Imagine yourself running a race. This race could what saves you from a life of sadness and disgrace. You know that this race can change your future and bring light into your days. How do you think you would run this race? You started off fast and with energy, but what happens when you reach the middle of this race, with the sun beating down your back, and when you can no longer hear the cheers of the crowd? Will you slow down and give up or will you remember that this race is important, and the middle is just as important as the beginning in getting you to the finish line?
This race is Ramadan. We begin Ramadan knowing where we are headed, knowing that Ramadan is a month of barakah that can change our lives forever; but somewhere near the middle we get tired and fall into a spiritual dip.
Here are a few tips that can help you maintain your spiritual strength when the going gets tough and you feel your energy level falling:
- Check your intention Intentions are the most important part of any action. If the proper intention is not present, the action is useless. Not only that, but the action becomes hard and burdensome. As soon as you feel your Ramadan energy start to fall, check your intention. Remind yourself why you are fasting and what the rewards of those fasts are.
Action Point: Keep an “Intention Journal.” Each morning (or every night) write out your intentions for your fast and for your spiritual activeness. Seeing your intention written before you will strengthen your resolve and it also gives you something to refer to when you begin to forget why you are performing any act of worship.
- Change up your daily routine Doing the same thing every day can cause boredom. This boredom leads to that spiritual dip that we discussed earlier. If you find that you are losing momentum and beginning to slip, change up your daily routine. Rather than listening to an mp3 lecture, watch a YouTube video. Rather than reading Quran after Salah, read it before. Also, change up the verses you read in your prayer and the dua’ you make in your prayer. Keep your brain alert so that it is constantly anticipating this change, rather than slowing down due to a constant routine that it is now bored of.
Action Point: Create an action plan that is exciting and when you begin to feel that dip, put that action plan into play. Wake up your brain!
- Fast each day as if it is your last Every night as you go to sleep, realize that this is a small death. Allah is taking your soul and He returns it every morning. As you go to sleep every night after your fast, realize that you are about to have your soul taken, and it may or may not be returned. Ask yourself a very important question: “If God doesn’t return my soul tonight, will I be pleased with the last fast that I have done?” If the answer to this question is no, be sure that if you are allowed to fast another day, that you make it a fast that you would be willing to meet Allah with.
Action Point: Hold yourself accountable every night by asking if you are comfortable meeting Allah with the fast of that day being your last fast.
- Record your gains Sometimes the cause of our spiritual dip is actually a loss of self-confidence. We begin to feel that we haven’t done anything good, so why continue to try? To prevent this, start recording your gains. Have a journal or a notebook in which you can write down – each night – the goodthings that you have done (not the bad, nor the things you didn’t do). Each day, after writing down all your gains, re-read them and commit to doing these same things tomorrow but adding on one action.
Action Point: Get a journal and record your gains!
Ramadan is a month of barakah, a month in which the shayateen have been chained up and we have been promised immense reward. The beginning, middle and end are all important parts of this month and moments that we should take advantage of fully. Don’t allow a loss of momentum cause you to go through a spiritual dip. And above all, make dua that Allah allows you to benefit and be productive through the entirety of this Ramadan.
About the Author:
Reehab Ramadan is a graduate of the University of Houston, has recently achieved her certification in Quranic recitation from Jaamiah Jazriyyah, and is currently residing in Cairo, Egypt. Reehab’s enriching experience in community activism, specifically with social service and youth work, provides for a rather enlightened perspective. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She currently serves as an author for SuhaibWebb.com.