Many of us have developed a culture of indulgent eating… lavish five course Sunday lunches, daily indulgent snacks and more! The Holy Quraan states: “…and eat and drink but do not be excessive, certainly He (Allah) does not like those who are extravagant.” (Quraan 7:31) Fasting gives our digestive system a much needed rest , where the energy usually used in food digestion and metabolism is directed towards the bodies detoxification , repair and healing…Subhaanallah! Fasting is one of the oldest forms of natural healing. The West are in fact now highly recommending fasting as an ideal detox and a brilliant way to supercharge the immune system This Ramadhaan, let us stop feasting and indulging and allow our bodies to obtain maximum spiritual and health benefits, Insha’Allah. What can we do? Introduce LIVE FOOD intake into our diet Live food refers to all foods that Allah Ta’ala has gifted us naturally from the ground, ready to eat and cook. No need for processing, preservatives, machines and factories. Did you ever realise that during the time of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) there were no fridges and freezes? Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) preferred to eat live, simple uncomplicated food that was easily available and required minimal preparation. These included: Fruits & vegetables Nuts and seeds Beans and lentils Unpasteurised milk Whole unrefined grains – barley & wheat Meat and poultry Our bodies and brains will express delight at receiving real food after several hours of fasting. So ensure you are organised this Ramadhaan and prepare a wholesome, well balanced menu plan before the holy month commences. Good ideas for SUHOOR would include Dates stuffed with almonds Raisins consumed whole or in a Sunnah drink known as “ nabeedh” Sliced Seasonal fruit or Fruit smoothies incorporating nuts & seeds Eggs & beans or lentils Wholegrain cereals – barley & oats (Barley was a staple in our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) diet consumed as “talbinah”) Good ideas for IFTAAR would include Fresh or dry dates Date, avocado or strawberry shakes (Remember to avoid adding refined sugars. Rather make use of raw honey, xylitol or stevia – more natural sweeteners) Attractive fruit platters or individual skewers served with a drizzling of honey & a sprinkle of cinnamon Freshly squeezed seasonal fruit juice Vegetable sticks & olives served with yoghurt or hummus & Dukkah or zaatar spice blends Assorted salads – Coleslaw, carrot, beetroot, apple, avocado salads Wholesome broths/soups cooked with meat, lentils and wholegrains. Similar to a broth made with barley called “ Sawiq” consumed by our Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) Rice and meat dishes Remember to use beneficial cooking fats as used by our Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) - Olive oil, Ghee, Butter & Fat from meat. Other beneficial fats to include would be Organic coconut oil, avocado or macadamia oils. In conclusion, remember processed food, laden with sugars and harmful fats offers minimal nutrition, requires increased effort by the body to digest and is detrimental to health. We need to consume foods that are closest to their natural state, as the Quraan beautifully describes: “Oh mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaitaan. Verily, he is to you an open enemy.” (Quraan 2:168) With a healthy body and mind, the quality of our Fasting, Salaah and all other Ibaadat (worship) will increase Insha’Allah. Fasting is indeed food for the soul and healing for the Body! Umme Faatimah (B. Dietetics Univ. of Pretoria) Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians
Many of us usually live life dependent on an upcoming major event eg. “I’m going to start reading a page of Quran a day as soon as Ramadan starts; I’m going to start praying every Salaah when I come back from hajj; or I’m going to stop smoking when my child is born.” And because of this way of thinking we usually end up with an anti-climax; we don’t end up giving up smoking, we don’t end up praying Salaah and we start reading Quran but then get back to our normal old self after a few days or weeks. This is because these ‘statements’ or ‘feelings’ are based on impulse and not a real thought out plan. We usually don’t prepare for Ramadan or hajj or have a plan for our Imaan to stay at the increase; we just go with the flow and expect it all to happen. Well, it doesn’t! Wouldn’t you love to enter the month of Ramadan on a real high and have the effects of this beautiful month be a permanent impact on your life thereafter? How can this be done? Below are 7 steps for prosperous & productive Ramadan: Step 1 – Seek knowledge about Ramadan This will help you ensure you will do things correctly and perfectly for Ramadan, it will create a hype as there are many motivational aspects and events in the month to look forward to and finally it is a reward reaper. The more you know about Ramadan the more you can apply, hence multiplying your rewards. Step 2 – Make a Ramadan plan Be it reading the entire Quran or ensuring you pray Taraweeh every night; make a list of things you would like to achieve in the month and then how you plan on achieving these goals. It is important that goals are realistic and it is better that your life doesn’t need to entirely take a different road in this month (i.e. take the month off work or change work hours etc.) so that you may continue to do these deeds