Approaching the month of Ramadan every year is akin to welcoming the New Year. Many of us have high hopes to improve ourselves, especially by increasing our acts of worship and maximise our time by performing virtuous deeds so we can gain those extra rewards.
Prepping for the holy month of Ramadan is of course not just limited to the spiritual context, our bodies go through a major chronobiological shift too. When we fast, our sleep and eating patterns go through a jarring change.
Helping your body to transition into ‘fasting mode’ before Ramadan actually starts, is essential in order for it to get used to the shift! The sooner you do it, the faster you get past the sluggishness and laziness.
Newsflash: your body loves knowing what to expect because it operates under a circadian rhythm.
Your sleeping and eating cycles are pretty much predictable throughout the day, so naturally, your body prepares and anticipates them. Fasting for an entire month as soon as Ramadan begins causes a very abrupt change in your body, it will cause your ‘internal clock’ to go haywire.
Other than making up for missed fasts in the previous year, a great way to be Ramadan-ready is to gradually voluntary fast, what more since we are in still in the great month of Sha’ban, a special time in which our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to fast frequently.
It is narrated from Usama ibn Zayd (RA) that he asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
“I have never seen you offer fast in a month as you do in Shaban.”
To which, Prophet (PBUH) replied:
“It is a month people disregard that is between Rajab and Ramadan. In that month deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds, so I like my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.” (Nasa’i)
Control Your Food
Another way to prep your body is to control the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and reduce caffeine. But if you’re fasting in the month of Sha’ban, you’re pretty much halfway there!
Increase Quran Recitation
Many aim to complete their reading of the Quran in the month of Ramadan. If you don’t read the Quran on a daily basis, take this as an opportunity to incorporate that habit into your life. Learn and understand the meaning of each Surah.
Perform Extra Prayers
With extra prayers to perform in Ramadan, its best to prepare by improving your salah. If you struggle to pray the five prayers on time, use this special month as a time to improve on being consistent with your prayers. It’s time to get your body used to waking up early for suhoor for when Ramadan begins.
Photo credit: earnest.com
Sources: amanahfitness.com, seekersguidance.org, desidollcompany.com, islamicity.org