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How to Make the Most out of Ramadhan

Three Parts:Preparing for RamadhanPracticing RamadhanLearning From the Experience

Ramadhan is just around the corner, and you want to make the most of the month to come. This is a powerful time to nourish your body, your soul, and your purpose. You'll need to be disciplined in your fasting, your prayer, and your habits. Try to physically and spiritually prepare yourself for Ramadhan. Set an intention for personal growth.

Part 1
Preparing for Ramadhan

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    Detoxify your body before Ramadhan. Keep a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. Start each day with a complex carbohydrate breakfast that breaks down slowly, allowing you to stay energized through the day. Have a light meal at the end of each day: focus on fruit, vegetables, live-culture yogurt, and salad.
    • Drink plenty of water, and avoid dehydrating substances. Try to stay away from diuretics like coffee and tea.
    • Rid yourself of distraction, and stifle the urge to eat when you're bored. Try to be mindful and methodical about what you eat.
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    Shape up your soul. Prepare yourself spiritually by fasting on Mondays, Thursdays, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the lunar calendar in Shaa'baan.[1] Wake up earlier than usual to pray – even half an hour before Fajr will do. Read the Qur'an after Fajr, even if you only do so for 10-15 minutes.[2]
    • Stock up on interesting lectures related to spirituality, discipline, and Islam. Listen to these lectures during the day or on your way to work. The more time you spend thinking about your faith, the more likely your thoughts will be to return to this theme when you have an idle moment.
    • Consider performing the Dhikr prayer or other devotional acts when you're cooking, waiting in line, or have some free time. This is predominantly a Sufi tradition, but this sort of repetition can help you focus your thoughts on Allah regardless of your background.[3]
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    Free your mind. Minimize distractions, and try to foster mental clarity. Focus your thoughts on helping others and improving yourself. Spend your free time studying, creating, or quietly reflecting. Wean yourself off of television and other distracting media, and consider reading a spiritual book instead to connect with your faith.[4]
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    "Tie your camel". Organize your life, and prepare yourself to make the most out of a thoughtful and disciplined month. Do what you need to do to stay on top of everything during Ramadhan. You may find it easier to keep to a rigorous schedule of prayer, meals, and religious ceremonies if you've cultivated a disciplined lifestyle beforehand.
    • Put your affairs in order. Take care of anything serious that you need to do before Ramadhan begins. You may be able to focus more intently on spiritual growth if you don't need to worry about practical difficulties.
    • Shop for groceries in advance. It might be a chore to shop when you're hungry. Prepare large batches of food and freeze them; chop vegetables and store them in airtight containers.
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    Set an intention for the month to come. Think about what you'd like to change in your life: perhaps you need to cut out poor habits, or improve your discipline, or align your actions with your ideals. Consider what you can do to become a happier and more effective human being. Ramadhan is a prime opportunity to your reflect on your life and reset your routines – so plan ahead to make the best use of your time.[5]

Part 2
Practicing Ramadhan

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    Keep the traditional Ramadhan schedule. Each day, wake up during Fajr (the dawn prayer) to eat the pre-dawn meal (Sahur). If you prefer, you can stay up late and eat Sahur before you go to sleep. Stay up to read a portion of the Qur'an before and after Fajr.[6] Make sure to keep up a disciplined prayer schedule, and try to structure your day-to-day thoughts around holy things. Abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and sex from dawn until dusk until the end of Ramadhan. Once the sun goes down, take iftar (the fast-breaking evening meal) with friends and family, and talk about what you have learned today.
    • Look up daily prayer times for your area at: The prayer times are dictated by the rising and the setting of the sun. If you live in a predominantly Muslim area, you may be reminded by prayer bells to take each prayer of the day.[7]
    • Make arrangements to give Zakaat al-Fitr on time. This can be done anytime before the 'Eid prayer.
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    Get plenty of rest. Fasting can throw off your normal eating and sleeping schedule, and you may need to get more sleep than usual in order to stay strong. Many people stay up late at night, then nap in the afternoon to stave off the hunger. Try to take naps midway through the day – even a half-hour power nap will leave you feeling refreshed.
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    Be gracious and charitable. Generosity is a central theme to the ethos of Ramadhan, and you can practice this community spirit in every single interaction with another person. You don't need to donate money: you can brighten someone's day with a smile or a few kind words. You can even give back to others simply by being patient and kind. Take this month as an opportunity to be the best sort of person that you can be.
    • Give your money. Try tipping service workers as an act of good faith; consider giving money or food to a homeless person.
    • Volunteer your time. Serve food to the homeless, or restore a damaged ecosystem, or pick up trash in your neighborhood. Be generous with your time, and you may find it rewarding.
    • Be a positive force. Be patient and kind, as much as possible, and try to brighten the days of the people you meet. Try to keep an optimistic, upbeat attitude about everything that you do.
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    Find an alternative to fasting. Certain groups of people are exempted from fasting during Ramadhan: travelers, and sick people whose illness can be made worse by fasting; menstruating women and women with post-partum bleeding; pregnant and nursing women; and people who are not physically capable of fasting, either due to old age or incurable diseases. If you fall into one of these categories, you can still practice physical and spiritual discipline. Find a practice that nourishes your soul.
    • Try feeding the poor or donating to charity on the days that you're unable to fast. Try volunteering or doing something selfless for others. As long as your intentions are pure, you should be able to find a solid alternative.
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    Stay hydrated. You aren't allowed to drink anything from dawn until dusk – so make sure that you drink plenty of water between iftar and Sahoor. Try having at least two glasses of water at each meal. Avoid drinks that dehydrate you: coffee, alcohol, and soda. Instead, opt for herbal teas or unsweetened juices.
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    Build community. Throughout the month of Ramadhan, make an effort to attend and organize community iftars and taraweeh.[8] Be inclusive, and try to invite people who often get overlooked. Focus on connecting deeply and finding common ground with others in the community; don't think of it as "networking". Share the Ramadhan experience with your community in order to make all of your generosity and reflection more valuable.
    • Greet Arab-speaking Muslims with a traditional Ramadhan greeting. "Ramadhan Kareem," "Ramadhan Mubarak," or "Kul 'am wa enta bi-khair!" Respectively, these phrases mean, "Generous Ramadhan," "Blessed Ramadhan," and "May every year find you in good health!"[9]
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    Don't overeat at iftar. It can be tempting to eat a lot of food at sundown when you haven't eaten all day – but it is best to break a fast slowly. Start with dates and a hydrating drink: water, juice, milk, a soup, or a smoothie. Go at it slowly, and eat sparingly of the spread. Save your main meal for later in the night. If you're cooking iftar, bake and broil instead of frying for a healthier meal.
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    Spend some quality time with Allah. It's easy to get overwhelmed by life and forget that this month is essentially about renewing one's personal connection with God. The Qur'an says (translated): "When you are free from your affairs, then turn to your Lord." Wake up in the night and pray as much as you can. Consider staying in seclusion (i'tikaf) for a part of the month, even if you only take a weekend away.[10]
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    Seek the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr) in the last ten days of the month. This is said to be the holiest day of the holiest month. In the Qur'an, it is written that the Night of Power is better than a thousand months, by virtue of the blessings that descend in it. Seek this night, and spend it religiously: perform voluntary prayers, read the Qur'an, and supplicate. This night can be a turning point of your Ramadhan experience.[11]

