For a Muslimah who is unable to fast due to that time of the month, the “fasting holiday” can lead to laziness. But don’t let this precious time go to waste! There are other ways you can enjoy a productive Ramadan, even when you can’t fast, to continually increase your rewards during this Holy Month, In sha Allah.
When you can’t fast, it can feel like a challenge to get up off the couch and do something productive during Ramadan. I know. I used to be no different. Only after realising how much time I wasted just lying around when I could be spending my time for the sake of Allah , did I finally decide to better my habits. Here, I will share some tips that helped me become more productive, no excuses!
Lock-in On Your Motivation!
The first ingredient you need to actually change and become more productive is constant motivation:
- Persist regularly and continually motivate yourself.
- Remind yourself that you have made it a goal to change for the better during this Holy Month. Be determined, and strive to achieve that goal.
- Make a To-Do list before going to bed, so that when you wake up you are reminded that today is the day to be proactive.
- Also, being excused from fasting is not a good enough reason to sleep in — make it a habit to wake up for suhoor anyway. Why waste the blessing of waking up during the glorified early morning hours?
Productivity in Chores and Housework
- Follow a Schedule
I’ve found it ultimately beneficial to put together a daily schedule and follow it through. For example, when waking up, make sure that the first thing you do is to make your bed. Performing a simple act such as making your bed can bring about many benefits: it reminds you of a brand new day that Allah has blessed you with; it can remind you of cleanliness and can even make your room look cleaner.
- Continue Your Day with Other Productive Tasks
Exercise, get cleaned up, unload the dishwasher from last night, eat a healthy and nutritious meal during suhoor (it’s always great to eat this sunnah meal, especially with your family and loved ones), clean up, etc.
- Follow A Healthy Sleep Routine
At the end of the day, before bed, load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, brush your teeth, and get ready for bed, etc. Be sure to maintain a feasible schedule throughout your day. Write your agenda down; use a planner if that is helpful. Remember not to think of these undertakings as measly chores. Instead, maintain positive thinking and remind yourself that you have set a goal to become more productive this Ramadan. In sha Allah, every effort you put forth for the sake of pleasing Allah will be generously rewarded.
Productivity in Schoolwork
- Discover Your Learning Style
Some people are better thinkers at night and others are better learners during the day. Whichever category you may fall into, realise that maintaining productivity in class work requires persistence, dedication, motivation, and hard work. When we look at those who are successful or who seem to be steadfast in their educational pursuits, we can clearly understand what makes them more committed: habit.
- Commit to Productive Habits that Fit Your Learning Style
I myself am better at memorizing my notes during the early morning hours. Based on this personal observation, I have made it a habit to wake up a few hours before Fajr. I read the morning dua, then sit down with my books and start to study. After doing this for many, many years, waking up at around 4:00 a.m. has become second nature to me.
- Remind Yourself of Your Goals & Strive to Achieve it
It was indeed difficult initially for me to start this new habit, but I found it helpful to keep reminding myself of your goals and then strive to accomplish them. So, after a couple of days of performing any act, it becomes habitual and easier to execute. Especially for Muslimahs who are not praying, we are indeed blessed with a couple of good extra minutes to use during our day. This extra time could be, and should be, spent doing something for the sake of pleasing Allah , whether that be religious or educational or just chores around the home.
Productivity in Physical Health
It is necessary and preferred for us male and female Muslims to take good care of our God-given physical health and our bodies. It can be much harder for women who are menstruating to feel motivated to get up and do a quick workout. This lack of enthusiasm is no excuse to let our physical health slide. Even if an individual has never had an exercise regimen before, it is never too late to start.
- Start by Trying out Different Workout Techniques
Are you more of a pilates or aerobics person? Do you prefer treadmills and elliptical machines? Or are you into cardio and lifting weights?
- Find Your Interests and What Suits You, Then Stick to It
No one expects you to be a professional during your first attempt. It will take some getting used to. Try going to the gym (or working out right at home) for maybe two or three times in the first week. Do your total regimen for only a few minutes (or longer if you feel you are able). Then increase your total workout time by 5-10 minutes every day.For every following week, try going for more than just 2-3 days. Try and do your workouts around a similar time frame — this can be in the early morning hours or in the evening hours between Maghrib and Isha (after iftar and before the taraweeh prayers). Do whatever fits your schedule best. Performing your workout routines around a similar time frame makes it easier for it to become a habit. And once it becomes habitual, stick to it.
