When we started our Productive Ramadan project four years ago, we started with a hypothesis. The hypothesis said: “It is possible for a Modern Muslim man or woman to be spiritually, physically, and socially productive during Ramadan.”
Up until that point, the debate about productivity during Ramadan was centered around two camps:
- Those who brought examples from our past history showing how productive Muslims were during Ramadan but were not quite able to link and apply those past examples to our modern day challenges, and,
- Those who completely gave up and used the shroud of “Ramadan is a month of worship” as a cover for their inability to be productive at work and in the community during Ramadan.
Our understanding was different. We believed that productivity is possible in the modern world and there are concepts in our religion and practical tips and techniques grounded in psychology and physiology that we could benefit from and apply during Ramadan to lead spiritually, physically, and socially productive lives.
But first let’s start off with a question:
Why is it important for you to be productive in Ramadan?
Simon Sinek, in his famous TED Talk, talks about the importance of starting any venture with “WHY” before you go into the how and what. By defining why, it becomes easier and easier to define the how and what. This is exactly where we’ll begin with today. We’ll first ask the question: “Why is it important for you to be productive during Ramadan?” The answer to this question is in the video below from last year’s productive Ramadan online course.
Now that we’ve established the why. Let’s move on to the how and what.
In our online course, we teach a particular framework to help our students be productive during Ramadan. We explain that there are three types of productivity:
- Spiritual Productivity: This is productivity that stems from practicing our deen and being close to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). It’s about achieving Barakah in our lives and seeing Divine Goodness being attached to our time, wealth, health, family, children, work, and everything we have or do thus enabling us to be more productive.
- Physical Productivity: This is productivity that comes from managing our minds and bodies and the physical aspects of our being. It’s about practicing certain tips and techniques and using our willpower and self-control to make the right choices for our mind and body in order to stay productive.
- Social Productivity: This is productivity that derives from other people around us. It’s the productivity that comes from being part of a family, neighbourhood, community, Ummah and Humanity at large. It’s a selfless productivity that is often neglected but direly needed in today’s world.
What I’ll share with you below is some content that we used to have on our Productive Ramadan online course. However, we’ve updated the content and added more richness to it in the new course released this year. (If you’re interested, you can find out more about the course here). Having said that, the videos and information below should give you an abridged understanding of what we mean by productivity in Ramadan and how you can tap into it.
Let’s explore each of the three productivity spheres described above individually.
Under the concept of Spiritual Productivity, the key concept to understand is the concept of “Barakah”. How Barakah is linked to Productivity. Moreover, what’s also key to understand is how Ramadan being the month of Barakah is also the month of Productivity. The video below explains this in detail:
Ramadan the Month of Barakah
Following on from the above, one of the common challenges people use for not being productive during Ramadan is Fasting, Praying Night Prayer (Taraweeh and/or Qiyam), Reading Quran, and performing i’tikaaf. Sadly, little do they know that these exact acts of worship are huge sources of Barakah and huge sources of Spiritual Productivity. The following four videos go into detail into these four challenges and explain how they are sources of barakah and productivity during Ramadan:
1. Power of Fasting and Productivity
2. Power of Night Prayer and Productivity
3. Power of Quran and Productivity
4. Power of I’tikaaf and Productivity
Understanding the above concepts and having a mindset that sees spirituality as a source of barakah and productivity is key to leading a productive life during Ramadan and beyond. Unfortunately, many of those who simply do not want to change their ways find it more comfortable to use religion/Ramadan as an excuse to not being productive during Ramadan, and I hope the above videos would help them to realise otherwise.
Mastering your mind and mastering your body, are two powerful skills that are needed to lead a successful life. These two skills are put to the test during Ramadan because your body is thrown off it’s usual food/sleep cycle and it is asked to adapt very quickly in order to survive the month. Moreover, your mind is tested with trying to focus with low energy and adapt to new behaviours during the month.
However, what if you didn’t see Ramadan as a testing ground and instead, you saw it as a training ground? A training ground for your mind and body to learn new skills and behaviours that would enable them to lead a successful life. How would that be?
Mastering Your Mind
In order to master your mind, you need to understand that your mind is like a software that can be updated/upgraded “if you put your mind to it!”. It doesn’t happen automatically. It requires direction and self-control. The next two videos explain to you how to direct your mind to change your behaviour and overcome laziness – two qualities you’ll definitely need during Ramadan:
1. Change Your Behaviour
2. Overcome Laziness
Mastering Your Body
Our bodies are the vessels for our souls. They are the machines that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has blessed us with in order to fulfill His commands and gain His pleasure in this life and the hereafter. Once we have this understanding of the purpose of our bodies, the question then arises, how can we ensure optimal performance from these machines in order to fulfill Allah’s commands in the best way possible?
These machines (our bodies) need three things to perform optimally:
- Sleep (Rest)
- Food (Nutrition)
- Fitness (Strength and Flexibility)
If we can optimize these three for our bodies, you’ll be amazed at what you can do. (And you don’t have to be an olympic athlete to reap the benefits of an optimally performing body. Anybody who invests in their body’s sleep, food, and fitness will gain positive results).
Of course Ramadan comes with its own set of challenges and affects our sleep, nutrition, and fitness. These challenges include:
- Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep cycle due to night prayers (taraweeh/qiyam) and late night meals.
- Lack of food due to sleep
- Lack of fitness due to lack of time
So how do we overcome these challenges?
Managing Sleep During Ramadan
Couple of years back, I wrote a series of articles that explain how to manage sleep during Ramadan. I highly recommend for you to read them and apply the techniques during this Ramadan. (I do go into more depth about sleep during Ramadan in my Productive Ramadan Online Course and you can find out more details here.)
>>> See how “Module 4: Physical Productivity” of the Productive Ramadan Online Course can help you manage your sleep and overcome the challenging “night life” of Ramadan – iftar, isha, taraweeh, qiyam, suhoor – and sleep!
Manage Nutrition and Fitness
Nutrition and Fitness may seem like the last two concerns one should care about during Ramadan. However, personally I believe these are essential to having a Productive Ramadan. This video below explains why:
So far we’ve covered individual aspects of productivity. Let’s turn our focus to what we can do beyond ourselves and how we can be productive with our families, neighbours, communities, and Ummah.
The video explains explains the meaning of social productivity and why we should care. It then talks about different ways to get involved in socially productive projects during Ramadan as well as how to balance your time between the different social productive activities in your life. I highly recommend you to watch this.
Social Productivity Challenge
Now that you’ve understand what I mean by social productivity, I have a challenge for you. Are you up for it? ;)
I hope this post convinced you that productivity during Ramadan is not a myth, but a reality. Yes, it does take effort to be productive during Ramadan, but it’s not impossible.
If you care about your productivity during Ramadan and don’t want to feel guilty that you’ve wasted your Ramadan, or want Ramadan to be a truly transformative experience for you, then I highly recommend that you join us and over 1,000 students from around the world on our Productive Ramadan Online Course.
I don’t want to push you into buying the course or give empty promises. I simply want to encourage you to visit www.productiveramadan.com and decide if this is for you. Read all the information there and what we’ll share with you. Then (and only then), if you’re comfortable with our course content and structure and if you feel that it will bring benefit to you, sign up for the course and begin your Productive Ramadan journey!
Moreover, as a personal guarantee from me, if you go through the course and you don’t like it, or you don’t find the information useful, I have a 30-day money back guarantee for you. If for any reason the course does not meet your expectations, drop us an e-mail, and we’ll refund you immediately; no questions asked.
Productivity in Ramadan is a reality…are you ready to live it? Come and join us at www.productiveramadan.com
This article was first published on June 17, 2014.