Ramadan 2021

Ramadan UAE: Prepare your mind, body, soul for the holy month

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on April 9, 2021
KT file photo by Shihab

We need to focus on things like anger management, emotional intelligence, tolerance and gratitude to be more productive in Ramadan.

Ramadan is now just a few days away — and in order to make the most of the holy month, both physically and spiritually, it’s best to prepare your mind and body.

Have you ever welcomed Ramadan with intense passion only to feel ‘burnt out’ after just a few days of fasting? When it happens, one would eventually spend most of the day lazing around and sleeping on the pretext of fasting. To address this, Islamic teacher Sadaf Ather said one must enter the holy month with the ‘correct approach’.

“We usually welcome Ramadan with a fixed mindset that we have to spend it by fulfilling all the obligations like normal rituals, which is why we don’t really enjoy the vibe, charm, tranquility, and blessings of the holy month,” Ather said.

“We need to change our ‘fixed’ mindset into a ‘growth’ mindset to fully enjoy and benefit from the blessed month. We need to set small goals and aim to work hard consistently to achieve them. This kind of mindset to grow and achieve more is driven by the desire to learn and improve, and it thrives in the face of challenge.”

Giving an example, she said: “If we are tempted to miss even one prayer, we should instantly remember that during this holy month, our rewards for prayers are multiplied, this will motivate us to try our best to be punctual and regular with our prayers.”

A number of activities that used to be part of the norm have now been restricted due to the Covid pandemic. Iftar and Suhoor gatherings, as well as tents, are not allowed. This meant the faithful will be spending more time at home, at times in isolation. However, experts and scholars said this should not deter one from embracing the spirit of Ramadan. In fact, quiet moments could be an opportunity for reflection.

“We need to focus on things like anger management, emotional intelligence, tolerance and gratitude to be more productive in Ramadan. It is important to work on ‘how’ to achieve the most, rather than ‘why’,” Ather said.

Mohammed Al Hasan Khan, an imam, added that it is important to pray to God for strength, both mental and physical. “First, stay safe and practise all the precautionary measures, so that you can welcome Ramadan in your best health. Second, planning is key to make the most of the holy month. Plan your work schedule and try finishing all pending work before Ramadan so that you can accommodate more time for worship. Also, seek knowledge and review all the rulings and fatwas related to Ramadan.”

While the holy month of fasting is packed with spiritual and physical benefits, it can be challenging for some who are used to their morning coffee and regular snacking. Doctors advise people to gradually cut down on their meals, as well as salt and sugar intake, ahead of Ramadan.

Dr Shaza Mohammed, family medicine specialist at Medcare Medical Centre Al Barsha, said: “Begin with limiting the amounts of caffeinated drinks you consume daily or switch to decaf. For those who would normally consume caffeinated drinks during the day, the lack of caffeine during the fast may initially lead to headaches and tiredness. Reduce your food intake as over-eating before Ramadan will increase your appetite and make it difficult to fast.”

Those who are used to skipping breakfast should get into the habit of eating early so they could adjust for Suhoor, she added. “Also, it’s time to regulate your sleeping patterns to adapt to an earlier-than-usual waking hours and try to sleep earlier at night as it will mimic your sleeping pattern during Ramadan.”

Dr Arun Thangaraj, specialist gastroenterologist at Aster Garden Specialty clinic, added that those fond of junk food and oily food must now pay attention to what they eat. “The food we eat before we start our fast or to break our fast needs to be healthy so we can achieve the benefit of fasting and not waste our effort by eating junk later.”

He added that this was also the right time to quit bad habits such as smoking. “It is better to gradually wean off smoking before Ramadan to avoid withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anger, impatience etc. during fasting.”


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These prayer timings are for Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. For Abu Dhabi, add four minutes. Deduct four minutes for Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain, and six minutes for Fujairah.

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