Understanding some basic nutrition science can help you stay healthy this Ramadan. Your body gets its energy (glucose) from food, and for 2-4 hours after you eat your energy will come from that food (after that your liver will release glucose to be turned into energy). Try to eat foods like potatoes, beans, vegetables, and grains at suhoor (breakfast); these foods are called complex carbohydrates and because they are ‘complex’ the body takes a longer time to turn them into glucose (energy) - giving you a long lasting source of energy.
Dates, and other fruits, are simple carbs meaning they’re digested quickly and are good for quick jolts of energy. Don’t eat them at suhoor, they’ll end up making you thirsty throughout the day, save them for when you break your fast to quickly recharge your system.
Invest in a once a day multivitamin that you can take at suhoor. Your body will be in famine for extended periods of time, and chances are you aren’t getting enough nutrition while you’re able to eat. A multivitamin can help make sure you fill in those gaps that your dinner isn’t covering.
Drink some water every hour you’re able to eat and drink. After that first gulp of water in the evening it’s easy to forget that you were dehydrated all day.
Exercise after iftar (dinnner); exercising while fasting will only make you more dehydrated and more fatigued. Your muscles can store glucose (energy) that they can use during exercise, but you’ll see the consequences, of exercising while fasting, when you’re not able to lift as much weight or run as far as you’d expect. You’re also more prone to cramping and injury while you’re fasting, so wait until after dinner to exercise if you can.
I know that halfway through the month it becomes harder to eat suhoor as you become more and more tired. My suhoor of choice, once it comes to that, is a protein lassi, which hydrates me and keeps me full the majority of the day. I mix water, greek yogurt, a scoop of protein powder, mango nectar, and a sprinkle of cardamom powder the night before, and once it’s time for breakfast I wake up drink the smoothie, pray, and then go back to bed.
Stay Healthy this Ramadan! Remember that you can’t fast anyway if you get sick or injured, so do your best to prevent it!
why don’t we talk about muslim kids in hogwarts during ramadan? imagine waking up at 3 every morning and walking down for suhoor, to find the house elves have prepared a feast for them. imagine the kids having an extended curfew, so they can go and eat iftar at 10, where the house elves once again provide a ten course meal, topped with dates and traditional delicacies from around the world. imagine the kids being allowed to go into the kitchens in the middle of the night if they were still in the mood to eat. imagine the kids being allowed to leave class to do their prayers, and spending lunch times to read the quran. we need to talk more about muslim kids in hogwarts.
When I told my family that I was Muslim (click here), they weren’t too thrilled (click here). My mother, especially, has been really concerned about my well-being. It was breaking my heart feeling like I was walking on a tightrope trying to please my family, yet also trying to live my life as a Muslim woman. I’ve been praying for my parents to become more supportive and understanding. And recently, my mother (with no sarcasm, condescension, or judgment in her voice) asked me what Ramadan was and why it was a big deal. The fact that my mother cared enough to ask me this really made me happy.
I explained that Ramadan is a very Holy Month for Muslims around the world. It’s a month of intense prayer, self-reflection, spiritual goals, charity, and fasting. We refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for the entire month of Ramadan. Fasting is about purification, so it goes beyond just food and drink. The entire month is about exercising self-restraint. This means avoiding gossiping, backbiting, arguments, sexual intercourse, and impure thoughts during the daytime fast. Ramadan is about acknowledging the spiritual realm and acknowledging the subordination of the physical realm. It also teaches Muslims to stay away from worldly desires and to focus entirely on the Lord and thank Him for His blessings. It’s a rejuvenation of the religion and it creates a stronger bond between the Muslim and the Lord.
Just before the fast begins, we have a pre-dawn meal of power foods to get us through the day, the suhoor. We break the fast like Prophet Muhammad did many years ago with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. That first sip of water is a spiritual experience! After sunset prayers, there is a large feast called iftar. It’s usually shared with family and friends. It’s a kind of social event. Every night during Ramadan, Masjids (mosques) and other organizations set up tents and tables for the public to have free iftar meals. Leftovers are often donated to homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
There are some people who are exempt from fasting: children, the elderly, people who are sick, pregnant, nursing, or menstruating women, people who are traveling, and professional athletes.
During Ramadan, phrases like Ramadan Kareem or Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan) are said. Some people will say Kul ‘am wa enta bi-khair (May every year find you in good health). And there are many lanterns that are lit called fanoos. They are centerpieces at iftar tables or hung in shops and from balconies. In Muslim-majority countries, wealthy families hold majlises, where they open their doors for people to pass by all hours of the night for food, tea, coffee, and conversation.
