RAMADAN – A Month of Self Discipline!

Hello friends … hope you all are doing really well. “Ramadan” is coming … yaaay I’m excited 😉 It’s unbelievable how fast this blessed month flies by every year. For those of you who don’t know much about Ramadan (my non muslim readers), it’s the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims fast every single day from around just before sunrise to sunset. Most muslims offer the extra prayers called ”the Taraweeh” prayers which they pray after the night time prayers. Muslims pray five times a day. Those are the obligatory prayers that practicing muslims pray on a daily basis and in Ramadan we have some extra prayers (voluntary prayers) after the final fifth prayer at night. Fating is something that most major religions of the world part take in. For muslims its different in that sense we don’t eat anything whatsoever from pre dawn till sunset. People who are ill they are exempt from fasting. For instance women who are pregnant and in their lactation period, old people – people who are weak all of those are exempt from fasting. Apart from abstaining from food, muslims also abstain from sexual relations during fasting period and also from being bad people. Fasting teaches us patience, tolerance and how to discipline our body and souls. Ramadan is a special time where we make an extra effort to truly be fully conscious of how we are behaving and the vibes that we have not just on ourselves but also on the people around us. This month is actually a training period for us so that we can continue doing good deeds through out the year.

There are so many wisdoms behind fasting but for me it is actually to pull myself out of this material world and to put myself in touch with the spiritual dimension, the spirituality that we all have inside us but we tend to forget on day to day basis. And abstaining ourselves from food really does do that. You feel that empty stomach, you become extra sensitive towards people, you feel the pain for people who are deprived of food. Hunger reminds me that I am so blessed to have food on my table everyday whereas there are many who are dying because of hunger because they don’t have food.

With less than a few days to go to Ramadan, I am trying to take my own advice and prepare for the blessed month as well as I can. This month of 29 or 30 days is the best time to change ourselves and to make or break a habit. I believe Ramadan is the best time to discipline ourselves physically and spiritually. So, that’s why I thought of writing about Self discipline. It’s really unfortunate to see that we Muslims have forgotten the traditions and made this month a month of over indulgence, a month of food and Iftar parties and sleepless nights. Yes, lets talk about filling our stomachs, its vital to talk. Every time when I see muslims filling their stomach it reminds me of a very well known hadith:

“The prophet (PBUH) said: The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink, and one-third for air”.  Al Tirmidhi

 

 

We truly ignore this saying of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) and do the opposite. Especially in Ramadan when we can easily discipline our eating habits we simply overeat, and eat all the crap like fried stuff – samosas, pakoras, junk food and bla bla. So, in this Ramadan we should make this goal to attain discipline, to change our bad eating habits In’sha’Allah (If God wills). In Imam Al- Ghazali’s “Breaking the two desires” book 23 he explains the following four duties as a method of discipline. I am going to share these with you and will add few more useful tips for additional benefit and guidance which you can follow throughout this Ramadan and after Ramadan of course.

Eat what is lawful (halal) and pure (Tayyieb):

  • Make intention for the sake of Allah
  • Avoid packaged and processed foods
  • Avoid fizzy carbonated drinks
  • Eat organic whenever possible and seasonal food
  • Support local farmers, I normally use this notion “Eat Local & Think Global”

Limit the quantity you eat:

  • Eat when truly hungry
  • Discipline gradually
  • Let food digest before eating again
  • Reduce intake gradually
  • Stop eating before you are full
  • Be consistent, have balance.

Delay when you eat:

  • Fasting is good for self discipline (fast Mondays and Thursdays other than Ramadan)
  • Feel hunger (without hurting health)
  • Determine what is the least you can eat safely

Which varieties of food you eat:

  • Incorporate prophetic foods into your diet
  • Introduce healthy food choices
  • Eat nutrient dense foods
  • Avoid diet trends, gimmicks, and quick fixes
  • Limit meat consumption
  • We are individual (it must be convenient, accessible and available)

This is not about attaining self discipline only in Ramadan, it should be with the intention of changing one self for the whole year. Also, this is not only for our health and good nutrition but we want to follow the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) and gain more rewards.

Before I finish my blog, I feel the need to talk about this but first I’d like to ask this question … If you knew that this would be the last Ramadan you had left, how would you spend that Ramadan? Would you be in the kitchen for 3 hours cooking? Would you? Hello sisters, I’m talking to you 😉 Answer would be ”Probably Not”. I am aware of the fact that women spend hours in the kitchen during this month. You should be spending that time for lectures, reading Quran, anything else than just wasting time in the kitchen. If you wanna cook that’s fine, but don’t overdo it, you know what I mean. Make enough, don’t overdo it. If you ask me, honestly I’d love to have cooked the night before extra, this way I get another hour and a half to get more stuff done. Eat left overs, eat less. It’s the month of sacrifice, so eat less and give more. Last thing on our mind should really be food.

Lastly, I would like to draw your attention to the real purpose and spirit of Ramadan. Ramadan is not only about omitting food, It’s not about eating and overfilling our stomachs, it’s not about indulging all night and sleeping all day and waking up an hour before sunset to prepare a meal. Rather, it’s about you and your relationship with Allah. It’s about connecting with your lord, it’s about growing spiritually, doing extra ibadah (worship). Its about sitting with your kids, teaching them the importance of Ramadan and going together as a family to the mosque to offer Taraweeh prayer. Eat healthy so you have more energy to do the right things that you need to do in this month.

That being said, I’m done with my topic today. My next blog would be about what should we eat for Iftar and Sheri, its coming up soon, so stick around. Till then take care and eat healthy! 🙂

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