Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam along with:
- Shahada – the declaration of faith,
- Salah – prayer,
- Zakat – giving charity
- and Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca, which makes it mandatory.
The purpose of fasting is to bring one closer to Allah, purify the mind and soul, practice self-restraint, think of the unfortunate and detach from worldly pleasures.
There are so many ways that you can get involved during Ramadan:
- Read the Quran
- Focus on improving your prayers – It may take some getting used to but do your best to pray on time. You can get help on how to pray correctly using our Salah step by step guide. You can also learn about the different types of prayers in Islam in our different types of salah article.
- Make the most of your worship by utilising the beautiful night of Laylatul Qadr.
- You may also want to consider volunteering at your local masjid to help them with anything they are struggling with. You will earn good deeds and In Shah Allah make friends in the process (this will apply to future Ramadan’s, this year it is better to stay home and stay safe).
Also, Ramadan is a month when Allah expiates believers past sins, and opens the doors of Jannah (paradise) to them, here is a few important Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to recall the great magnitude of this blessed month:
Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven. (Sahih Al Bukhari).
Also, don’t forget to download your FREE Ramadan Planner & 99 Names of Allah here. The Sunnah tells us that the reward for memorising the names of Allah, may He be exalted, is admission to Paradise. Al-Bukhaari (2736) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever memorizes them will enter Paradise.”
Here are some tips that should help make this Ramadan a wonderful one, In Shah Allah. Just as a quick note, some of these tips may not be relevant to this Ramadan, this article was written before the Coronavirus pandemic came about. However, like everything else, this is a test from Allah (SWT) and we all have to adjust accordingly. You can still do a lot of things below, but family gatherings and attending the mosque will now be difficult. In Shah Allah, we will all be rewarded for our patience this Ramadan. Take this time to make the most out of your prayers and duas.
1. Be sure not to overeat!
One thing you need to remember is not to overeat and binge on unhealthy foods during Ramadan, although we all know how tempting it can be. This is due to so many different reasons e.g. It can lead to abdominal pain and discomfort as eating things such as samosas or chips can cause a bloated stomach, heartburn and cramping. Eating too much also means you will end up sleepy and you won’t be able to focus on prayers.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
I eat as the servant eats, and I sit as the servant sits. Verily, I am only a servant . Source: Shu’ab al-Imān 551
Aisha was reported to have said
Verily, the first trial to occur in this nation after the passing of its Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was people eating to their fill. For when people fill their stomachs, their bodies are fattened, their hearts are hardened, and their desires are uncontrollable.
We should always hold back and remember the sunnah of eating only a few morsels/bites when we are hungry and a maximum of a third of our stomach full of food.
Miqdam ibn Ma’d reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it , then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.
2. Delay Suhoor
Ramadan for Muslims, especially newly practising Muslims can be a confusing time – You can often end up eating early.
It’s actually good to delay suhoor, this is actually a sunnah! The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said:
“If one of you hears the call to Prayer whilst the vessel is in his hand, then let him not put it down until he has completed his need from it.”
It is mentioned that it could be ideal to delay it for about 15-20 minutes before Fajr time. The more you can delay your suhoor in this manner the better. Zaid bin Thabit said;
“We took Sahur with the Messenger of Allah then we went to pray.” I asked the Prophet (ﷺ):”How long was there between Adhan and Suhur?” He said: «As long as it takes a man to recite fifty verses» (Bukhari).
This is around 15-20 minutes or so.
Remember you should try not to miss suhoor. It is also important to eat the correct foods as they will provide you with energy throughout the day and curve the feeling of wanting to stuff your face with everything in sight at iftar!
Some good recipes to try to have at suhoor:
Toasted bread with egg and smashed avocado. So easy to make and delicious!
- Thick bread Slice/s.
- Ripened Avocado
- 1/2 eggs.
- Use thick bread as it’s just tastier and toast it. Spread some olive oil or butter on it.
- Take the avocado and mash it up with some salt and pepper. (you can add herbs in that you like e.g. coriander).
- Fry or poach the egg/s.
- Layer the egg and then the avocado and voila you’re ready to eat!