The end of Ramadan is really intense. There is even more intense worship done than is done the rest of the month. Laylat al-Qadr is the Night of Destiny, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan. Muslims believe that this is the time that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first verses of the Qur'an. On this night, angels descent to the Earth, sins are forgiven, supplications are accepted, and blessings and mercy of Allah shower upon Muslims all over the world. It’s a special time. It is said that this time is better than 1,000 months of worship.
And the end of Ramadan, the end of fasting, is celebrated by a three-day holiday called Eid al-Fitr. This is when children get new clothes, gifts, and cash. There are many early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan. Families spend the day together eating and enjoying the sunshine. Common greetings are Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid) or Eid Sa'id (Happy Eid). Muslims are encouraged during Ramadan and Eid to show much happiness, give as much charity as possible, pray Fajr in the local Masjid, go early for Eid salaat (prayer, read the Takbirat in an open field, and greet others warmly.
Ramadan is truly a big deal for Muslims and I can’t wait for my first Ramadan as a revert Muslim.
So, as promised, here’s the masterpost of the different, most common, types of concepts, words and phrases that we, as Muslims, use in our day to day speak, and perform on the daily. The reason for this masterpost is so that, if and when Season 4 airs, and if it is about Sana, then most likely, these words and phrases, or concepts, may be commonly used/addressed, so it’s always nice to just, have a reference, I guess, of their meaning, so that you can understand the context and definition a little better!
Islam: The word “Islam” in itself means to submit, to surrender - to give yourself over to Allah, to feel the peace that giving yourself over to Allah brings to you.
Allah: The Arabic word for God.
Muhammad (sal’lalaahu alayhi wasalam): The final prophet sent down by Allah to mankind, with the religion of Islam. (sal’lalaahu alayhi wasalam), or sometimes seen as Muhammad (SAW) means ‘peace be upon him’, which you’ll sometimes see as Muhammad (PBUH). It is an extension we add on to the name Muhammad, whenever the prophet Muhammad (SAW) is being referred to, out of respect.
“The 5 Pillars of Islam”: These are, in essence, the 5 core aspects of Islam, that every Muslim must believe in, and do to their full potential, unless it is detrimental to their health, or they are unable to do so due to a lack of wealth:
Shahaadah - This is the very core belief of a Muslim. They “must testify and bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, and that Muhammad (SAW) is his worshipper and messenger.”
Salah - The 5 daily prayers, which must be read. These are Fajr (the prayer we read before sunrise), Zauhar (the midday prayer), Asr (the late afternoon prayer), Maghrib (the prayer we read before sunset) and Isha (the night prayer). Each of these prayers are signalled when the Adhaan (the call to prayer) is heard, and before performing these prayers, Wudhu (ablution) must be made.
Zakah - Alms, charity. Every year, we must take a portion of money out from our combined wealth that we own to give to charity to the poor and needy. Of course, to do that, Islam sets certain rules on how much wealth you must have in order to classify if whether you are in a position where you can give charity or not.
Sawm - Fasting in the month of Ramadhan. Ramadhan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, whereby the start and the end of it is marked by the sighting of the crescent moon. During Ramadhan, Muslims all over the world must fast from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food, water, sex and sin. They must instead increase their worshipping of Allah, by performing Salah and increasing their Tilaawat (reading of the Qur’aan), Tasbeeh (praising of Allah) and indulge themselves as much as they can within Islam. Suhoor (morning meal) is the meal we eat before sunrise happens, kind of like a breakfast, before we begin our fast for the day, and Iftaar (evening meal) is the meal we eat to break our fast, just as sunset is about to occur. Taraweeh is an additional compulsory Salah that Muslims must pray in Ramadhan (since this Salah is only read during Ramadhan, and in no other month beside it) after the Isha Salah. The end of Ramadhan is marked with Eid ul Fitr,the first of our 2 Eids that we have within the year, a celebration! The fasts in Ramadhan are only compulsory on people that are physically and mentally healthy enough to do them.
Hajj - The5 day sacred pilgrimage that takes place in the final month of the Islamic calendar, once a year. Muslims all over the world travel to Saudi Arabia, more specifically, Makkah and the surrounding cities near it, to perform their Hajj. Only those that are physically and mentally healthy, and that can afford the Hajj, will find it compulsory on them to do so. Our 2nd Eid, Eid ul Adha is celebrated on the 3rd day of Hajj, by remembering the sacrifice that the Prophets Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son, Ismail (Ishmael) were to make.
Qur’aan: The Holy Book of Islam. It is considered to be Allah’s final word, and the final, unchanged Holy Book that was sent down via Angel Jibra’eel (Angel Gabriel) to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Hadeeth: The teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that were reported by his close family and friends.
Sunnah: The beloved actions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that were reported by his close family and friends.
