By Yousra Arif
Ramadan is an opportunity for us to instill positive and productive habits in our lives that we would sustain even after this month is over. Because the real test for us to apply all the training we received during this month, starts when this month ends.
But this happens with all of us that we enter Ramadan with high enthusiasm, but as the days pass our enthusiasm level starts going down. Why does this happen? How can we prevent it?
Many of us plan and list out so many goals for Ibadah and good deeds. But then we start comparing ourselves with others. My friend is doing so much Ibadah… I’m suffering from an illness due to which I’m unable to compete with her. My cousin has completed the recitation of the whole Quran in just the first week, but I’m finding it difficult to manage time as my exams are due next week.
In these scenarios, we lose the sweetness of worshiping Allah, we forget that our competition should only be with our own self. Allah knows our condition and the situation we are in. Don’t get overwhelmed by comparing what others are doing and what you aren’t. You can definitely take inspiration and motivation from others, but compare yourself only to your own self of last Ramadan. If you are doing better than yesterday, then Alhamdulillah you are improving. But if you’re somehow not doing much as last Ramadan then ask Allah’s help and what better day to change ourselves than today?
Some others may get overwhelmed by just thinking about FASTING while managing their daily routine of either work or studies. How’d I go to work while fasting? It’ll be so tough. I can’t wake up at night for Qiyam and recitation of the Quran, I can’t study for my test or exams while fasting. Allah will forgive me if I don’t fast. I’ll make up for my missed fasts later.
What we need to understand is that Allah has made fasting in Ramadan easier than in any other month. Shaitan is chained up this month, so it becomes easier to do good deeds. We should be feeling more energetic this month. But even if we feel low in energy during Ramadan, then there must be some other reasons and not fasting. Some of them might be:
1- Overeating at Iftaar and Suhoor
2- Unbalanced sleep schedule
3- Excessive screen time
Ramadan is not a holiday so that everything should shut down for us. We can be productive in our daily routines (i.e. work/study) during Ramadan too. So, make a healthy routine in Ramadan, identify the time-wasters and stay away from them.
Many of us experience the mid-Ramadan slump. We are enthusiastic and super motivated about fasting and doing good deeds at the beginning of Ramadan. But by the time we reach in the middle of Ramadan this enthusiasm starts fading away. We feel tired and unmotivated. How can we combat this?
1- Firstly, recognize this slump and realize that we, as human beings, aren’t perfect. Only Allah SWT is perfect. He is الشكور “The Most Appreciative” He rewards us for our small good deeds and even for our intentions to do good deeds for Him. Therefore, ask help from Him to help you remember Him, to be grateful to Him, and to worship Him to the level of Ahsan (excellence).
2-Do not wait for anybody to come and motivate you, be tougher on yourself and get back up on the horse of your Nafs every time you fall. Remind yourself about the intentions and plans you made before Ramadan to do good deeds and to do your best.
3-You can still make the remaining days of Ramadan count. You can’t miss this opportunity, as we don’t know if Allah will allow us to witness another Ramadan or not.
4-Keep doing simple tasks of worship, involve yourself in constant Dhikr, Dua’, Recitation of Quran, and Salah. As Allah loves consistent actions even if they are small.
5- You can do a variety of small good deeds on different days to prevent a monotonous routine. You can do your home chores and take care of your family with the intention of pleasing Allah, and Sub’han Allah you’ll get rewarded for doing these tasks as well.
6- Keep yourself around those people or friends who can keep you away from going into the slump, who’d become your spying buddies.
Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed, so we all should celebrate the revelation of the Quran in this month by increasing the recitation, memorization, and understanding of the Quran. Many of us set goals to memorize a Surah and to understand it in depth. But we feel demotivated when it seems that we won’t be able to achieve our goal. What to do then? Just change your thinking and perspective. Think of it as a goal that you’d not finish in Ramadan. Maybe it will take some more weeks/months to be finished or achieved. But it’s fine, no worries! Continue your efforts towards your goal even after Ramadan. You can’t leave it unfinished.
Ramadan comes and goes, but the habits we built in Ramadan shouldn’t. So, be careful of the time-wasters after Ramadan too. To prevent yourself from falling into a post-Ramadan slump, surround yourself with good company who’ll motivate you to do good deeds.
Ramadan is the month of training, and the rest 11 months are for practicing what we trained for.