Originally published in July 2013.
Praise be to the Lord of the Worlds for giving us yet another opportunity to experience this blessed month. This year and the years to come--the summer Ramadans---are special gifts, as these long days are much harder and therefore develop our character even more. We should be cautious not to squander this experience. Here are a few pointers I am trying to implement, to make the most of this Ramadan:
1.REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF THE ONE YOU’RE FASTING FOR
In these hard and long days, nothing will benefit us more than the quick reminder of Who this is all for. Ponder your Maker’s greatness, awsomeness, beauty, power, warmth, nearness, kindness, and generosity. “When love enters the heart, all actions become easy.”
2.KEEP A SCORE-CARD
If something matters, we keep records. The good Ramadan is not about a specific number of anything, it is about effort. We should know within ourselves that we tried our best. A scorecard gives structure to our motivation.
3.THE ELEGANCE OF SILENCE
Two women in the time of the Prophet peace be upon him once asked permission to break their fast, for the heat was so exhausting on them they thought they would die. He, peace be upon him, sent them an empty bowl and said “Vomit.” They vomitted the meat and blood of backbiting. Vain talk leads to haram talk. For this reason, you will experience a serenity of heart and a glow to your countenance everytime you embrace the elegant stance of silence.
4.PLANNING THE FOOD
Do not replace eating food with thinking about eating food. Imam al-Ghazali mentions that the prophets and the siddiqun would consider their fast defective if their mind wandered off onto which foods they would have to break their fast.
5.SURFING THE WEB
It might actually be easier to avoid food than to avoid the web. We should view our fast as a detox from everything that is not dhikr Allah. “The world is cursed; cursed is everything in it, except a scholar, a student, and the remembrance of Allah,” said our Noble Prophet peace be upon him.
Imam al-Ghazali further noted that the brain eats and digests its own food: thoughts, hence our phrase ‘food for thought.’ The true fast, he teaches, is one in which we can discipline the mind as we have disciplined the body. The heart was created to dwell upon Allah, not the creation. The ambition that benefits the deen is an exception.
By Dr. Shadee Elmasry , 15 Jun 2015