The blessed month of Ramazan 1442 AH according to the lunar calendar, and 2021 according to the Gregorian calendar, has just started. This is the second Ramazan during the pandemic, but we must keep our spirits up to gain the maximum benefits of the holy month. The scepter of Covid cannot dampen our spirits but we have to be careful with everything we do, whether it’s going to work, markets or mosques: if our actions imperil others, will our ibadat be accepted? Here is what to do and what we should try our best not to:
Our behaviour defines us, and our interaction with people around us: family, friends, neighbours and especially the household help and people we will work with during Ramazan should be exemplary. Helping others and caring about people we are connected to will get us a lot of savab (reward) from Allah (SWT).
Try not to indulge in backbiting, though we agree that it does take the spice out of life, but we also know what we will have to pay for what we think of as ‘harmless fun’, right? Why waste all our good deeds, especially if our malicious gossip happens to benefit the very people we dislike? All the sawab we earn will be given to those we backbite about! Is frivolous gossiping worth such a loss? Think!
Anger is like blood in our veins. We tend to flare up easily, and end up hurting those we love or care about. Ramazan is about control which is not limited to food; we have to control our emotions as well. So, let’s resolve to not get into arguments and fights. Getting the last word is very satisfying, but if it hurts others, will we benefit despite fasting and offering prayers throughout Ramazan?
We should thank God for all He has given us and try our best to do all we can for those less fortunate than us. In this moth, the reward for alms far exceeds than it is in the other months. Do what you can for people in need around you, starting with the household help and relatives. If your relatives need help and God has given you the wherewithal, earn lots of rewards by heling them in any way you can. Share the food on your table with your dependents. In these times when inflation is breaking backs, don’t let anything go to waste and take care of the needs of people working under you. Make Ramazan packages of food and clothing for them. Since most of our readers are students and do not have money of their own, they can ask their parents to help them and make use of their own monthly allowance as well. Something that is not worth much to you could mean a lot to someone else. So think how you can help those you can. Empathise!
Ramazan - eat right, stay healthy
Just as we do our best to rejuvenated our soul in this holy month, we need to take care of our physical health and wellbeing as well. Overindulging at Sehri and Iftar can cause unease and unnecessary weight gain. On the other hand, by eating smartly we can control weight, cholesterol and even blood pressure. After all, fasting teaches us to control ourselves in all aspects of life, food being just one of them.
Fasts are going to be long as Ramazan is falling from mid-April to mid-May and the weather all over Pakistan will become progressively hot, especially in the south. Keeping that in mind, you will need to:
Drink plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor or Sehri, as we popularly call it. Since it’s going to be hot, you will probably sweat a lot. It is important to replenish the body fluids you lose during the day. So, between iftar and sehri, drink at least 10 glasses of water. This can include lemonades or Roof Afza that you have with iftar! Also, eat food that will help hydrate your body. Since watermelons will be aplenty this Ramazan, you can enjoy the taste and hydrate yourself at the same time. Most of us cannot function without caffeine, but avoid tea, coffee and cola because they can make some people urinate more often, which may lead to dehydration. Also remember that fizzy drinks with sugar will add calories to your diet; so it will be no loss no gain at best if you continue taking these unhealthy drinks!
Maintain energy levels:
Eat right to provide your body enough energy throughout the day. Your sehri should include complex carbohydrates. A carbohydrate is an organic compound made of carbon, hydrogen and water. Carbohydrates come in two different forms: complex and simple. Complex carbs are typically known as good carbs. These carbs consist of sugar molecules strung together in long, complex molecule chains. Given their complex nature, it takes more work for the body to digest these carbs, giving you energy for longer. Beans, lentils, oats, corn, barley and wheat are some examples of complex carbs. In addition, fruit and vegetables also contain complex carbs. Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, are created from short, simple carbohydrate strains. So, they are much easier for the body to digest. Think of the rush you get from a sugary soda or candy bar. However, this also means that simple carbs lead to sugar spikes in the body. So, be smart and choose the right foods to sustain you through the fast.
A healthy iftar
Traditionally, we start iftar with dates as it is also sunnah. Dates are an excellent source of fiber. Instead of fried stuff that is our staple in Ramazan, incorporate vegetables to provide vital vitamins and nutrients. Choose whole grains, which provide the body with energy and fiber. Enjoy grilled or baked lean meat to get a good portion of healthy protein. Avoid processed foods high in fat or sugar. Enjoy your meal and avoid overeating by eating slowly. Once in a while, go for samosas and pakoras and all that you love, but in moderation.