At first the title of this article looks a little uncomfortable but this is what it has become. Year after year, the month of Ramadan has increasingly become a time when many of us concentrate on the food and eating aspect of it, without realizing the profound importance of this Holy Month.
Allah describes the purpose of fasting in Quran by saying "O you who have believed! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may become righteous”. This Quranic verse is very clear and self-explanatory as it shows Ramadan as the month of fasting.
On the contrary, we tend to treat the holy month of Ramadan as a month of food festival. We eat more than what we usually eat in other months of the year.
I live in an Arab country and it is unfortunate that all of the supermarkets and cooperative societies are full of offers during Ramadan, especially on food items. I believe the retail market must be waiting eagerly for the month of Ramadan to do business.
Some of you must be thinking, "What is wrong in enjoying good food during Ramadan? After all, we fast the whole day and moreover it is not haram to enjoy good food." Well, let me explain. The main victim of ‘good food’ is the one who prepares it; the womenfolk in our homes who spend all of their quality time preparing variety of food items. Another victim of this ‘good food’ is the one who eats. We know what happens after having heavy food during Iftar time. We cannot pray Isha and Taraweeh with full concentration, after Taraweeh you are almost dead tired.
So what is the ideal way of spending Ramadan?
Let us not waste one more Ramadan by keeping ourselves busy with unnecessary shopping for food. The offers by Allah during Ramadan are more precious than the offers we see in supermarkets and shopping malls. Ramadan is the time to please Allah, not our stomach. Remember that the only way to keep ourselves active, to make Dhikr during the Holy month, is to eat less.
A full stomach will never let you concentrate on prayers; in my opinion the following should be the ideal approach:
- Get up 30 to 40 minutes earlier for Suhoor so that you can pray Tahajjud.
- For Suhoor do not eat too much as you will tend to fall asleep when it is time for Fajr prayer.
Reach 10 to 15 minutes early for Fajr prayer so that you can read the Quran, One of the benefits of reaching the masjid early is that it helps in concentration during Fajr prayer as you are already settled mentally in masjid, rather than joining Fajr prayer at the last minute.
- After Fajr prayer you may spend some time in Dhikr.
- Above rules, apply to equally to Duhr and Asr prayers.
- Just before Iftar, may be an hour before, you can spend all your time in making Dua and Dhikr as Allah never rejects Dua made during these times.
- Keep your smartphone in silent mode during this time and do not waste this time reading Whatsapp messages and Facebook posts. Make sure you do not give hard time to your mother, sister and wife during these times for food preparation. Let them also spend this quality time in Dhikr.
- At the time of Iftar make sure you do not eat too much oily food and be moderate in eating; it should be sufficient to keep you active for Magrib, Isha and Tarawee prayer.
- Never have full dinner before Taraweeh, as a full stomach will never let you concentrate on prayers.
- After Taraweeh you may relax, spend time with your family and can go to bed as per your convenience.
On a side note, try to avoid too many Iftar parties, this will ruin your daily schedule.
I pray Allah that he gives us hidayah to spend coming Ramadan in Dhikr of Allah, and to please him. Ameen.