“How can I maximise the month of Ramadan and the ‘ibadah in the month of Ramadan when I’ve got a full-time job?”
I wanted to broaden this question and my answer to it because not everyone has a full-time job, but I believe the vast majority of us have a full life. So, here is my answer to you, as you’re probably thinking of how you can maximise Ramadan, and get the true and most benefit out of the blessed month when you have a full life.
1 – Be Realistic
My first response to that question is: be realistic. Now, you probably came to this episode thinking, ‘Oh yeah, LaYinka’s going to give me wicked tips and tricks and she’s going to say “Push in there! Come on! Get up super early! Put in the work! Get off your behind! Work, work, work, work your backside off!”’
Here’s the thing, those of you who’ve done that, you’ve been there, and got the T-shirt and the burn mark to prove it, you’ll know that pushing yourself beyond what is actually capable of you pushing yourself towards, will leave you to burn out. So, I want you to be realistic.
What’s possible for you, in your life circumstances?
What’s possible and is within your limit with your life?
How does it look? How does it feel?
What does it include? What doesn’t it include?
What can you do with energy, connection, and presence?
If you’re reading this carefully, I’m sure that you can see my emphasis on ‘you’.
The reason why I’m emphasising ‘you’ is because we fall into the trap of comparison.
You know, when you’re looking at what she’s doing, and you notice it especially on social media. You know that she’s doing that, she’s got that going on, she’s rolling with that, and you feel like you’re doing nothing because your life doesn’t look like what she’s doing.
First of all, social media is just a construction we want to put out there. That’s the first thing. Secondly, your life is yours. The circumstances are unique to you — your tests, trials, blessings, and abundance are all unique to you.
So, how in the world can your Ramadan be the same as Sarah’s, Michelle’s, Maryam’s, when your life is not the same as Sarah’s, Michelle’s or Maryam’s?
Be realistic about what’s possible for you in your given circumstances with where you are right now in your life.
2 – Do Your Best
To follow on from that, it’s really important that you recognise what is your best and to do your best, because your best will look very different from someone else’s.
Suppose you’ve lived a life riddled with chronic fatigue and pain. Sis, you’ve lived a life of chronic fatigue and pain, and you want to say that your best will look like a sister’s who has zero chronic pain and fatigue. Your best would be very different from hers because your circumstances, your life, and your capacity is very different from hers.
So, it’s important to be realistic. Do your best.
You know what your best is. You know what your best looks like, sounds like, feels like. Get honest and real with yourself because your best might not be the same as someone else’s, and that’s okay — embrace your best. Strive to do and be your best. Allow yourself and your best to be fully yours so you can show up as your best for Allah, for yourself and for the people around you.
3 – Be Flexible
This is key. No two days are ever the same, right? Yesterday was very different from today. Even if the sunshine, temperature, and everything are the same, we know that every single day is different. There’s a nuanced change to every single day. Change is the ultimate constant that we know of, right?
And so, if no two days are ever the same, then no two days will be the exact same in Ramadan.
Yeah, you had an awesome day. So one day was epic, and the next day, you decide that it must look, feel, be like that day when your life circumstances — maybe it’s the kids, the studies, the job, the spouse, your parents — whatever it may be, are actually different, that day — and that’s okay.
There are going to be days that feel, look, and just are different. You must allow yourself to be flexible in getting the best out of those different days. So, give yourself more than two options in getting what you want. Every single Ramadan, I’m telling people, “Guys, we need to be flexible. We give ourselves one way to get our goal.”
Someone says, “I want to finish my recitation of the Qur’an at least once in Ramadan.”
They say, “Okay, Fajr is my best time. It’s quiet — the household is settled, it’s peaceful, and it’s the only time I can really get my Qur’an done.”
Sis, if you decide that Fajr is your only time, your goal is going to be very difficult for you to meet because life happens. Life happens. People get sick. You get sick. It’s too hard. A whole lot of variables occur in life, every single day. So, when you say Fajr is the only time, and you only give Fajr as your only time, then what’s gonna happen? It doesn’t happen at Fajr, and that’s it. ‘Okay, my Ramadan is doomed.’
Suppose instead of restricting yourself to one time, you give yourself multiple times. You could do it at Fajr or Dhuhr, or maybe at Maghrib and Isha, you know?
Flexibility is the key to success.
Hashtag that, girl — #FlexibilityIsTheKeyToSuccess
When we’re inflexible, it opens us to disappointment because life is not a play script; life is not a movie script, sis. Sometimes you have to accept the bloopers and go with the flow. Accept the Qadr and roll with it. Know that you have the ability to choose what you want, how you want it, and give yourself a multitude of ways to get it.
So, a quick recap:
— The first way to maximise Ramadan with a full life is to be realistic
— The second is to do your best. Emphasis on ‘your’ best
— The third is to be flexible.
With these three at play, you can maximise how you show up for yourself, for your Lord, for the people around you in Ramadan, bi’dhnillahi ta’ala, and I believe that with it, you’ll have a beautiful, beautiful Ramadan, inshaAllah.