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Simple Steps to Get Ready for Ramadan

Getting ready for Ramadan is what we’re talking about.

And these few words are intended primarily and mostly aimed for new Muslims, but they could be very useful words for Muslims who perhaps slid back a bit and find the prospect of fasting in Ramadan a bit daunting, maybe they have not fasted for a while.

Taqwa: The Purpose of Ramadan

So it’s for those two: new Muslims to help them who just embraced Islam may be they have never fasted Ramadan before.

So it’s for you… It’s for those who are new to Islam, and for those maybe their Islam has slid and want to get it back. And it’s also for all Muslims, and for people of all faiths and of none to learn a little bit about Ramadan.

In the Quran, Allah Almighty says to us:

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Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn taqwa. (2:183)

Taqwa is an Arabic word roughly translated; it means: “fear of the Lord” or “piety”

So what does that mean?

Well, I understand it best, it helps me to understand the word taqwa as humility before God, being humble before God, Allah.

So an image of that would be for example when a Muslim prays (we pray 5 times a day) when our foreheads touch the ground in prayer, for me that’s the most beautiful image of Islam because then our foreheads are on the ground and we say to Allah Almighty:

“O Allah, I am nothing without You… I can do nothing without You… All my efforts would come to naught.. Anything I do would just be me, me, me..”. So that’s what taqwa is; piety, fear of the Lord.

So Allah Almighty tells us {fasting is prescribed to you} so it’s something He wants us to do, He tells us, He commands us to do, as it was prescribed to people before. Prophet David (peace be upon him) for example used to fast.

…so that you may achieve taqwa.

My First Ramadan

Let me tell you about my first Ramadan.

I wasn’t Muslim at all. I was teaching in a school in London, and the pupils, many of them were Muslim, approached me and said: “Sir, we’ve got nowhere to pray in Ramadan and your room is the only room with a carpet”

Subhanallah, what a coincidence, some might say…

So I said: “I’d be honored if you come.” And I said to them as well: “to encourage you in your prayer, I will fast with you during Ramadan.”

So that first Ramadan; I wasn’t Muslim at all. I fasted, I suppose really I didn’t fast for Allah’s sake, I fasted for the sake of the children to encourage them. So that was my first experience.

Preparing for Ramadan

Getting ready for Ramadan. It’s very important, my dear brothers and sisters, to remember that Ramadan is not a punishment. People who are not Muslim might look at Muslims and say: “Oh gosh! They eat nothing from morning till night… how awful… what a terrible burden that must be…”

And yet you’ve only to meet any Muslim children, they are looking forward with great excitement to Ramadan.

Muslim homes during Ramadan are often decorated with balloons and bunting or special Ramadan material. In the evening, when Muslims celebrate the breaking of the fast with Iftar, the breakfast (Iftar) meal is a very joyous occasion.

In fact to me, you know as one who accepted Islam 12-13 years ago or so, it seems to me, and I’ll be perfectly honest, that Ramadan is like Christmas and New Year and birthdays, and Thanksgiving… all rolled into one. And it doesn’t only last for one day, it lasts for a month.

So Ramadan is not a punishment. It’s very important to remember that when you’re preparing, it’s a very joyous time.

But look, if you’ve not fasted before and your first Ramadan is coming up, I suggest that what you do is like an athlete preparing for the Olympic games; he goes into training, gets his body ready so he can give the very best when the Olympics game come, or the World Cup.

Well I suggest to you, that as Muslims, we need to get into training and prepare ourselves. And if you’ve never fasted before for a whole month, maybe prepare by trying.

I don’t mean to fast the whole of July in order to prepare; no I don’t mean that. What I mean is for example what you can do is try first of all, if it helps, (some people take to fasting like a duck takes to water it’s not problem at all) I must be honest and put my hand to my heart fasting my first Ramadan wasn’t a problem at all. But it might be difficult for you.

Gradual Fasting Load

So I suggest what you might do if it’s a daunting prospect, fast for maybe half a day one weekend, start this weekend.

Set yourself a time, you know, from 8:00 in the morning till 1:00pm – something like that – so you’re not overly busy at the weekend and just go without food.

Ramadan, what it really means is we’re going without breakfast, few cups of coffee during the day, lunch if we take it and that’s it.

It’s not the most feat we’re attempting. So get ourselves into the mood. Maybe fast a morning at the weekend. Once you’ve done that, why not try to fast for a morning at work, half a day at work; maybe go from 7 in the morning till 1 o’clock when you’re working.

You know, then you’ll feel your body will start to rebel and tell you, “I want some water, I want a cup of tea, I want whatever it might be… Then once you’ve managed that, you might do that once or twice, three or four times, then try longer than that, try maybe ¾ of the day at the weekend, then at work, see how it goes.

It’s not a punishment, you’re not punishing yourself. In fact, there are many doctors who tell us that the effects of fasting (we don’t fast for this reason; we fast for Allah alone) are very good for you.

You know in this modern age, when we talk about toxins and healthy diet, many doctors will tell you that fasting from the very first thing in the morning when it’s dark, from when the sun comes up till when the sun goes down it’s actually good for the body; because it clears your body from all the rubbish we take in. Think of all that rubbish we take in.

It’s not a diet as well, don’t think you’re not fasting to lose weight, you’re not fasting to please anyone, you’re not fasting to please the Muslim community if you’re new to Islam, it doesn’t matter what they think; you’re fasting for Allah’s sake.

So once you’ve tried half a day, and may be ¾ of the day then try fasting for a whole day and see how it goes. Be gentle on yourself. As you’re preparing for Ramadan, read about Ramadan, read what it’s about.

The Best Month of the Year

You know, the Quran tells us (in Ramadan there is a night that):

…is better than a thousand months.

Can you imagine, one night in Ramadan is better than a thousand months?

And this gift that Allah gives to the world of giving up all the bad things that the body craves, all the things that control us most of the time. Giving them up helps us to realize that the body isn’t in charge of me, I can say to the body no.

Watch the full video.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive)

About Idris Tawfiq
Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant.He became a Muslim around 15 years ago.For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom.Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest.He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness.May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.