Part 3
Learning From the Experience

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    Make positive changes in your life. Ramadhan presents a great opportunity to fill your life with discipline and meaning. The best way to make the most out of Ramadhan is to carry the lessons learned you've learn—e.g. moderation and discipline—into the year that follows. Maintain the healthy habits that you have built. Try not to slip into your old ways.[12]
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    Ease back into a normal diet. You've been fasting for an entire month, and your body may not be used to heavy portions. Start moderately – this goes for fatty or fried foods, alcohol, and sugar. Your stomach may have shrunk with reduced consumption, and you don't want to bloat yourself. If you eat too much, take it as a lesson to slow down next time.
    • Consider whether it's worth resuming a habit of heavy consumption. If you've been able to cultivate a healthier lifestyle during Ramadhan, try to keep it that way.
    • To avoid heartburn, line your stomach with a bland, alkaline foodstuff before starting into spicy, fried foods.
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    Remember that change is a practice. You may have made positive changes in your life during Ramadhan, but this does not mean that they're permanent. Nothing is permanent unless you continually, mindfully make it so. Find a way to hold yourself accountable: try keeping a journal of your personal and spiritual development, and consider finding a person to whom you can talk about your progress.[13]
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    Learn how to forgive and forget. Let go of the negative feelings that hold you back. Don`t hold grudges against people who have wronged you in the past. Do this for your own sake. If you keep those bad feelings inside, they might hurt you in the future – not only psychologically, but physically.


  • Don't think about food! If you find yourself thinking about food, force your mind onto something else straight away.
  • Invite people over for iftar on weekends.
  • Read the translation/tafsir of the Qur'an passage that will be read in the next day's taraweeh. This can help you focus and better enjoy taraweeh.
  • Shop for groceries in bulk and prepare food that won't spoil on keeping in large batches and freeze.
  • Do not get into opinion differences. Leave them aside. Try to get closer to Allah.
  • If you happen to be a student when it's Ramadan, do not fear! It's not that hard to fast during school. A tip is to tell your PE teachers about Ramadan so you won't have to take part. You may also find it hard to not eat when all of your friends are eating, so you will just have to explain to them that you are fasting. If you are a hijabi, then wear your hijab loosely: you will want to feel the air flow through your hijab.
  • Read one chapter of the Qur'an every day. This way, you'll be able to finish the whole Qur'an in just a month!
  • Try to be patient and spend wisely for iftar. Home-cooked food is generally cheaper and healthier. Don't let it be all about the food. A lot of the time, culture dictates that there be a huge spread of 5 -7 courses each day for iftar – which leaves little time for worship or reflection.
  • If you are a student, during lessons don't think too hard about what you are writing. If your friends are teasing you and eating food near you deliberately, move away from them. When you're at home sleep for as long as you can so as not to get too hungry but when you wake up, don't forget you can't eat!


  • Ramadhan comes around just once every year, and you never know where you'll be next year. Seize the day and make the most of it!

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Categories: Islam | Holidays and Traditions