Chickpea & Salad Pitta
- Pitta Bread
- Can of chickpeas
- Bell peppers – 1 big one any colour
- 1 large tomato
- half a cucumber
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- Lettuce or spinach
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes – more if you like it spicy
- salt to taste
- 2 tbs oil (1tbs if not frying the onions – see instructions)
- heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until slightly brown – You can also leave the garlic out and use the onion raw (I love it this way)
- food process half the chickpeas
- mix the crushed chickpeas with the whole ones add the cumin powder, sumac powder, chill flakes and salt and mix it all up so that the spices are thoroughly mixed.
- Now if you’re cutting the onions instead of frying, then do that now, cut the cucumber, tomato and spinach or lettuce sprinkle only 1 tbs oil in this and mix it up(preferably olive oil)
- Now finally mix the salad with the chickpeas
- fill up your Pitta – you can add ketchup, mayonnaise or any other sauce you like.
- Tuck in!
These are two quick recipes. You can head over to Tiffin and Tea Official for some creative recipes for suhoor as well.
3. Hurry to break your fast
Follow the sunnah of hurrying to break your fast. Al-Bukhaari (1957) and Muslim (1098) narrated from Sahl ibn Sa’d that the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said:
The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast.
It is recommended to drink some water and eat a date at the time of breaking your fast then to pray Maghrib and have your main meal. It is always ideal to prioritise your prayers and make sure that you pray each of them on time every day.
This is a must-do. If you are a male then it is usually very important to attend the Friday prayers at your local mosque. These are called “Jummah” prayers. (although due to the coronavirus this is not possible at the moment). The times for prayers can be found on the mosques website or Facebook page. Be sure not to miss this prayer.
O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for Jummah (Friday prayer), come fast to the remembrance of Allah(Quran, 62: 9)
The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said,
Whoever takes a bath on a Friday and does it well, and purifies himself and does it well, and puts on his best clothes, and puts on whatever Allah decrees for him of the perfume of his family, then comes to the mosque and does not engage in idle talk or separate (pushing between) two people; he will be forgiven for (his sins) between that day and the previous Friday.”(Ibn Majah)
4. Worship consistently
With the current situation on hand, it’s a good idea to try and get as much of your family living with you involved in the 5 daily prayers. If you are on your own it is a good idea to have a prayer routine in place. Our daily planner resource pack can really help you organise things. Get yours today!
When praying it is important to do it with Khushoo. This includes the following:
We understand that for a lot of Muslims, especially revert Muslims this will be a very difficult time. With the current climate, it will not be possible to go to the mosque to open your fast or to pray Taraweeh. One way around this would be to join Facebook groups. there are so many good ones out there for men and women. Find one that you like.
Sisters and brothers can respectively support each other through this time and you won’t feel lonely as there is a virtual Muslim community out there. You can ask questions, you can get involved in games and generally just have loads of fun as a Muslim community!
Taraweeh prayers are really important, the experience of it is beautiful, so even though you cannot go to the mosque to pray them, do them at home. You can put on a recitation of the Quran, it feeds and soothes the soul and connects you to Allah Almighty. Alternatively, you can read the Quran in between Taraweeh as well.
Make the most of this month by reciting the Quran, this is what is so important about Ramadan. This is the time to connect to Allah (SWT), by understanding and absorbing each word in the Quran. Let the words connect with your daily life. Do not just read Arabic, but get a translation copy, ideally one with Tafseer (detailed explanation of the verses) and make it your focus to read meanings along with the Arabic words. Allah says:
“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” (Quran 38:29)
These Quran apps are brilliant for the Quran or the translation/Tafseer. (These are android suitable, if you have an i phone you may need to do a quick search for it):
There are lots of features available in this app which gives the real experience while you read.
Features included are clear Madani complaint images, ayah bookmarking, audio playback, night mode etc. This application is available in 20 different languages and others will come with new updates.
Comes installed with the Arabic language but you will get the option to change languages to one that suits you. You also get this full Holy Quran in English language and as well as in audio (verse by verse) sets file so that you can learn the correct pronunciation easily.
