7 Habits of Highly Effective Ramadanites



Tue, 13 Jun 2017 - 09:38 GMT


Tue, 13 Jun 2017 - 09:38 GMT

Ramdan Kareem

Ramdan Kareem

We vow to be good at the beginning of the month, avoid all varieties of kunafa, read the Qur’an and be spiritual for the holy month. Ten days into Ramadan and we’re munching on qatayef between dessert and sohour, trying to catch up on the Qur’an parts we missed and are following about eight different dramas.

Between trying to sleep the fasting hours away, obsessing over which new dessert to buy from where for the thousand and one iftar and sohour invites and simply how to reciprocate all those invites without losing it, the month slips away as we indulge in desserts, television and a year’s worth of social life crammed into 30 days.

This month, follow these simple tricks to keep yourself on the right track: spiritually, nutritionally and physically.

Goal 1: Finish reading the Qur’an
While it makes little sense that the holy book sits on the shelf for 11 months and is only brought out for these 30 days every year, many Muslims plan to read the entire Qur’an during Ramadan. There are many ways to do it, all tried, tested and sworn by.

First, read four pages during each of the five daily prayers, this will amount to about 20 pages for the five prayers, or roughly a full chapter. Another way is to read one goz’ (part) every day during the last hour before iftar—you know, that hour you’re normally left twiddling thumbs and obsessing about the meal to come. If you miss a day, simply divide the chapter’s 20 pages and read an extra five pages daily for four days to make up and stay on schedule. Alternatively, download a Qur’an app on your tablet or phone and Uber or carpool your way to work every day; this way you can make use of the commute in finishing your daily goz’.

Goal 2: Do good
Ramadan is about doing good and helping others, so make it a point to give back to the society and do one good deed every day, leaving you with 30 good deeds a month and at least 30 happier people. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, perhaps as small as helping an old lady cross the street, giving a gift to that little boy you see working for the shop next door or contributing to a charity table.

One simple way of ensuring you do one good deed a day is that you rummage through your clothes and kids’ toys and put about 30 mixed items of clothes, toys, blankets and even cookies and chocolates in your car. Make sure you give one item away on a daily basis to the boy selling tissues, an old lady, your security guy or even an orphanage. By the end of the month your bag of gifts for others should be empty and you should have a fuller charity account.

Alternatively, make a little extra food every day and feed the security men in your building.

Goal 3: Kick bad habits for good
If you can quit a bad habit for more than 12 hours a day for a whole month, you can certainly stop it for life—anything you do for a month becomes a habit. So take it step by step, convince yourself you’re giving it a trial run for Ramadan, then extend it a month after until you’re over it. The trick is to take it day by day. We’re not just talking about coffee and cigarettes, by the way, this includes any bad habit like talking behind people’s backs, name-calling and lying. If you can fix it for a month, you can fix it for life.

Goal 4: Hold back your temper
Your lack of coffee fix is no reason you should lash out at your parking attendant or kids. Fasting isn’t only abstinence from food, it’s also about taming your soul. There is no point in not eating all day if you’re just going to curse at every person on your way home for iftar and use your fasting as an excuse for rudeness. As hard as it is and as provoking as people can be, especially during daytime in Ramadan, do not lose it. It is as simple as that. Surely enduring being thirsty on hot summer days and going through the day without a single bite of food is far more difficult than holding your tongue.

A good way of doing it is to perform lots of zikr (remembrance), when you feel the temper raging up inside you, do some tasabih (recalling the names of Allah on your hands or rosary) or read a verse each time you feel you want to kill someone; that’ll surely help you finish the Qur’an, probably 10 times over. Keep a note to yourself in your car, on your desk, your living room and even in your bag. You can also keep a rosary nearby to remember your tasabih.

Goal 5: Save time on the mosalsalat
Ramadan is far less about mosalsalat (television dramas) than we make it to be, although they have become an integral part of the holy month. This year, ditch watching the shows on television and opt for the internet instead; that way you can actually finish the show in 20 minutes as opposed to a whole hour and save yourself 40 minutes for each show. If you’re watching three shows, and let’s face it, many of us are, then you’ve saved yourself a good two hours daily.

Many channels, like CBC and DMC, actually upload their shows a few hours after they’re aired on their official YouTube channels. Subscribe to MBC’s video on demand service Shahid and watch the latest shows through their website or application. You can also download the app on your smart television for easier watching and OSN offers similar on-demand services.

Bonus tip: Stick to a maximum of two shows and follow the rest of dramas you’re interested in after Ramadan; they air throughout the year and you’ll have plenty of less-crammed months to watch them.

Goal 6: Stay fit and multitask
Remember those two hours you just saved on mosalsalat? Well, use at least one of them to stay fit and burn off the kunafa so you don’t end up looking like you’ve spent all month munching on oriental sweets with all sorts of new twists; which you probably have.

Because our social lives during Ramadan are busy, we recommend home workouts during this month. Three apps we swear by are Fitness Blender, available in an app form as well as on YouTube, HomeWorkout and Sweat by Kayla Itsines. Fitness Blender and HomeWorkout are free, and while Fitness Blender has a wide range of short and long videos featuring everything from high intensity interval training (HIIT) to resistance and yoga, HomeWorkout’s application comes in the form of an app with instructions and short demonstration videos for each exercise listed. You can subscribe to Sweat, also known as the Bikini Body, by paying a monthly fee of about LE 180 for a full nutrition plan along with recipes as well as workouts. The workouts are only 28 minutes long and the exercises are complete with demonstration videos and full instructions.

You can actually save yourself some time and work out right before iftar while you watch last night’s episode of your favorite show online—multitasking at its best. If you are following any of those apps on your mobile or if you hop on your treadmill, it’s quite easy to follow a show and it’ll make the time pass much faster.

Goal 7: Do all of the above without turning down invitations
Ramadan is actually a great chance to reconnect with your family and friends and do some major bonding. But more so, it’s a time to be good to others, so it doesn’t make sense that you fail to show up when the poor family has been slaving in the kitchen all day to feed you. Don’t reject iftar or sohour invitations; nothing is worse than preparing a feast and having no one show up. Remember, what goes around comes around and the day may come when guests bail out on you too. If worse comes to worst, at least swing by for dessert.

Plan your Ramadan schedule well ahead to be able to reciprocate invitations but do not mix large groups of people who don’t know each other just so you can get it over with in one day.

Remember to grab dessert on your way to any invitation, most people are too busy preparing the actual meal and depend on the invitees to pick something up on their way.



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