6 tips for a spiritually healthy Ramadan
For me, Ramadan sucked last year. I was tired (read: exhausted), allergic to whatever grass was reproducing that month (read: streaming eyes, nose and ears, and a throat that was so irritated that it was closing periodically), hot (climate change is a real thing, and Argos ran out of fans), and I hardly had the energy to get myself to work while fasting, let alone to get spiritual.
Last Ramadan was the worst moment for my spirituality I’ve ever experienced. I was unwell for some of the month and so I didn’t fast. This left me feeling disconnected from those around me who were fasting, and guilty for not fasting. I know that when you’re not well you’re not supposed to fast, but it somehow still feels bad.
If you feel like this, you’re not alone.
Tips I’ve gleaned from speaking to various friends and scholars:
Be careful about what you eat. Read this article to understand what you can eat to help get you through the fasts while keeping your blood sugar and energy levels consistent.
Try small things that might passively make a difference. On the way home from work, if learning from a lecture or reading a book about spirituality is too much, switch to the melodious sounds of the Qur’an. Even though it’s just listening, this might get you in the mood.
Don’t overeat. Eating too much slows down your system, saps your energy and makes you feel lethargic and tired. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air." - (Tirmidhi)
Serve your community. When you’re fasting, volunteering to help serve food or lay prayer mats at your local organisation or mosque, is not only an act of worship, but is a practical expression of your spirituality. Service helps connect to that warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Be kind to yourself. Remember that Allah sees how hard you try, and He does not expect you to be perfect.
When looking for help on this issue, keep in mind the words of the Qur’an: “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” - 2:153
Let’s pray that we all have a spiritual Ramadan.