Ramazan is the time for self-reflection. Many Muslims fast in this month and use this time to devote themselves to God. For a lot of us, this time is very precious and we look forward to it every year. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. With the pandemic looming around, Muslims around the world have prepared for a Ramazan inside the safety of their houses. This Ramazan is different and certainly one can feel it.
Last week, we discussed how Ramazan is different in Hyderabad. With no community iftaars, haleem and Taraweeh prayers, Muslims in the city have been feeling a bit low about the spirit of Ramazan. There’s a post everyday on social media about how someone misses the city or the food or the prayers. Most importantly, Ramazan is when everyone put their differences aside and embrace one another. There’s a unity and fraternity among the people in the city. It’s no wonder people often wished Ramazan came twice a year.
Iftaar at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad.
We’ve got a special list for you. See what the therapists at Pause for Perspective recommend to do this Ramazan to make this month a little better for you.
(Disclaimer: this does not constitute for professional help. These are recommendations that might work for you to make Ramazan a bit easier.)
Our Therapist Nida Mir says, “Ramzan can feel more lonely during the lock-down and the experience of grief and anxiety can really weigh us down. If you’re unable to fast, if you can’t offer namaz all the five times, if you miss taraveeh, if you want to just eat and sleep…it’s okay.”
Shazia Ahmed says, ‘Attend to your needs with compassion. It is extremely tough but it’s needed. We need to put ourselves first and be kinder to ourselves. If you’re having a rough day, you can always do BEST Scan.” A BEST scan is a method to check-in with yourself to notice your thoughts and where they’re taking you.
B- Body, E-Emotions, S-Sensations and T-Thoughts
First, check in with your body. Check your emotions: What are you feeling?
Check your bodily sensations: What’s going on? Where are you feeling it?
And then the thoughts that accompany it: Where are your thoughts now?
Take in your environment. Notice what’s happening. Beware of what’s happening inside you.
There’s also something called Taffakur in Islam. It means reflection. Taffakur, means to think intentionally, constructively, purposefully and positively. In this article on Tafafakur, the author says that we have to take time out and think more about Allah and reflect on our hopes and fears without having to verbalize it. This is a way of getting closer to Allah.
There are 5 skillful habits you can cultivate during this time. Those are: Compassionate speech, generosity, Mindful consumption and Limits/boundaries and mortality.
Compassionate Speech: In the blessed month of Ramazan, one has to be mindful of their speech. We know the importance of compassion in speech, as reported in the Bukhari and Muslim (books on authentic hadith: sayings of the prophet S.A.W), “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must speak beneficently or keep quiet. (Bukhari and Muslim). Be kind in your speech, in your day-to-day, vernacular. Make sure you keep adding little positive notes here and there. Compliment people around you. These are ways in which we can cultivate the habit of compassionate speech. Check-in with how you talk to yourself when you miss your sehri or a prayer. Be more mindful of that.
Generosity: Muslims all around the world know the importance of Generosity and the status it holds in Islam. Something we forget is that we also have to be generous to ourselves. We have to be kind to ourselves so that we can extend that kindness to others. Charity, sadaqah and zakaat are ways to be generous with monetary resources but helping people out on very small things also holds a high status. Maybe you helped a sister out with Iftaar or maybe you stopped yourself from saying something bad about someone. These are generous acts and are a great way to feel nice about oneself and attain the true spirit of Ramazan.
Mindful Consumption: When it’s time for iftaar, instead of rushing for that samosa, we can slowly try to incorporate mindful eating. It has its roots in Mindfulness. This is a way to be more aware of what and how we’re consuming food. It can be done in small ways. When we break our fast, we should eat the date slowly first. Chew slowly and then drink a glass of water in three sips. Another way to incorporate mindful eating is using the five senses: how does it look? What does it taste like? How does it smell? And how does it feel when you touch it? What sounds do you hear?
This helps in making sure that we don’t eat too much and become lazy for our evening prayers. And it is a good habit to develop for ourselves.
Boundaries/Limitations: Keep a check on your limitations. Notice how much you’re eating, and keep a check on your conversations. How are you feeling? If you are not on good terms with your family, your iftar might not look the same as some others. Limit your conversations if you feel like it. Draw boundaries on when you need space from others and when you don’t. This only makes sure that you are not burdened and exhausted by the end of the day.
Mortality: Being mindful of your body and taking care of your body. Mortality means knowing that your body is mortal and is going to go through changes. And for that you have to take care of your physical health. Taking your medication on time, exercise for twenty minutes, or even go for a walk. These are ways we can give our bodies some love.
MAINTAIN A SCHEDULE
The last recommendation we have for you is to maintain a schedule. What helps to know we have somethings under our control is when we maintain a routine. Praying five times a day and doing some extra reading of the Qur’an and working might seem like a lot. We all know that our schedules are different during Ramazan. With waking up extra early and changing timings to fit Iftar in routine is difficult. But if we plan our tasks around our prayers and iftaar, then it becomes a bit easier.
“Once I sit down and finish the five prayers, it gives me a sense of peace and I know that I’m not burdening myself too much.” Says our counselor, Syeda Rafath Unnisa.
Personally, I watch a lot of videos by some scholars (Like Muft Menk and Yasir Qadhi) to gain knowledge. This helps me understand the Qu’ran in a deeper way and it feels like I’m listening to a sermon. It helps a lot when I’m feeling down about not going to a Dargah or a Masjid. And for that, I’m thankful that I can create a semblance of the Ramazan spirit.
This Ramazan is difficult but with prayers and good food at home, we can still maintain the spirit of this blessed month. We know this isn’t the ideal way to spend Ramazan: locked up in our homes, with our loved ones far away from us. But we can only do things that are under our control. We hope you liked these recommendations. Let us know on Twitter or Instagram if you have tried these!
Pause for Perspective