Shari’ah Law: The Islamic ruling. Any Muslim country will most likely be governed by the Shari’ah Law. However, its not just people living in a Muslim state that must abide by the Shari’ah Law. Muslims all over the world must try their best to abide by it too. The Shari’ah Law is based upon the teachings of the Qur’aan, which hold the most weight in Islam, with a little understanding from the Hadeeth and Sunnah, in terms of how to apply these Laws.
Jihad: The word itself means to struggle, to battle. There are 2 types:
Jihad Kabeera: The Greater Struggle/Battle - this is the one we as Muslims face on a daily basis, within ourselves, to better ourselves as believers of Allah, to always do the right thing by Islam, which is something that affects us on a daily basis, especially if we live in the West, since we face the battle of living in the Western society, as well as being Muslims, and choosing to do the right thing.
Jihad Sagheera: The Lesser Struggle/Battle - this is the one where we proactively, as Muslims, must fight against anyone who wrongfully says ill about Islam. In it, we must take care that we are not hurting those, who have not hurt us, but rather, that we fight against the common prejudices, stigmas and stereotypes that are placed on Islam and Muslims.
Hijaab: The headpiece the women of Islam are recognised by. However, hijaab is not just that. Hijaab is also in the way we dress modestly, the way we must act modestly, the way we must speak modestly, because the woman’s modesty in Islam is very, very highly valued and respected. Men are told lower their gazes in front of women.
Niqaab: The face veil that some, not all, but some Muslim women choose to wear, if they want to.
Burqa: The long material that covers the head and reaches thigh length, that some women, again, choose to wear, if they don’t want to wear the Hijaab, but something a bit more looser and covering.
Abayah: The long “dress” the women wear, on top of their usual clothes. Most of the times, these are black, with several printed or embroidered designs on them for more fancier wear, or sometimes they are simple, for more everyday wear. Not all women wear an abayah, and not every abayah is black in colour.
Thobe/Jubbah: Kind of like an abayah, but for men? I guess? It’s a long stitched garment, that comes in many different colours, mostly neautrals, like white, gray, beige, black, blues, greens etc, that men wear. Muslim men in the East wear this more frequently than Muslim men in the West, but Muslim men in the West would most likely wear this on Friday, Ramadhan, and Eid - on sacred occasions.
Dua: Prayers. So, when you raise your hands and pray to Allah, and ask anything of him and remember the people who you want to remember in your prayers to Allah.
Jummah: It means Friday, which is the holy day for Muslims. Kind of like Sabbath, I guess. On Fridays, instead of the Zauhar prayer, men normally go to the Masjid (the mosque) to offer Jummah Salah (The Friday Prayer), where the Imam (the person leading the prayer) will give a Kutbah (a short sermon) regarding a specific topic to do with Islam.
Masjid: The Mosque. This is where Muslims gather to pray Salah 5 times a day.
Madressah: Islamic schooling - so, Islamic classes that, most often, take place inside the Masjid, i.e, the mosque, when it is not being used by the general Muslim public to offer Salah.
WORDS & PHRASES.
As-salaamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuhu: This is a greeting, both used as a hello and a goodbye between Muslims. As-salaamu’alaikum - May peace be upon you, Warahmatullahi - And Allah’s mercy, Wabarakaatuhu - And his blessings. Usually though, most people will only say/use As-salaamu’alaikum.
Allah Hafiz: May Allah protect you. This is another greeting we have that Muslims use as a goodbye.
Bismillah hirahmaa niraheem: In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the Most Kind. It’s a phrase we use/say when we’re about to start something, we start whatever we do in the name of Allah, by remembering him so that whatever we’re doing will have a successful outcome. Somtimes, we just say Bismillah, in short, which just means, In the Name of Allah.
Subhanallah: Glory be to Allah. This is a Tasbeeh (a praise of Allah) that is said when something overwhelms you, so much so, that you literally have to take a moment and glorify Allah for having that thing overwhelm you, whether it be someone’s beauty, something’s beauty, or something that’s happened that’s overwhelmed you in a really positive way.
Alhamdulillah: All praises be to Allah. This is a Tasbeeh that’s said when you’re thankful for something. Thankful for anything or anyone, for food, for good health, after we sneeze we say Alhamdulillah, or if someone is asking you how you are, you can simply reply back by saying Alhamdulillah, and they’ll understand that you are in good health, or if someone is offering you something extra, like food, for example, then you can simply say Alhamdulillah, and they’ll understand that you’re content with the amount you have.
Allahu Akbar: Allah is the Greatest. This is another Tasbeeh, but it’s used in quite versatile ways. It’s the first and last phrases of the Adhaan, it’s said in Salah, but it’s also used in daily speak too, most often when we want to reaffirm our belief in Allah, to remind ourselves that, Allah is our sole keeper of destiny, and that, sometimes, things we don’t anticipate can happen too. It’s a resounding statement of faith, that can invoke feelings of strength when it is needed, telling you to reevaluate where your faith is at. Or if something that you can’t believe is happening, you’ll say Allahu Akbar, to express your disbelief in it.