This is a very well used app. Apart from that, you get the feature of bookmarking, navigation control, search option and much more.
This app comes with 35+ languages including English, Spanish, Urdu, Turkish and many more.
You can mark the last verses you read with the help of a single bookmark feature. Apart from that you can also make the note of each ayah and transfer it to any another device. It provides Verse by Verse Audio Playback with repeat functions, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Color Coded Tajweed, Word by Word Analysis and Translations, Index of Quran, Note Taking & Custom Bookmarks with Sync, Powerful Search.
This is not as well know but I am loving this one as it has the Hadiths and Sunnah book in it as well.
It allows you to bookmark and choose your language of choice.
The ease of access to all the Tafseer available in this app is outstanding. The word by word translation makes it more useful to learn and understand Quran. And the best of all is the clean and beautiful user interface.
This is the one I am using at the moment.
5. Avoid bad deeds
Remember that fasting is not just abstaining from food and lawful intercourse with your spouse. You should also avoid all bad deeds such as gossip and backbiting.
Neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful [49:12]
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
“Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” [Muslim]
So it is critical that you do not engage in conversations like this and even better if you stop the people from saying things like this.
Bad deeds also include watching TV, playing games, engaging in useless debates. Do not waste your time in such idle tasks when you could be doing good things like remembering Allah (SWT), giving charity or even feeding the poor.
5. Power of Dua
Make lots of dua! never underestimate the power of dua.
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.”(Surah Baqarah v. 186) “The supplications of three persons are never turned away: a just ruler, a fasting person until he breaks his fast, and the supplication of an oppressed person which is raised by Allah to the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the gates of heaven are opened for it and Allah says: By my might, I will help you even if it is after a while” (Sunan Ibn Majah No. 1624).
What is said above is truly powerful. If you sit and reflect on this you will really realise how amazing and powerful dua really is. Make a dua-list and really make those same duaas every single day during Ramadan and in Shah Allah, you will achieve all of your duaas. Here are 10 times dua is accepted, utilise it as much as possible this Ramadan.
This is a brilliant time to making duaa for people affected by the virus and to ask for protection for yourself, your family & friends as well as the community & world around you. Here are a few duaas that works wonders:
6. Find a Mosque
Find your local mosque through google and go there at least once to break your fast in the community. Maybe you will make some friends, in sha Allah. It will help you a lot, in Shah Allah, especially if your family isn’t in full support of your beliefs. Be sure to spend as much time as possible with pious people. Choose Muslim friends who cover up properly, are kind, don’t drink alcohol, don’t do drugs or party, etc. Be very careful because the friends you choose have an impact on who you are as a person.
“Content yourself with those who pray to their Lord morning and evening, seeking His approval, and do not let your eyes turn away from them out of desire for the attractions of this worldly life, and do not yield to those whose hearts We have made heedless of Our remembrance, those who follow their own low desires, those whose ways are unbridled.” (Quran 18:28)
At the time of writing this article, I would never have been imagined that we would be in the situation we are in today. The mosque is currently out of the question but In Shah Allah, once things are better you can definitely do this again.
7. Family get together
Invite your family over to break your fast with you to a nice homemade meal or out to dinner. Teach them about the beauty of Islam if they are not practising. If they have any questions or say anything that you don’t know the answer to let them know you will get back to them. If they know more than you, take the opportunity to have open discussions about Islam so that you can learn new things.
Once you are knowledgeable enough, you can help correct others for any misunderstandings that they may have. But avoid debates with people. Say what you know to be right and if they fight then wish them peace. We should always be kind to others the best we can even if they are unkind. Unhealthy debating or being rude only leads to turning people off from religion, or anything really that you may be discussing.
NB: Family gatherings are an important part of iftar but this year due to social distancing this will not be possible unless you are isolating with family members. If this is the case, then you can continue as normal.
To compensate for this lack of social interaction, some Muslims are using technologies such as Zoom and Skype to do family iftars and arrange communal online iftars.
Some organisations and mosques have set up online webinars and video conferences. E.g. UK’s Ramadan Tent Project, which usually hosts an outdoor open iftar every Ramadan will this year be hosting online webinars to address spiritual questions and offers advice on how to benefit from the holy month. East London Mosque is holding prayers via there website as well.
