner, our stomach cannot contain the amount of food we usually fill it with. 

          When we fast our stomachs shrink, but when you attempt to over fill it you're forcing your stomach to expand, which can disable the body's purification process. Fasting gives your digestive system the break it needs to recuperate. When we limit our food intake, you give your organs the chance to rejuvenate. This rejuvenation process causes your stomach to shrink back to its normal size. When you eat large meals your stomach expands to adapt and accommodate your desires. Over time, this can cause your stomach to stretch and become larger than it was intended to be.

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said the following statement,

“No man fills a container worse than his stomach. A few morsels that keep his back upright are sufficient for him. If he has to, then he should keep one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for his breathing” [Al-Tirmidhi].

 So, don’t try to force yourself to eat, remember your eyes are bigger than your stomach, which is 12 inches long, and 6 inches wide. 

Spring Cleaning of Bad Habits

        Ramadan helps us take care of all of our needs, our spiritual needs, our physical needs, and our social needs. So unplug your cell phone charger and plug in to the remembrance of Allah. Stop filling your gas tank up with overpriced gas, fill your heart up with the remembrance of Allah. Unsubscribe from these unhalal tik tok pages, and remember your clock is ticking. This could be your last Ramadan, so do whatever you can to make it count. May Allah accept our Ramadan, and answer all of our Du’as and save us from the fire Ameen. 


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