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Back to School and Fasting

Many MSAs host on-campus Iftars for students.Many students are already heading back to school for the fall semester, or will be shortly, and will find this year that the new school year coincides with the beginning of the month of Ramadan. Below are some suggestions to ease the transition and help you make the most of it:

Many MSAs host on-campus Iftars for students.Many students are already heading back to school for the fall semester, or will be shortly, and will find this year that the new school year coincides with the beginning of the month of Ramadan. Below are some suggestions to ease the transition and help you make the most of it:

1. Begin to adjust your sleeping schedule ahead of time. Accustom yourself to waking up early for a pre-dawn meal and staying up, and taking a nap before Iftar whenever possible. Try to avoid the habit of staying up well past Isha prayers.

2. Keep a bottle or glass of water by your bed if you happen to wake up during the night. Avoid caffeinated and sugary beverages throughout the fasting month. If you are able to adjust your exercise schedule to cooler times of the day or perhaps just before Maghrib, do so. Try not to cut out all exercise during the month.

3. Set concrete, measurable, and realistic goals for yourself that are designed for spiritual improvement during this blessed month. This could include reciting a certain amount of the Holy Qur’an each day, reciting du’as, brushing up on Fiqh, listening to spiritual speeches and meditating on your blessings, to name a few. Focus on quality first, quantity second.

4. Don’t waste time at school. Use every minute of every class to the fullest; when an instructor leaves a little free time or work time before the end of class, use it to get your assignments done rather than socialize or relax. While other students are eating lunch, you can get ahead on your school work. You will be glad you did as your energy fades later in the day.

5. Don’t make excuses and don’t whine. Professional athletes play and practice while fasting, manual laborers work out in the hot sun all day while fasting, and moms and cooks everywhere prepare meals for others all day whilst fasting too. Do not let yourself be deterred by naysayers, even if they are family members or friends, and lay your focus on fulfilling your duty to your Lord. Whining about being hungry, tired or thirsty only makes you feel worse and will detract from your spiritual benefits. Present a positive image of fasting during the month of Ramadan to your non-Muslim classmates, not a tortured one!

6. Break bad habits and start good ones. You’re starting a new school year and engaging in spiritual renewal at the same time. This is a great time to make positive changes within yourself. You can stop smoking, give up haram forms of music, cut back on television, ease your Internet addiction, improve your diet, give up foul language or eliminate your procrastination habit. You can develop a habit of reciting the Qur’an or commit yourself to begin saying praying on time, if you do not already. If you use the month of Ramadan to build good habits and get rid of bad ones, plan ahead of time as to how you will make the transition without abandoning your responsibilities.

7. Be enthusiastic. Decide from the outset that this will be a positive, rewarding experience and that you will emerge as a better you. Attitude is 90 percent of the struggle. Make du’a for a successful school year and a successful month of Ramadan for yourself and for others. You may find it helpful to plan a post-Ramadan reward if you meet your goals – perhaps a special meal, a day of relaxation, a charitable gift or a new outfit. Share and work on your goals while fasting with each other daily and encourage one another. Do not turn it into a gripe fest, keep it positive!

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