8. The all-powerful night
Search for Laylat al-Qadr. It is a special night in the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
“Indeed, We revealed [the Qur’an] during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.” (97:1-5)
The companion Anas ibn Malik reported:
“Ramadan approached, so the Messenger of God said: ‘This month has come to you, and in it there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it is deprived of all goodness, and no one is deprived of its goodness except one who is truly deprived.’
NB: We say search the last 10 nights, it is usually the odd number nights that you focus your prayer on, but doing Ibadah every night for the last 10 days is really good. There is a hadith hinting specifically on the 27th night, but there are also other hadith emphasising that it’s one of the last ten days and we should still strive to search for it in the other nights, especially the odd nights.
The Prophet (PBUH) enjoined staying up and praying on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” Agreed upon.
This hadeeth indicates that it is prescribed to observe Laylat al-Qadr by spending the night in prayer.
One of the best duaas that may be recited on Laylat al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (PBUH) taught to ‘Aa’ishah (RA). Al-Tirmidhi narrated, and classed the report as Saheeh that ‘Aa’ishah said: “I said:
‘O Messenger of Allaah, if I know which night is Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say on that night?’ He said, ‘Say: Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni (O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).”
Just to clarity, you should read this dua constantly during the nights:
May Allah forgive us all our sins.
Although the main focus of Ramadan is our connection to the Almighty you need to remember poorer members of the society as well. They will be suffering so much more than any of us. Usually, they are reliant on communal iftars hosted by wealthier members of their community. But now they will have nowhere to turn. Usually, this is free food for them, but events providing food for them cannot take place and they will be losing out.
Such restrictions are most definitely going to dampen the spirit of Ramadan for the poor. But you can still play you part by doing acts of charity. This can be done by contributing and making sure that members of the community that are poor are being fed. Charities are trying to help people hit badly by the coronavirus. it is a good idea to help in any way you can. Not only will you be rewarded by Allah (SWT), you will also get duaas from the people you help.
During Ramadan, orphans, widows and needy people without any source of income struggle to buy the food they need. To help alleviate this problem, charities try and raise money for them. With so many out there, choose one you feel comfortable with and earn some extra reward this Ramadan.
10 Remember the purpose of Ramadan
Ramadan is a time to renew yourself spiritually by reflecting on yourself and bonding with Allah (SWT).
Be a good representative of a Muslim. Do your best to always be a kind, modest, and all-around decent person. Learn as much true information about Islam as you can and then take action on.
It is important to be kind and caring towards our family, friends and wider community. Take time to help them, to maybe cook for them and send them food (this can be done in the current climate as well) remind them you are there for them if they need you. Understandably, It’s not easy – but that’s where the reward lies! So whenever you’re feeling tired, hungry, thirsty or even low, remember why you’re fasting – for the love of Allah (SWT). SubhanAllah!
It’s the reward of pleasing Allah (SWT) that will push you forward to do better.
Seek Islamic knowledge as much as you can. Knowledge is power but only when it’s used correctly. Every-time you learn an actionable insight about Islam you should immediately take action on it to the best of your ability. However, don’t use it pressurise or make others feel uncomfortable.
Take a step away from your everyday spending this year, its a good time as it will be easier with the pandemic that is around us. We tend to spend money on useless stuff, this concept of waste and extravagance extends to material possessions such as clothing and household items, as well as how we spend our time. We should be actively doing something positive to change this.
So why not try “unplugging” yourself from television, laptop, console games and all gadgets this Ramadan? or only buying essential food? Maybe you could make an actionable plan to not do 2/3 things and stick to it. Whatever you decide, the end motivator should be to please Allah (SWT).
We have included a free daily planner pack for you. All you need to do is add it to your basket and checkout. It’s completely free. Let us know if you found it useful!
So, with these ten top tips, you should be fully prepared for a blessed month ahead, ready to face any challenge you may face and able to make the most of these precious weeks.
REMEMBER don’t forget to download your FREE daily planner & 99 names of Allah here.