Ramadan, the Holy Month of fasting from sunrise to sunset as practiced by millions of Muslims all over the world is likely to begin on June 28, 2014 with the sighting of the moon in the night sky. The Holy Quran states in Surah Al Baqarah 2:183:
O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint.
When preparing for Ramadan, it’s important to remember that we are not only refraining from food and drink during the daylight hours of this month but that we are also seeking forgiveness for our faults, purification of our hearts and improvement of our characters. As Muslims we are also supposed to be keeping ourselves from vain and harmful speech, from succumbing to physical desires, physical intimacies with our spouses, and from anger and arguing while fasting.
Some things that we can do in preparation for this merciful month are performing voluntary fasts, reciting and reflecting upon Al Quran, performing extra prayers, giving in charity and preparing our bodies for hours without food and drink by eating healthy and moderately.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said in Al Bukhari:
“(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me, and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.”
And it is recorded that Aishah the wife of the Prophet (RA) reported in Muslim that:
The Prophet (SAW) said: “Indeed the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.”
The Prophet (SAW) often performed extra prayers and was even more generous than usual during the month of Ramadan so when following his example we can reap the benefits of rewards which can help us to prepare for this blessed month. The Holy Quran says in Surah Al Imran 3:31:
“Say, [Oh Muhammad], If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”
And in Tirmidhi it is reported that the Prophet (SAW) also said: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.”
Finally, to assist our bodies in developing the necessary stamina required to go for hours without food and drink, in addition to voluntary fasts, we can try eating smaller meals throughout the day which promotes a healthy metabolism and seek to eat more nutrient enriched foods. While we fasting, we should always eat before starting and avoid overeating upon breaking.
Verily Allah (SWT) knows best.