after Ramadan. Knowing what you want to achieve in the month will help you stay focused. Ensure you plan your day every night before you sleep when Ramadan starts (try to continue this even after Ramadan). Step 3 – Know your life Be aware if Ramadan affects anything that is happening in the month or shortly after. Do you have exams during Ramadan? Or is there a major family wedding after Ramadan by a short time? Moving house? If so, plan for these events from now. Study now so that you are prepared for the exams before the month starts. Be packed and ready to go before Ramadan or plan that you do it after so that it doesn’t take time away from your worship. The last thing you want to do is spend Ramadan at the shopping centres. Buy any Eid presents and prepare for any wedding before the month starts. Step 4 – Prepare spiritually We all know that Ramadan is about Fasting, Praying, Reading Quran and giving in charity. Start these worships early; don’t expect to just click into it as soon as the first day of Ramadan starts. Start performing extra prayers from now, start regularly reading Quran now, get used to being generous and following the daily Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam. Step 5 – Prepare your mind Fasting is to refrain from more than just what we consume in our mouth. Start working on your patience; be extra vigilant with your conversations: ensure you are not backbiting, slandering or talking about useless things. Step 6 – Say ‘good riddance’ to bad habits Know what bad habits you have and stop them from now, don’t wait until Ramadan begins. If you sleep late, start sleeping early, if you are a Social Media junky start cutting down etc. It might sound much easier said than done, but once you’ve committed yourself, purified your intentions – make sincere Dua for guidance. Insha’Allah, these bad habits will be easier done with than you ever expected. Step 7 – Plan your life around your worship For instance; instead of working through your prayer or setting up meeting etc. at prayer times, plan that you have a break at prayer time. Don’t take your phone with you to the place you pray and forget the world as you stand before Allah Ta'ala. Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians
Sayyiduna ‘Ubadah ibn Samit (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu’alaihi wasallam) use to teach the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) the following Du’a when the Blessed month of Ramadan would arrive:
اَللّٰهُمَّ سَلّمْنِيْ لِرَمَضانَ وَسَلّمْ رَمَضانَ لِيْ وَسَلّمْه لِي مُتَقَبَّلا
(رواه الطبراني في الدعاء والديلمي ، وسنده حسن- كنز العمال 8/584)
Allahumma sallimni li Ramadhana, wa sallim Ramadhana li, wa sallimhu li mutaqabbala.
Translation: O Allah! preserve me for Ramadan, safeguard Ramadan for me and accept it from me.
(Kitabu Du’a of Imam Tabarani, Hadith: 912, also see: Hayatus Sahabah, vol.3 pg.182 and Kanzul ‘Ummal, Vol.8 pg.584)
“Preserve me for Ramadan” means: O Allah! allow me to remain healthy and able so I may benefit from Ramadan. It shouldn’t be that when Ramadan arrives, I am caught up in some unfortunate condition that hinders our Fast, ‘ibadah etc.
“Safeguard Ramadan for me” means: In addition to being able, O Allah! grant me the tawfeeq (ability) to maximise my benefit from this auspicious occasion. Many able people witness this month but fail to actually benefit from it. These people are truly unfortunate! May Allah save us.
“and accept it from me” means: O Allah! after inspiring me to be devoted throughout the month, don’t let it go to waste by not accepting it.
Status of this narration
The chain of narrators for this hadith is weak. (Footnotes of Shaykh ‘Awwamah on Musnad ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdil ‘Azeez, pg.280)
However it is positively supported by the practice of the salaf (pious predecessors) with slight variations in the wording and is therefore suitable for practice.
Habit of the Salaf
1. Imam Tabarani (rahimahullah) reports that the famous Tabi’i: Makhool (rahimahullah) would recite this du’a at the beginning of Ramadan. (Kitabu Du’a li Tabarani hadith:913)
2. He also reports from ‘Abdul ‘Azeez ibn Abi Rawwad (Demise: 159 A.H.) that “the muslims would recite” a similar du’a (with additions to the above wording) upon the arrival of Ramadan. (ibid, hadith:914)
3. Imam Muhammad ibn Nasar Al-Marwazi has recorded in his Qiyamul Layl that it was the habit of the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) and the Tabi’un (rahimahumullah) to recite this du’a when Ramadan arrived. (Mukhtasar Qiyamul Layl, pg.98)
4. Hafiz Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) has quoted the reliable Tabi’i; Yahya Ibn Abi Katheer (rahimahullah) to have said:
“It was their habit (the Sahabah and Tabi’un) to make this du’a…” (Lataiful Ma’arif, pg.280)
It is probably in light of these substantiations that Imam Suyuti (rahimahullah) has declared the narration as hasan, i.e. soundly authentic. (Kanzul ‘Ummal, vol.8 pg.584)
When to recite this?
Besides the last reference, all of the above have mentioned this du’a to be recited when Ramadan arrives or commences. In the version of Yahya ibn Abi Katheer (rahimahullah) the words used are:
اللهم سلمني إلى رمضان
O Allah keep me safe till Ramadan
This supports the habit of reciting this supplication (with these words) before the arrival of the month itself.
May Allah Ta’ala guides us all to implement this sunnah and teach it to others. Amin.