Ramadan, as you might know, is the holy month for all Muslims. It is the month where the Holy Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It’s when Muslims abstain from eating or drinking from dawn to dusk (and yes! “not even water”).

 

But there is more to Ramadan than just staying hungry and thirsty all day. It’s a time to reflect and improve ourselves and our relationship with God. I wanted to write about what Ramadan means to me and how I like to see it as an opportunity to better ourselves: mind, body, and soul.

 

Now, considering the proven benefits of “intermittent fasting” and all its variations, we can derive that fasting does have a positive impact on our body, whether it’s supporting cellular repair, fat loss, or boosting our brain function (kinda hard to imagine when you’re hungry, but it’s true.) BUT if we do it right, it can also have a positive impact on your mind. I’ve made a list of some qualities that can be developed or worked upon, which will benefit you beyond the next month.

Self-control

 

Ramadan is a good time to exercise self-control. Voluntarily resisting thirst and hunger throughout the day is a chance to strengthen your will power so you have the control to resist other habits that are usually a lot less fundamental than eating or drinking.

Self-awareness

 

Think about your mood changes throughout the day. When you are hungry or thirsty, you tend to get angry, impatient, or frustrated more easily than you normally would. This is a great chance to practice restraint when your patience is tested. This is something that, if acquired, can help you throughout the year when someone is pushing your buttons, or your work is stressing you out.

 

What is a habit of yours that you want to change? Setting a month-long Ramadan resolution is a lot easier to do than a New Year’s one. Short-term goals are always easier to achieve for me (something to do with a shorter deadline and focus span) and that sense of achievement makes me want to continue them as long as I possibly can. So, if you’re like me, this might help you.

 

It can be anything you want to change about yourself. You could try to quit smoking or fizzy drinks, cussing or gossiping. It could be spending less time on social media and devoting it towards something more productive. You could even try a new nutrition plan to go hand in hand with the benefits to your body. It takes 21 days to make or break a habit. And then you’ll have another week just to be sure. Why not try to become a better, healthier, more positive version of yourself?

Empathy

 

Yes, we fast, but why do we do it? Being hungry and thirsty all day seems pointless if you don’t see its purpose. While fasting may be a choice for us before we sit at a table and have a huge feast with our family the moment we hear the call to prayer at sundown, hunger is a reality for many. Ramadan allows us to see how those who are far less privileged than us live day-to-day. It gives us the chance to put ourselves in their shoes and be grateful for the blessings we have. Even among those fasting, some of us are lucky to be indoors in air-conditioned homes, offices, and schools, while others fasting are working outdoors in the blistering heat. You can imagine the same in winter. Ramadan allows us to count our blessings lest we ever take them for granted.

 

Empathy is a trait that I personally admire in others. If you have the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes or see through their eyes, you are a kinder, more loving person. Start practicing empathy in Ramadan and beyond it.

Faith

 

I always think of faith as a muscle. The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets. Ramadan is a great time to set religious goals. Whether it’s praying more, reading the Quran more, or even studying our religion more, do what you think is best to strengthen your connection with your faith. This is also a great way to clear your head from the clamor of everyday life.

Family

 

I know that not all of us are surrounded by family during Ramadan. Some are away at university, or are settled in other parts of the world. But if you are lucky to be at home or with your family, I find Ramadan an opportunity to spend lots of time with one another. It’s also a great way to practice restraint when your siblings get on your nerves. Jks, but not really. When else during the year do you all meet each other in the kitchen at 4 in the morning and have breakfast together?

 

It’s also a nice time to meet your friends at the café after you break your fast, go for prayers together, and enjoy the popular delicacies of Ramadan.

Service

 

Ramadan is also a great time to give back. You could try and prepare iftar for those in need and distribute it to them, because there are many who go hungry long after the call to prayer is heard. Engaging in any type of service will humble you, and also make you want to continue such habits round the year.


Ramadan is a month full of opportunities to improve ourselves, and is not only a month for fasting. With a few weeks left, I hope that all of us can try and be better versions of ourselves, and apply some of these habits that will go beyond this holy month.