Fasting for the first time…
Some say that as the years go by, fasting turn into routine. However, you know that this is not the case! Active mind and open heart will not grow hard as Allah keep them young. Even when people get mature enough, Allah still gives them something for the first time. Most importantly, ibadat is given to you. This makes you lucky!
The main thing is that your fasting is sincere. It is important to realise that our intention to perform any religious rituals is always in the Name of Allah.
In Russia, over the last years Ramadan has taken place in the summer. This is why working Muslims prefer to go on holidays during Ramadan. Do not get anxious, if you do not have a chance to do so. Ramadan is not a sick leave! Our ancestors used to keep fasting under the baking sun at hayfields. Allah does not burden a person beyond that it he or she can bear.
Yet, your age and medical condition should be taken into consideration. Should you have any difficulties, feel free to talk to religiously educated people about this.
There is a lot of information with regard to benefits of fasting as far as physical and spiritual health is concerned. We are not going to repeat ourselves, especially because of the fact that you have already decided to keep a fast. Alhamdulillah.
Yet, it is worth pointing out the importance of suhur and iftar. The latter has never been underestimated. Muslims are waiting for iftar, they prepare for it and invite their friends to enjoy it together. The key is not to overeat. Start iftar with a sip of water, a piece of a date and your dua’a, of course. Follow the example of our Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, and have your dinner after the evening prayer. This way you are less likely to be extremely hungry and overeat. As for the meal, it should not be more fattening than your normal food. Your stomach does not need this.
What about suhur? People tend to miss it, especially if they want to sleep a little bit more at night. In addition, it is not that easy to get up for suhur. It does not seem essential as well, especially if you had your dinner late in the evening. Yet, we should trust the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him who pointed out the importance a pre-dawn meal: “Having suhur is a blessing from Allah” (narrated by Imam Ahmad).
We really mean it. Smile! It is commonly known that it is advised to avoid quarrelling, squabbling and worrying about something during Ramadan. Islam covers all the aspects of our life: our physical and spiritual conditions. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Fast is your defender; do no swear and do not raise your voice on the day when you keep a fast…”. Negative emotions raise the blood pressure and consequently, a person has a bad headache.
Focus on the positive. Do what you enjoy doing. Walk outside. Socialize with like-minded people. It would be nice if you could attend religious studies classes. They reinforce your spirit, especially during Ramadan.
Everybody knows that when you make good to someone, you feel genuinely happy. The reward for good deeds done during the unique month Ramadan is decupled. Your good acts might be something very simple, such as feeding the poor, making a call to your friends or just smiling at your neighbours.
When you start fasting, you might often think about food and water. Do not think whether you will survive till the evening. You will, insha’Allah. Rely on God safely and always ask Him for support.
Get distracted. If you work, you are busy with everyday tasks. When you are back home, have a shower and take a nap.
Yet, the best distraction is your ibadah (worship to the Creator).
Ramadan is often referred to as the month of mercy. Allah promises us multiple reward for performing the prescribed and additional kinds of worship during the 30 days of this month. Do not miss out on your Ramadan! Salat, dua’a, sadaqah (charity), taraweeh, reading the Holy Quran are among the best activities when keeping a fast. One of the purposes of Ramadan is to nourish your soul, rather than your body. This is the best treat possible you can give to yourself. You will realise this by yourself soon!