At the masjid, online, just about everywhere, I see suggestions for making the most out of Ramadan, and one of the biggest is not to focus on food. Apparently many Muslims are very elaborate during Ramadan. They spend hours cooking. They have special foods and lavish iftars. Some people even gain weight during Ramadan.
I can’t say as I’ve ever had that problem. I always seem to lose weight, but I must confess I am focusing a little on food this year. My husband and I will both be breaking our fasts and eating suhoor alone most days this Ramadan. We are unlikely to get invited to any iftars, and on workdays, my husband will have to take all of his meals at work.
With the absence of family and friends, I want to make it at least a little bit special by giving good food to break our fasts, but really my main focus is our health. Both of us have physically demanding jobs. I am nursing a baby. He is doing heavy lifting. I need to make sure he has enough food to give him strength and energy for his work. Truthfully I worry about him. For myself I need to make sure that my diet is nutritious and I drink enough to stay hydrated so that I keep producing good milk for my baby.
This is actually difficult because Baby sets the schedule. The one day I thought I might try a practice fast, I set my alarm to get up for suhoor, and baby decided she needed to nurse. I fell asleep nursing her and barely woke up in time to say fajr before the sunrise. This happens far too frequently. Even trying to fit in some extra prayers after isha or before fajr, I barely have the energy for witr, with isha so late, and of course actually waking up for fajr(or suhoor if I’m going to fast) is a priority.
Another suggestion I’ve often seen is not to sleep after fajr. I can see this when fajr is 5 or 6 in the morning, but this time of year it’s not realistic for a lot of us. If we have to get up at 2:30 or 3:00, and we can’t go to bed until 10:30 or 11:00, that’s simply not enough sleep to function and meet our responsibilities. I think we also have to think about other people and not be driving in a sleep deprived state.
I have also seen people who seem to pick tarawih over fajr. If you can only do one, pick the fard.