[ By Aisha Zainal ]
Well into the month of Ramadhan now, with inconsistent rain and sunshine, not to mention finals arriving soon, what’s a student to do to keep up with both academics and spirituality? Here are a few tips (some fun, some to engross the mind and impress parents) on making this Ramadhan a gamechanger for you.
1. Take catnaps when needed
Just because we’re adults doesn’t mean we need to forgo our catnaps. According to a few researchers, the best naps are 10-20 minutes long for a quick boost in energy levels and alertness, or going all the way for the 90 minute nap for improved memory, creativity and not waking up like a zombie. As a bonus, it helps pass the time when you get too hungry for Iftar – though napping all day invalidates the fast.
2. Whip up some date treats in time for Iftar
Everytime Ramadhan comes around, I get this strange obsession with food, like watching cooking shows or reading up recipes online. Akin to dangling the carrot, but instead of consuming, I just imagine what the treats taste like since I get too lazy to even attempt the recipes. Here are a few easy-peasy recipes to use up the boxes of dates you “accidentally” bought:
Jamie’s Date Shake:
Magic date balls (You can substitute the carob powder for cocoa powder)
Date and banana loaves:
Ramadhan is a time when every single person fasts as an act of worship and also to remind ourselves that there are human beings everywhere less fortunate than us. Performing charity is encouraged and can be done in various ways, like volunteering at the local mosque or charities, making duas for other Muslims and donating food products to those who need it more than us. Do an act of kindness with sincerity, and better yet, maintain the habit for the rest of the year too.
4. Get to know some teachers online
Ramadhan is the one month in which one is always in worship (during the fast). It is also the time in which most Muslims take a step back, pray and seek knowledge. Here are a few internationally renowned (even humorous) teachers who have also given talks in Malaysia, such as Ilmfest 2015.
Shaykh Abu Eesa Niamatullah (twitter @niamatullah); Londoner known for his morbid humor.
Shaykh Abdulbary Yahya (@abdulbary); uses his wit to teach Islamic concepts.
Shaykh Saad Tasleem (@saadtasleem); relates to youths of today in the face of pop culture pressures.
Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed (@yasminmogahed); gives amazing anecdotes and metaphors in her reflections.
5. Spend time with family
My mum always told me, ‘Those who eat together, stay together’. We may not always get to ‘buka puasa’ together due to responsibilities and conflicting schedules, but we try to make it a point to call or have prayers together. At the end of Ramadhan is Hari Raya Aidilifitri, a day when everyone gets together to celebrate, and what better way to build up to that and beyond than to start and maintain family and friendship bond now?
Have some dates with a glass of milk and take care while fasting!