Preparing for Ramadan

25 May

RAMAZAN

O you who believe! Observing al-sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).

(Qur’an al-Baqarah 2:183)

As the beautiful month of Ramadan approaches this year, there are several things Muslim women can do to prepare themselves spiritually and physically for the month-long period of fasting which is obligatory upon all able-bodied Muslims who have reached the age of maturity.

Giving some thought to the unique concerns that Muslim women face during this month can help us prepare for them and make the month a more successful one. This is especially true for new converts to Islam (because Ramadan is such a new experience) and for married women in general because of the extra responsibility they typically have to make sure that the iftar (the fast-breaking meal served at sunset each day) is ready on time for their families and any guests in addition to continuing to take care of the home, children and other obligations as usual. It is crucial, then, that women take the time to plan for their sleep, health and other concerns before the month even starts.

It is recommended for Muslims to eat a pre-dawn meal (called sahoor in Arabic) each day before the fast begins. The Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) to have said,

“Eat a pre-dawn meal for there are blessings in it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Other traditions report the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying,

“You should eat [the] pre-dawn meal for it is a blessed nourishment” (an-Nasa’i),

and

“The pre-dawn meal is blessed so do not neglect it even if you only take a sip of water. Verily, Allah and His angels pray for those who have pre-dawn meals.” (Ahmad)

The pre-dawn meal provides energy and other benefits to the fasting Muslim during the day so it makes good sense to plan on getting up early to have sahoor. Of course this is better accomplished if you also sleep early so try to think about how you will arrange your schedule once Ramadan begins. If you typically have trouble waking up for the fajr (dawn) prayer, a new schedule in Ramadan may be the motivation you need to change your habits for the better even after Ramadan has ended. Ramadan is a great opportunity that comes once a year to renew your relationship and commitment to Allah

If you are accustomed to drinking tea or coffee in the morning or during the day, be aware that caffeine withdrawal can cause severe headaches while you are fasting. Take some time before Ramadan to wean yourself from caffeine (perhaps gradually) and decide whether it will be necessary to have any caffeine during the non-fasting hours in Ramadan. It may seem like a funny thing to worry about compared to the greatness of this Holy Month but many Muslims have experienced the phenomena of caffeine withdrawal and know to prepare themselves ahead of time to ensure they do not get sick from it.

via Preparing for Ramadan.

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