by Lotifa Begum
Ramadan is a time of spiritual retreat – we are able to invest in the extra good deeds and gain more reward than at any time of the year. It is meant to be the most productive time of the year for us on a spiritual, social and physical level but this isn’t always the case. Sisters face a different productivity challenge during the days they are unable to fast due to menstruating or post-natal bleeding, so often I hear sisters complain about how unproductive they are during the days where they can’t fast. It’s like they feel a spiritual loss and miss out on the blessings of Ramadan. Here’s the good news sisters, you can still be productive during these days when you are unable to fast!
In this article, I will share practical tips and advice on how you can use the non-fasting days to invest in yourself spiritually, get proactive socially and make sure you don’t lose out on the blessings of Ramadan.
Firstly let’s remind ourselves of the purpose of fasting, Allah says in the Qur’an:
‘O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.’ [Qur’an 2:183]
Yet, we find sisters hit an iman dip during the days they are not fasting, the schedule of eating suhoor and taking part in the prayers can affect our spiritually uplifted habits. However, there are ways we can ensure we strive to still attain the spiritual consciousness and productivity we hoped by doing some planning and preparation on how to use this time effectively. It is also important to remember that menstruation is decreed by Allah سبحانه و تعالى for women, and we do not lose out on the reward of not fasting!
Plan Spiritual Boosters
Firstly, one of the key ways I have been able to get the best out of the days where I am not fasting are by scheduling in what I call ‘spiritual boosters’ – these are actions which will bring me closer to Allah سبحانه و تعالى and I schedule these in at regular prayer times. This makes me stay in the habit of investing in my spirituality as well as stay connected to Allah through replacing salah with other spiritually boosting actions.
These non-praying days can be used to really invest in yourself and your growth. During these days, a Productive Muslimah can plan how to improve herself and not let the ‘free time’ go to waste on social media or sitting in front of the couch! Planning your time effectively by choosing to do any of the following spiritual boosting activities can help you get the most out of these days:
- Make a dua list and make dua at the recommended times eg. iftar time, last third part of the night
- Recite or memorise verses from the Qur’an (Check out QuranTracker.com)
- Write reflections in a Ramadan Journal
- Select an Islamic book from the list here on ‘What’s on Productive Muslimah’s Bookshelf’ to read during non-fasting days
- Block out time for dhikr, contemplation and self-reflection
Get Socially Productive!
One of the best things about Ramadan for me is the opportunity to do good deed and benefit people around me in my community, such as my neighbours, my relatives, colleagues and the Ummah in general. There are so many charitable causes and Ramadan is an ideal time to invest back into the community which is why every year I have socially productive actions I invest my time into during non-praying days, either by volunteering for a charity or assisting with providing iftar for fasting people.
Many single sisters will also be able to use these days to contribute their skills, time and talents to their community and the Ummah at large, to maximise on having a productive Ramadan. There are so many creative ways you can benefit others around you during this blessed month as a Muslimah so you can also reap the benefits even though you may not be fasting.
Here are just some ideas we have on how you can be socially productive beyond the home and to contribute to the wider community:
- Volunteer at your local mosque during taraweeh prayers
- Feed a fasting person in your house
- Donate your skills and time to a local charity
- Have a productive iftar party to raise funds
- Give iftar to the neighbours
- Tell a non-Muslim colleague why we fast
- Arrange short spiritual reminders at work
- Visit a sick or ill person
Make Up Fasts: Create Sisters Support Group
Finally, many sisters face a challenge in making up the fasts they missed each year because it’s just much easier to fast whilst everyone else is also going through the same challenge, especially if it’s a long day! Also, some sisters miss a large chunk (if not all) of the days of Ramadan due to post-natal bleeding, which can make it quite a depressing thought to fast the whole month again on your own! So here’s a practical tip to get you making up your fasts soon after Ramadan – get together with some friends or sisters locally to build a support network. Together with these sisters you can set dates where you will make up your fasts together and recreate some of the Ramadan productivity after Ramadan by having iftars together and encouraging each other to make up the missed fasts before the following year. The support group could be as simple as a ‘WhatsApp’ group, where you can motivate each other and update other sisters on your progress.
So there you have it! Follow these tips to invest in having a spiritually uplifting Ramadan even whilst you are not praying or fasting, and ensure you plan your time effectively and maximise on these days by doing socially productive activities. Keep the spirit of Ramadan going by building a support group with other sisters so you can maintain the productive habits from Ramadan which you develop and ensure you make up your fasts together. May Allah fill your Ramadan with blessings and make it the most productive Ramadan yet! Ameen!