Foolproof Steps for Starting Ramadan Right (#3: Maintain Balance)
Part 3 of 3.
As you continue with the countdown to Ramadan, it is important to maintain balance in everything you do through self-monitoring.
From budgeting to self care and down to your passion project.
The reality of the fasting month may not turn out exactly as planned. So rather than get over-ambitious with your plans and stressed with the end results, try to give each activity and your body its due right.
Monitor your habits closely so you don’t fall into an extreme state with any of your activities.
Learn to uphold a balanced outlook.
Lessons from History
Aa’id Abdullah al Qarni described the righteous predecessors in his book ”Thirty lessons for Those Who Fast”, as ‘people who accepted fasting as a season for goodness and also an opportunity for competition’.
He further explains that when a person fasts, ”the soul is humbled, the heart is subdued, ambitions curbed and canal desires are dispelled. Thus, prayers are answered because of his/her closeness to Allah”.
Through your plans and acts in the special month, you should in the same way as the pious predecessors engage in healthy competition for rewards.
And strive to remain close to that primary opportunity of gaining reward – with the mind, body and soul all focused on gaining closeness to Allah (swt); while avoiding getting overwhelmed from too much planning and seeking perfectionism.
Being excessively busy is no guarantee that one is engaging in rewarding deeds. What matters is the sincerity of intention and pure manner of striving towards His Pleasure.
A Month of Balance
Consider ways to maintain balance with all of your habits & activities in Ramadan, and even beyond the month.
Monitor yourself so that when you find you are sliding towards any extreme, you can shift gears to a more balanced position.
• Extravagance vs. Miserliness.
Think Balance. Utilise opportunities for charity & sharing throughout the month.
• Complete seclusion vs. Excessive socialisation.
Plan out time for keeping ties of kinship e.g through family iftaars & also dedicate time for engaging in community projects.
• Overburdening self vs. Laziness.
Engage in small but consistent acts eg daily volunteering at a local masjid, rather than complaining and making excuses.
• Wasting time hanging around in randomness vs. Showing off with excessive acts of worship.
Find ways to maximise your time and gain rewards in sincere ways. eg doing Dhikr (supplication) while preparing iftaar meal. You can also engage in a secret act of worship daily between you & Allah ((swt) alone.
• Mindless Chatter vs. Sleeping for most of the day & night.
Find ways to call to pure speech e.g through Dawah, teaching the Qur’an etc. Personally you can read the Qur’an & books of Tafseer & engage in much Dhikr (remembrance).
• Negligence vs. Ignorance in worship.
Increase consciousness in your worship at all times. You can improve your worship through beneficial learning – whether online or offline.
• Making excuses with sins and transgressions during fasting vs. Arrogance & nonchalant attitude
Maintain balance by striving to win against your nafs. Think of the pleasure & fulfilment from seeking blessings and gaining rewards of fasting.
Season of Lifestyle Changes
You may be a busy employee, business owner or student – occupied with work activities during the day and caring for your family after work hours.
Yet, you crave for the rewards in Ramadan.
So you make plans to help out at community events, attend tarawih at the masjid and pray tahajjud with your family.
Rather than plan to read the entire Qur’an several times during the entire Ramadan while engaging with your active roles; you can create balance with your Qur’an goals just as with all of the other goals.
Depending on your available free time during & outside work hours, you can plan ahead to complete reciting the Qur’an once or read a certain part such as the 29th – 30th part. And you can include reading along the tafsir or translation of meanings.
The reward for reading a letter from the Qur’an should never be underestimated; so plan to read with deep consciousness and sincere intention for the reward involved. Not for the quantity you can cover or the fast pace you can zoom ahead.
It is good to be realistic – understanding the limits of how much you can achieve in Ramadan due to other important responsibilities and priorities. But also remembering to push yourself out of your comfort zone and engage in a worthy competition with awards beyond this world.
This is no way encouraging laziness or excuses – but rather promoting self-monitoring for balance.
In this way, you are aware of all the opportunities within the special month and strive to maximise them with awareness and commitment.
Let’s countdown to a balanced Ramadan lifestyle! Don’t forget to;
In what ways will you try to maintain balance with your Ramadan schedule & goals?
photo credit: woodleywonderworks