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Fasting can be undertaken at any time of the year, but being a requirement in Islam to fast the month of Ramadan, this time of year sees the most frequency of fasting. These tips are primarily for fasting during this month, but also for at anytime one decides to fast.
- Prior to the start of Ramadan, lower your daily intake of caffeinated beverages; the sudden decrease in your intake of them can lead to irritability and headaches
- Always eat suhoor (meal taken right before the start of fasting); I do not recommend skipping this. Our Prophet SAW said: "Take the Suhoor meal, for there is blessing in it," (Bukhari, Muslim).
- At iftaar, break your fast with dates or water. Eat an odd number of dates (this is sunnah). Don't worry: It's fine if neither of these is available.
- Eat fulfilling food; for the suhoor meal, many people eat foul meddames (which is a kind of bean, called fava beans in English) as it has a stick-to-the-ribs type effect (here is a recipe variation of how it is prepared, but there are MANY ways to make it!). Another good choice for suhoor would be oatmeal (porridge), eggs or yogurt with fruit.
- Eat a good balance of all food groups. Eat vegetables at each meal and eat fruits at the end of each meal.
- Drink plenty of fluids between iftar and suhoor.
- Some people head off any headache that might occur, especially in the first days of the month, by taking a pain reliever prior to fajr.
- Don't over-eat at iftar. The following hadith, narrated by Al-Miqdad ibn Ma’ad Yakrib, applies to this advice: The Prophet SAW said, "No human ever filled a container more evil than his belly. The few morsels needed to support his being shall suffice the son of Adam. But if there is no recourse then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath," (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi)
- Make dhikr (Remembrances of Allah SWT) often.
- Make duaa often and at the time of breaking fast. It was reported by Abu Hurairah (RA) in Hadith that the Prophet SAW said, "The supplications of three persons are not rejected: the supplication of a fasting person at the time of breaking fast, of a just ruler, and of a person who is wronged. Allah causes their supplications to rise above the clouds, and gates of heaven are opened for them, and God says, 'By My Majesty, I will help you, even it be after a while'" (Reported by Tirmizhi, with a sound chain of authorities).
- Make a du'aa list
- Repeat Surat al Ikhlas frequently. In Hadith, it is noted as having value of having read one third of the Holy Qur'an! Recite it three times and it will be recorded for you as having read the entire Qur'an, Subhanallah!
- Many people set as their goal to read the entire Qur'an during this month; if you are unable to meet this goal, set a suitable one for yourself and stick to it.
- Set goals for yourself in this month, such as which surahs you will memorize, how many pages to read daily from Qur'an. It will help you achieve a great sense of accomplishment during this month bringing you closer to Allah SWT, which is Ramadan's main objective. See NME's Ramadan Calendar and Spiritual Guide
- Make special plans to accommodate small children if you have them. This might mean an extra caregiver on hand, or coloring books or other low-key activities they can enjoy when your energy has been zapped and you're not up for a trip to the park.
- In non-Muslim countries, many times people are unaware of Ramadan, when it occurs and what it entails. If you have a job in a non-Muslim country, consider speaking to your employer about some special accommodations they could make for you in this month to ease the difficulty, such as reduced or flexible work hours.
- If you miss fasting some days, make a physical note of how many days you will need to make up fasting later once you are able. This can be especially important for women considering that days missed fasting due to menstruation, pregnancy, and/or nursing can have a tendency to build.
- If you are unable to fast because of a medical need, don't neglect to make a donation for the price of one meal each for two people or two meals for one person. The estimated cost, on guidance from the Fiqh Council of North America, is $10 for each day missed or $300 for all of Ramadan. For more information on this, please see this link to Islamic Relief, which is a top rated charity organization.
- See these links for Ramadan related apps for your Android, iPhone or iPad device