The Ramadan Balancing Act

Salaam! Only a couple more weeks of Ramadan to go, and I hope you are making the most of it in shaa Allah!

Today I want to write about something that I know I, and I think many others, struggle with during the month of Ramadan: how to balance worship with our everyday tasks like work, school, family, and housework.

I know, for me, during Ramadan I want to do nothing but focus on my worship all day long. I am fasting, I want to pray extra, read more Qur’an, listen to more lectures, learn more and develop more. Often this can lead to me neglecting things like sweeping the floors or feeding the cats because I feel like these tasks aren’t worthy of my precious Ramadan time.

But, I have to remind myself that if we take on the more “mundane” tasks of our lives during this holy month with the right mindset, we could be getting reward for that too.

If I clean up after the kittens and make sure their water bowl is filled with the intention that I am doing this because Allah swt tells us to show kindness and mercy to every living thing, and that these cats are a creation of Allah swt, in shaa Allah I will be getting rewarded for that just like I would for doing another act of worship in that same time.

If I take the time in the morning to clean up the house, do the dishes from suhoor, sweep and make the bed with the intention of  remembering the sunnah of being clean, tidy,and presentable, in shaa Allah I will be getting reward for making my husband happy to come home and following sunnah!

That’s not to say we shouldn’t even bother with the extra worship; it is all about that balance. Take care of what absolutely needs to be done in your house, work, school, family, etc. and then use your extra time for prayer, Qur’an, and learning.

We always feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but during Ramadan is the time where we really need to think of how we are spending those hours.  Instead of sitting down, exhausted from doing housework and fasting all day, and getting straight onto Facebook to waste the last hour before dinner, open the Qur’an app on your phone instead. Instead of unwinding at night with that novel you’ve been into, pick up a beneficial book with knowledge to impart. Even while you are doing your daily tasks you can be keeping up with your spirituality by listening to podcasts or YouTube lectures from your favorite speakers.

It’s not about creating more hours, it’s about spending the ones you have wisely. One great measuring-stick is to ask yourself, is what I am doing bringing me closer to Allah swt? If you are on that social media with the right intention (keeping in touch with family, spreading knowledge, etc.), that could be a yes. But how often are we just wasting time, whiling away the hours until we get that first gulp of water and first bite of food?

Another thing I really like to do (whether during Ramadan or just in my daily life) is to structure my day around the five prayers. If you can make your prayers the central part of your day, whether you have work or school or kids to deal with you will be able to keep anchored to what the most important things are this month.

Something we tend to forget about during Ramadan is the fact that this is a time of cleansing for our bodies as well as our hearts, but if we don’t take proper care of them we won’t be able to do either properly.

We need to make sure we are getting a good balance of prayer and sleep at night, if we don’t get any sleep we won’t be able to function for a day of fasting. And if you do stay up a lot at night for prayer, take some time out of your day for a small nap to replenish your energy and keep you going for taraweeh.

As tempting as it is, it is also super damaging on our bodies if we fill up on all of our favorite junk food after a day of fasting. I was guilty of this last Ramadan, but this year I am sticking with light, vegetable-laden soups and fruits for dessert. I do keep my tea, but I also make sure to drink as much water during the night as I would usually during the day. The key is to make sure that the food and water you are putting into your body when you break your fast is enough to energize and hydrate you for a night of taraweeh followed by another day of fasting.

If our bodies are running on empty, it is highly likely that our minds will be too, and we will be missing out on all of the spiritual benefits of Ramadan, basically just making ourselves hungry and thirsty for a month.

It is a lot to juggle; taking care of your day-to-day life, taking on extra worship and spiritual growth, and keeping yourself nourished and healthy for a whole thirty days. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, or off track with your worship this Ramadan, sit for a few minutes to reflect back on your intentions. Maybe use these few minutes to pray a few extra rakat and make dua.

And once you have got yourself feeling more centered and concentrated, make a schedule for the rest of the day, filling in prayers, worship, and must-do tasks first. You could even take this schedule and extend it to the rest of the days of Ramadan as well, but make sure it stays somewhere were you can see it and stick to it!

Most, importantly, remember we are all human and we will make mistakes. Life gets in the way, and we just have to do our best to get the most benefit out of this month.

I would love to hear from you guys on this one—what are you doing to keep yourself healthy this Ramadan? How do you keep productive in your job/work/home and also maintain extra worship practices? What do you cut out of your time in order to waste less of it?

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