Mindfulness this Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan is here; for many of us it is a time for increased reflection, spirituality, worship and sense of gratitude. With every Ramadan, there is an impetus to do better, be better and expect better – a time filled with hope and sense of renewal. It’s a time when many of us try to leave behind bad habits and replace them with good ones. It is when we seek to be more in tune not only with our faith and our Creator, but our surroundings too. It’s an opportunity to get closer with our family, friends, community and our environment. One of the best ways to reap the most benefit of Ramadan is through practising mindfulness – through an increased awareness of our thoughts, actions and words. We explore this in greater detail below.
- Mindfulness while fasting
While many people assume that fasting is simply about abstaining from food and drink, it is so much more than that. It’s about practising self-control across all aspects of life, including managing your emotions and reactions to difficult or unpleasant situations. In fact, losing your temper, yelling, arguing with someone etc. can all compromise your fast. This is where being mindful of your emotional triggers and how you respond to them becomes particularly important. So, when you feel angry take a few deep breaths and give yourself a few moments to respond logically rather than emotionally.
As the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised the best way to manage your anger is to change your posture (sit down if you’re standing up), stay silent or perform ablution to calm yourself down.
- Mindfulness while praying (salah)
Often many of us pray without being completely present, whether we like to admit it or not. Daily distractions such as family, work and life can all get in the way of achieving complete and utter devotion during prayer. While praying, it is important to try and leave all your worldly matters behind and focus on your faith and your relationship with Allah SWT. Mindfulness in prayer means being completely focused on your prayer, being conscious of Allah’s presence and aware that He is watching you pray – how could you not want to perfect each prayer?!
- Mindfulness while breaking your fast
When you’re fasting for almost 12 hours a day, the hunger pangs can really get the better of you. We’ve all heard the saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” and this is definitely the case when you sit down for iftar after a long day of fasting. While it’s completely normal to feel famished, thirsty and excited upon breaking your fast, remember stuffing yourself not only defeats the purpose of fasting, but it leaves you feeling bloated, lazy and tired. This is where mindful eating comes in. When it’s time to break your fast, it’s incredibly important to stay present, be grateful, eat slowly, and last but not least, savour the taste. It might be a good idea to pace out your meals by breaking your fast with a date or two and a glass of water, praying and giving thanks, and then continuing on to the main meal, giving your body time to adjust and prepare for the meal ahead.
May Allah SWT accept all our good deeds and acts of worship during this holy month.