Insha’allah: If Allah wills. This is something we say when we’re thinking about the future, and we hope that the way we think about the future is something Allah is willing to offer us. Kind of like a “I don’t wanna jinx it”.
Mash’allah: Allah has willed. This is something we say out of respect for a situation, if it’s gone in favour of someone else we’re speaking to, or if we’re appreciating someone, whether it be their beauty or their character. It’s a way of showing someone that you’re extremely happy that Allah has willed for something to go their way.
Wallah: I swear by Allah. It’s something you say when you’re absolutely serious about something, because you are swearing to Allah about it, you are keeping Allah as your witness about it.
Astagfirullah: I seek forgiveness from Allah. This is said when you’re repenting to Allah, or someone else may say this to you if they’re reminding you of something wrong that you did/are doing, not as a way to patronise, but to remind you that you have a choice in not doing that wrong thing either.
Jazakallah Khair: May Allah reward you with the best (of rewards). This is said in place of thank you, when you’re thanking someone for something, Most people sometimes just say Jazakallah, or either Baarakallah (May Allah’s blessings be upon you.)
Ameen: Amen. Something you say when you’re agreeing with something, or accepting something from someone.
Mubarak: Glad tidings/Congratulations.Usually you’ll hear people say this in Ramadhan or Eid, to each other, or if someone tells someone else they’re going for Hajj/have come back from Hajj, you’ll hear the phrases: Ramadhan Mubarak, Eid Mubarak, Hajj Mubarak etc, but generally, it’s just used as way of saying congrats.
Nikah: Wedding.The actual wedding ceremony.
Habibi/Habibti: The Most Beloved. Where Habibi is the masculine term, and Habibti is the feminine term. It’s not just said to the person you love romantically, it can be said platonically too, and quite often, is.
Could you tell your uneducated followers, such as myself, some more about Ramadan? You're allowed to eat between sunset and sunrise, just not during the day? Are there rules about working during Ramadan if you have a job? Obviously some people can't take time off, but is it preferable to stay home with family? Do some countries, that you know of, recognize it as a holiday and give time off to Muslim citizens? Do you really fast everyday for the whole month!?
From sunrise and sunset we can’t eat, drink, smoke or have sex. Obviously, if you live in a country with extremely long hours of sunlight it is a little different.
You are allowed to go about your day as normal as possible. It is advisable to spend time with family and you should be focusing on strengthening your faith.
Fasting is for those who are abled.
If you are sick such as having the flu, have a health condition such a diabetes, old age, mental illness, being forced to do it against your will -‘compulsion’, experiencing intense hunger and/or thirst, you are travelling or you would face prosecution or experience fear due to fasting you may be exempt. People don’t fast while they are on their period (well, for good reason since that be incredibly uncomfortable), pregnant/breastfeeding (up to their discretion) and children are not required to fast (Some children do want try it out. I remember as a child I would get in the habit of fasting until midday as practice. Obviously it was not forced on me and I wanted to do it. Of course, parents need to be very watchful of their kids.)
You can either make up the fasting days or if you have a long-term condition donate to charity.
It is a festive time. We like to go out for special dinners, prepare special food and do more community activities. But most importantly the month is centred around helping the less fortunate. This is the time of year where we pay our yearly zakkat to the poor. A required amount of donations from your total earnings to someone in need.
Fasting is suppose to teach patience, steadfastness and remind you of those who go hungry and thirsty. It is about controlling your desires. We do it the whole month- 29 or 30 days depending on the moon.
Fasting shouldn’t be a distressing experience. For most people, fasting is relatively easy or just mildly uncomfortable. Most people report to feeling better during ramadan as it is good for the digestive system and lots of people actually gain weight surprisingly enough because they tend to have feasts at dinner. We eat two meals know as Suhoor in the morning and Iftaar at night. Water and dates are ‘sunnah’- Optional but a good habit- to have at both times as that is what the Prophet Muhammad (SA) use to do.
Islam teaches that you must have a good breakfast before sunrise and that you break your fast as soon as it is sunset- it is forbidden to delay breaking your fast. It is not required to starve yourself at all. Healthy, abled people fast without any difficulties. It shouldn’t be at the cost of your health.
You are to prioritise your health and well-being.
I live in Australia and nothing changes for me. I am not bothered by it because for me my life goes on as normal as fasting is not a difficulty. I went to a religious school for Primary School and High School so we had shorter days during ramadan.
I am not aware of how it is practiced in Muslim countries.