Feed Yourself: Lessons Learnt this Ramadaan

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

I started thinking about the concept of feeding myself at the beginning of Ramadan. As we deny ourselves food and drink for those able to fast, or feed the poor, for those unable to fast, the idea of feeding is something which occupies our minds during the month of Ramadan.  However, as Ramadan has now ended, I have reflected on this concept of feeding oneself and extracted the following lessons: 

Feed Your Body

Feed your body with healthy foods and drinks that will help keep your body fit to worship Allah.  Choose foods that will benefit your body with the intention of showing Allah gratitude for not only the body He has given you but also the substance He’s provided. 

In the Qur’an Allah tells us:

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“ And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” (Surah Ibrahim, 14:7)

Not all of us have the luxury of having food choices, but for those of us who do, ask yourself this: Is the food/drink choice I am making pleasing to Allah? How can I better glorify and praise Allah through the choices I make when feeding my body?  Keep these questions in your mind as you shop, cook, prepare your meals and eat.  Let it become a habit until it is second nature, constantly renewing your intention, ensuring it’s correct.  Feeding your body also includes getting proper exercise. Physical exercise provides your muscles, joints and organs with the movement needed to keep them in optimal shape. Are you exercising your body enough? If not, find ways to start to improve. Begin with small changes that are easier to maintain and work at a steady pace to your ultimate goal.

Feed Your Mind 

Feed your mind with stimulants that will help you grow as a person.  Choose reading material that will teach you something beneficial and help you reach a new level. It should challenge you, get you thinking and reflecting.  Limit those stimulants (anything that engages your mind, social media, music, movies, TV, etc) that clutter your mind and distance you from Allah.  Cut out those all together that are of no benefit to you at all. Some we can’t avoid, but we can do our best to limit them and thus curtail their influence on our minds for indeed, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Feed Your Heart ♥️ 

Drawing closer to Allah requires feeding your heart. Just as the body dies without the input of food and water, so too does the heart die without spiritual food. Therefore, feed your heart with consistent and sincere worship.  Allah loves consistency in worship.

Abu Huraira reported: 

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”

Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4240 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

One way of being consistent is through d’ua (supplication).  The Quran teaches us:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” (Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28)

I have reacquainted myself with my copy of Fortress of a Muslim:  Invocations from Quran and Sunnah.  My intention is not just to learn the invocations but each time I utter one to take a moment (albeit quick) to reflect on the words and feel them, knowing I’m acknowledging Allah’s Oneness and that without him I am nothing, absolutely nothing!

For me feeding my heart includes improving my ibadah in those areas it may be deficient. Making the Quran a daily part of my life plays a central role in improving my ibadah.  I struggle with Arabic but instead of allowing this to keep me from reciting Quran I’ve decided to slow things down and focus on an ayat for as long as it takes to recite it correctly, as well as, reflect on its meaning.  In addition, I have an excellent English translation with tasfir that shall become a daily part of my routine. My goal being that everyday should start with the Quran after fajr.

Feed My Relationship with Allah 

Whilst all the above are intended to feed my relationship with Allah I want to take time to focus on those things involving others that can help feed our relationship with Allah.  Be of service to your fellow humans. It’s a way to show your love and gratitude to Allah for giving you the opportunity to service humanity for His Sake.  Stop wasting time on useless things and shift your focus from selfish endeavors to selfless ones.  This advice I primarily give to myself.  I’ve wasted a lot of time on things that have not in any way benefited me.  This included friends.

In order to draw closer to Allah be willing to let go of those who are keeping you from Allah.  During this month of Ramadan, my best friend of what seems like a lifetime ended our friendship.  She said, “ your strict Islamic lifestyle gives me discomfort.” In the past I would have done almost anything to keep this false attachment. Instead, I recognized Allah was making room in my life for something better by removing someone harmful to my deen from my life. 

I began to reevaluate my other friendships and decided to release and liberate myself from another friendship which doesn’t help feed my relationship with Allah.  There would have been a time in my life the very thought of losing these friendships would have made me anxious, now having let go, I feel great!  Allah has rewarded me with peace, Alhamdu’lillah.

Abu Qatadah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty but that Allah will replace it with something better.”

Source: Musnad Aḥmad 22565 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

How much time have your spent feeding useless friendships with others and neglecting to feed your relationship with Allah? 

Allah has warned us saying : 

وَذَرِ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا دِينَهُمْ لَعِبًا وَلَهْوًا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَذَكِّرْ بِهِ أَن تُبْسَلَ نَفْسٌ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ لَيْسَ لَهَا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيٌّ وَلَا شَفِيعٌ وَإِن تَعْدِلْ كُلَّ عَدْلٍ لَّا يُؤْخَذْ مِنْهَا ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ أُبْسِلُوا بِمَا كَسَبُوا ۖ لَهُمْ شَرَابٌ مِّنْ حَمِيمٍ وَعَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ

“And leave those who take their religion as amusement and diversion and whom the worldly life has deluded. But remind with the Qur’an, lest a soul be given up to destruction for what it earned; it will have other than Allah no protector and no intercessor. And if it should offer every compensation, it would not be taken from it. Those are the ones who are given to destruction for what they have earned. For them will be a drink of scalding water and a painful punishment because they used to disbelieve.”  (Surah Al An’am 6:70)

What’s more important to you? False attachments or Allah? In the past false attachments took a place in my life they never should have had, astaghfirullah.  Letting go has created room to devote to my relationship with the Lord of the Worlds.

In other to implement these lessons in my life I’ve made a list of post Ramadan goals that have a prominent place in my agenda, and I’ve scheduled weekly time to review how I’ve done the previous week with respect to achieving my goals.  Reminding myself to constantly renew my intention and keep in mind I’m doing it to please Allah. 

Not everyone will find such a structured and systematic approach beneficial.  I suggest you find what works for you.

Ya Allah thank you once again for giving me that chance to do better. Please Allah forgive us and help us to feed ourselves in all aspects that will help us please You, earn Your reward and help us to earn a place in Jannah Ameen 

Nour M. Fox 

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