Ramadan is a beautiful month that brings with it the opportunity to maximise rewards and develop your practice of Islam. To abstain from food, drink and sexual relations trains us to have patience, and through it, we improve our relationship with God.
There are plenty of articles and pieces of advice flying around on blogs and websites giving you tips on how to make this Ramadan the best ever you’ve ever had.
But what about those who are unable to fast?
Be it for health reasons, menses, pregnancy, or breastfeeding, there are many people who are unable to fast during Ramadan. For them, it can sometimes feel like they’re not benefiting from Ramadan like others are.
“God does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.” Quran, 2:286
The situation you find yourself in is by the will of God, and it is outside your power. It can be disheartening to see all those around you fasting while you are unable to participate. However, there are many things you can do throughout Ramadan to continue to reap the reward. You may have the skills or ability to fulfil acts that others may be unable to. Each test is given to us by God, and there is a special reward for us when we’re patient.
Here are 5 ways you can still benefit from Ramadan when you’re not fasting.
1. Make Dua (Supplication)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Dua [supplication] is worship."
Dua is an essential tool for bringing us closer to God. Through it, we put our trust in Him, so He’ll help us through difficult times, give us ease, and provide us with all that we need. It also allows us to seek His forgiveness. It is only by the will of God that we can do anything in this world, and we should constantly ask Him for help. Allah is As-Sami: The All Hearing. He listens to each dua we make. This Ramadan, set aside some time in the day where you can sit down and make dua. You could even create a dua list.
2. Connect with the Quran
The Quran is the word of God, unchanged throughout time. During Ramadan, many people try to complete its recitation. Take it one step further to gain real benefit by trying to read the translation and commentary (or tafsir). Focus on understanding what God has ordained, in order to develop a connection with the Quran.
3. Give to Charity
Ibn Abbas said: “The Prophet [peace be upon him] was the most generous person, and he used to become more so particularly in the month of Ramadan.”
A great way to gain reward is by giving to charity. Charity can come in many forms; giving money, time, items, or your skills are all ways you can give to others. There are many acts of charity that you can do throughout your day: smile at someone, pour water for a friend, plant a tree, help an elderly neighbour with their shopping, or help someone make food for iftar.
Before Ramadan, why not choose a charity or an appeal to support? (Check out Charity Right!)
4. Feed the Fasting
“Whoever provides food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his [the fasting person’s], without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person.” - Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
While you may not be able to fast yourself, you can assist those who are fasting and be rewarded for this. Make it a goal to try to feed someone iftar every few days, including family, friends, coworkers and even strangers. This can be a great way to strengthen the bond between those who you are close with and develop relationships with those who you may be struggling with.
5. Work on Your Character
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Righteousness is in good character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.”
Ramadan is a good time to reflect on your character and work on developing yourself. Nobody is perfect and we are all learning, growing and changing. Take Ramadan as a month to check in on your goals and aspirations. Most importantly, use it to check in on the state of your heart and Islam.
Dr Aishah Muhammad, a qualified medical doctor and personal trainer, is passionate about helping people improve their health and fitness through positive lifestyle changes. She shares recipes, workout ideas and lots of health related content. Follow her at her blog: www.grainsandgains.com
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