For many people, Ramadan is treated like the start of a new year. Just as people have new year’s resolutions, they have Ramadan “resolutions” as well.
Many of us decide to use the month of Ramadan as a way to break bad habits and develop good ones, and we try to keep up these changes even after the month is over.
However, like with new year’s resolutions, it can be difficult to keep up the positive changes for long.
Halfway through the month of Ramadan, some people start losing their enthusiasm and getting distracted by all sorts of things.
This year, with masjids being closed and all of us being in the midst of a global pandemic, it might be even more difficult for us to stay focused.
It is important to identify the problem now so it will be easier to avoid, especially because we do not want to miss out on the immense blessings of this month. Here are some of the big distractions to watch out for this Ramadan:
This is a big one to be careful with, especially in the current circumstances. Yes, we all want to stay informed as the state of the world (and of our own countries and states) is changing on a daily basis.
I agree that it is important to keep up with these developments, since they affect us directly and significantly. However, it is totally possible to be overloaded with news.
A lot of what we are reading online or watch on our local news channels these days is very grim. It is depressing, worrisome, and can cause hopelessness.
It is better to check the news once or twice a day at a set time rather than scrolling constantly on our phones and getting needlessly distracted.
After all, Ramadan only comes once a year and it is a time of gaining taqwa (God-consciousness) and good deeds.
We shouldn’t let the news divert our attention throughout the day. If you get too concerned about what you are reading and hearing, rather than checking for updates all day, just make du’a (supplication) to the One in charge. Have hope and know that Allah is listening.
This is similar to the previous distraction, because it is often flooded with news. But social media also has the added layer of constant sharing from people’s personal lives.
It can make us compare our own situation with others’, which is not ideal because people tend to only share the best parts of their lives on social media.
So during this special month of focusing on our relationship with Allah, we might end up focusing more on the dunya (life of this world) instead.
Social media can be a great and beneficial tool in keeping in touch with loved ones, staying informed, and even getting religious reminders. However, keep in mind that sometimes, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
At best, social media can be incredibly addictive—this means that we can lose large chunks of our day online without realizing it.
At worst, looking at the highlights of other people’s lives all day can lead us to feeling dissatisfied with our own lives. Ramadan is not the time to be falling into this type of negativity and ingratitude.
During this quarantine period, most people are stuck at home all day and let’s be honest, that can get boring. This is causing many of us to get stuck in a rut, sitting in front of the computer or TV all day, playing video games and watching TV.
We are out of our normal routines and entertainment can even be a coping mechanism for some people who are feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the state of the world.
We have a chance to reset all of that in the month of Ramadan, though. Those who are bored can still entertain themselves in moderation and in halal ways.
For example, if you normally watch TV for several hours a day, try cutting it down to one episode per day; if you listen to music, try replacing it with audiobooks or podcasts (even better if it is a religious podcast, especially in Ramadan).
I find watching documentaries of nature to be both entertaining and spiritually beneficial, so that is another option for those of us who are seeking halal entertainment. Calling friends and family members can also be a beneficial and fun pastime.
Actions are Judged by Their Intentions
Most importantly, remember why you are making all these changes. Insha’Allah (God-willing) they will bring you closer to what Allah loves and remove those things from your life that Allah doesn’t like. They will also allow more time for ‘ibadah (worship).
Playing less video games means you’ll have more time to help your parents out with housework.
Watching less TV will open up more time to spend with your children or call your siblings.
Spending less time watching the news or scrolling through social media means having more time to read the Quran and offering extra prayers.
This Ramadan is vital for all of us. Ramadan is a month of du’a, and we need those prayers now more than ever. Spending our time in more beneficial ways will please Allah and remind us to turn to Him more.
May Allah remove this calamity from all of us and protect all of humanity from illness and grief.