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Ramadan for Students

by Musa Bukhari

The Prophet said, "Whoever fasts a day for the sake of Allah, Allah will keep him from Hell-fire at a distance covered in 70 years." (Muslim)

As the sacred month of Ramadan dawns upon us, students face the unique challenge of balancing their academic pursuits with the spiritual observances integral to this blessed time. Negotiating the demands of school alongside the duties of fasting and worship requires careful planning and a mindful approach. Here, we delve deeper into practical strategies that students can employ to enhance their Ramadan experience and enrich their spiritual journey.

1. Plan Your Meals in Advance

"Allah, may He be exalted, said: 'Fasting is for me and I shall reward for it. The fasting person has two moments of joy: When he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord. And the smell that comes from the mouth of the fasting person is better before Allah than the fragrance of musk." (Sunan an Nasa’i)

The fasting period from dawn till dusk during Ramadan necessitates a thoughtful approach to nutrition. Planning meals in advance is key to ensuring sustained energy levels throughout the day. By incorporating a diverse range of nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, and protein sources, students can maintain a balanced diet that supports physical well-being. Additionally, opting for cooling foods like cucumbers, apples, grapes, and yogurt can help regulate body temperature and alleviate thirst, enhancing the fasting experience.

Furthermore, strategic meal planning discourages excessive consumption of fried or unhealthy foods, promoting better dietary habits. Embracing Ramadan as an opportunity for dietary change allows students to cultivate healthier eating patterns, fostering a sense of physical and spiritual well-being. Though the initial adjustment may pose challenges, perseverance and dedication will lead to transformative results over time.

2. Prioritize Sleep

“The month of Ramadan in which the Qur'ân was revealed as a guidance for humanity, clear proofs of guidance, and a criterion. So whoever among you witnesses the month, let him fast it." [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 185]

Amidst the hustle and bustle of academic life, adequate sleep is often overlooked, yet it remains essential for overall health and well-being, particularly during Ramadan. With the nights lengthening during this blessed month, students are encouraged to prioritize restorative sleep to sustain energy levels throughout the day. Aim for about five hours of sleep after Taraweeh prayers, followed by waking up 90 minutes before suhoor to engage in Tahajjud prayers and supplications.

For those unable to sleep immediately after Fajr prayers, allocating time for a midday nap or adhering to the Sunnah practice of resting between Dhuhr and Asr prayers can provide rejuvenation. Utilizing the time after Fajr for academic pursuits or spiritual reflection capitalizes on the spiritual blessings inherent in this sacred time. By embracing a holistic approach to rest and productivity, students can optimize their physical and mental faculties during Ramadan.

3. Allocate Time for Worship

Central to the Ramadan experience is the cultivation of spiritual growth through acts of worship. For students, integrating worship into daily routines may present logistical challenges, yet with intentionality and creativity, meaningful engagement with religious practices is attainable.

Consider incorporating the following activities into your daily schedule:

  • Reading a page of the Quran after each prayer.
  • Engaging in Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) during idle moments throughout the day.
  • Listening to religious lectures or podcasts during commutes or breaks.
  • Organizing informal study circles or reflection sessions with peers (halaqas)
  • Offering heartfelt supplications (duas) while navigating daily tasks and responsibilities.

By weaving these moments of worship into the fabric of daily life, students can infuse their Ramadan experience with spiritual depth and meaning. It is essential to pace oneself and prioritize consistency over intensity, gradually increasing acts of devotion as the month progresses.

4. Embrace the Power of Dua

At the heart of Ramadan lies the profound practice of dua (supplication). The blessed month offers a unique opportunity for students to beseech Allah for guidance, mercy, and blessings. Through sincere and heartfelt prayers, students can navigate challenges, seek forgiveness, and cultivate spiritual closeness.

Here's a simple dua to enhance your Ramadan journey:

رَبِّ يَسِرُ وَلَا تُعَسِرُ وَتَمِّمُ بِالْخَيْرِ

Rabbi ishrah lee sadree Wayassir lee amree

Translation: “O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness); Ease my task for me;” (20:25-26)

5. Surround Yourself with Good Company

“The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one (iron-smith) blowing bellows, and the owner of musk would either offer you free of charge or you would buy it from him or you would smell its pleasant odour, and so far as one who blows the. bellows is concerned, he would either burn your clothes or you shall have to smell its repugnant smell”. (Muslim)

Acknowledging the challenges of Ramadan is the first step towards overcoming them. Often, the journey can feel lonely, but it doesn't have to be. Surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals can significantly ease the burdens and enhance the experience.

Embracing community during this sacred month is paramount. By connecting with fellow Muslims, you not only foster a sense of camaraderie but also gain invaluable support in navigating the spiritual and practical challenges of Ramadan.

For those separated from friends or family, seeking out local ISOCs can provide a sense of belonging. These organizations often host Ramadan iftars and events, offering opportunities to bond with others who are on a similar journey. Whether it's sharing meals, prayers, or experiences, being part of a supportive community can make all the difference in making Ramadan more manageable and rewarding.

By embracing these strategies and incorporating them into their daily lives, students can navigate Ramadan with grace, purpose, and spiritual fulfillment. May this blessed month be a time of profound growth, reflection, and divine blessings for all students embarking on this sacred journey.

May Allah allow us to break our unhealthy attachments and establish Him as the only ilaah in our hearts through everything that we do. May Allah make us those who give like the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) gave, without fear of poverty. May Allah purify us gently and grant us the best and give us the ability to give from the best of what we have. Ameen.

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