- Give Yourself Incentives
In order to continue feeling motivated, give yourself some incentives. Remind yourself of how good it feels to be physically proactive and in shape, and how wholesome it feels to take care of your physical health! Read up about the dangers of obesity. Keep in mind that the Prophet also discouraged laziness and encouraged physical productivity.Psychologists have proven over and over again that regular exercise and physical health can do wonders for a person’s mental health. Those who partake in consistent physical activity tend to be happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Just ask any psychologist, and they will concur!
Productivity in Ibadah
Even if us Muslimahs cannot pray the five daily salah or engage in ritual fasting due to reasons of impurity, there are multiple acts that can still be performed during the Holy Month of Ramadan for the sake of pleasing Allah . Since being exempted from praying and fasting gives us a bit of extra time and energy, we can spend that blessed time and energy performing other essential acts of worship:
- Tasbeeh (And Lots of It)
The Prophet had said to his daughter Fatimah when she complained that her hands were blistering from doing housework, “When the two of you lay down to sleep, say thirty-three, thirty-three, thirty-four, or At-Tahmid, At-Tasbih, and At-Takbir.” [Sahih]
When getting ready for bed, before going to sleep, count on your fingers and say Subhan Allah 33 times, Alhamdulillah 33 times, and Allahu Akbar 34 times. In sha Allah, this can help you be more productive in your work as it did for Fatimah .Try to do this every night before bed, and focus your mind on Allah and his many blessings. Clearing your mind before bed can initiate pleasant thoughts and a good night’s sleep. Praising and remembering Allah with concentration only adds to the benefits and rewards.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger said, Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
So, in the morning or in the evening, make it a habit to say Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi 100 times. Whether you are driving somewhere, doing household chores, or if you just need five more minutes in the morning before getting out of bed, be sure to glorify and praise Allah . Do this with a clear and focused mind. This will help in truly acknowledging the oneness of Allah and His numerous blessings. Additionally, it can count as productive time well spent.
- Make Dua
Just because we can’t pray or fast, does not mean we cannot make dua either. Dua is the tool of a believer, a tool that he or she can use to ask Allah for anything. Since being excused from prayer gives us extra time, lets use this sacred time to make dua to Allah .Continually making dua helps to instill hope in a believer. Dua reminds us that there is a Supreme Being, much higher than us, who is always available to listen and to help us. Just knowing this, how can we not be making dua all the time? Also, since the last third of the night is one of the best times to make dua, we have further incentive to wake up during these blessed early hours.
As Abu Hurairah narrated, “Our Lord who is blessed and exalted descends every night to the lowest heaven when the last one-third of the night remains, and says: Who supplicated Me so that I may answer him ? Who asks of Me so that I may give to him ? Who asks My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
- Listen to and/or Read the Qur’an or Islamic lectures:
Lastly, a Muslimah can spend her precious time during this Ramadan increasing her knowledge of Islam. Technology is grand; we have valid and interesting Islamic lectures right at our fingertips.From YouTube and HalalTube, to audio and video Podcasts and online articles — there are numerous Islamic resources we can increase our knowledge with, In sha Allah. Isn’t this be better than being bored and lazy or watching pointless videos on the internet? The best part is, one can listen to these lectures at any time — while driving, while lying down, while doing chores, and any other time that is convenient for you.
Enjoy a Productive Ramadan!
Remember, any action that we perform, if done solely for the sake of pleasing Allah , can be deemed worthy of our time. Even when we are not praying or fasting, just look at the countless other acts of ibadah that we are able to do this Ramadan.
It is indeed our duty as believers to spend our blessed time for the sake of Allah . And every good deed or action that we perform during Ramadan is multiplied up to 70 times. All it requires is some motivation, dedication, and persistence.
So why not make some positive changes in our life during this Holy Month that we have been blessed with?
Improve yourself and your day by performing some extra acts of productivity for the sake of Allah . Whatever extra act(s) of worship you decide to do, remember that it will help you immensely if you follow a schedule. Make it routine, turn it into a habit, and stick with it even beyond Ramadan!
Lastly, don’t try to feel like you have to do everything at once. This can overwhelm you and make it harder for you to stick to a consistent routine. Take joy in the blessing that even small deeds performed consistently hold great rewards, for it is said that, “The most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
About the Author:
Afia T. is currently pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, concentrating on pediatric psychology & spiritual psychology. In the future she aspires to work with Muslim clients and practice Faith-based and Islamic-based psychology as a career.