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A Guide to Ramadan for Myself

July 30, 2011

This Ramadan’s going to be a slow one. A lull. My internship will be over by that time. I will be spending a lot of long summer days in the house, working a bit from home. It will be the drawing in of the breath, the calm before the storm that will be graduate school. And I hope, InshAllah, to take full advantage of this lull by doing all the things, in high concentrations, that are usually difficult to do with work and school.

  • Read. (Duh.)
  • Write. (DUH.) Writers are woefully neglectful of their eating and sleeping, so this can be a time when that neglect works well with fasting. On the other hand, they need their caffeine too. (And their booze, but that doesn’t apply to Muslim writers. Right? RIGHT?) Caffeine withdrawal can be a pain, so if your loved one is an artist who goes into long periods of work they hate–HATE–to have interrupted, factor caffeine withdrawal into the situation and increase their irritability by tenfold.
  • Reflect on where my food comes from and work on my emotional attachment to it.
  • Get back into doing yoga, which I find is a terrific way to stay fit in Ramadan. It’s the only form of exercise that doesn’t make one too thirsty and is actually more beneficial if one does it while they are fasting.
  • Extra worship in the form of salah, dhikr, and duaa. As wonderful as extra worship in Ramadan is, however, I like to draw analogy between dieting and doing extra worship in Ramadan. Dieting–especially fad dieting–doesn’t work because its effect on the body is so transient. To really make a difference with one’s eating, they can’t just diet: they have to embrace a whole new lifestyle. So dhikr in Ramadan isn’t just about getting all those bonus points. It’s about creating a frame of mind so that one can ease into a dhikr-oriented lifestyle. So I hope and pray that the habits we form during Ramadan are at least partially sustained for the rest of the year.

What are your Ramadan goals?

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