How To Ensure You Don’t Slip Up After Ramadan

You manage to build a strong system in fixing your spirituality during Ramadan, but how can we maintain it?

How To Ensure You Don’t Slip Up After Ramadan

You manage to build a strong system in fixing your spirituality during Ramadan, but how can we maintain it?

By

Sarah Lashuel
Art - Hafsa Khan (@hafandhaf on IG)

Has the high worn off yet? The spiritual high of Ramadan that is. 

Let me guess, you waited all year for Ramadan to come around so you could get your spirit right, and just like that it was over in a flash. I’m going to also go out on a limb and guess that now you’re trying to promise yourself you’ll keep up all the good work you’ve done, while in the back of your head you know you’ll have to wait until the next Ramadan to do better? 

If that’s you, then I know exactly how it feels. At some point in the year, the previous Ramadan and all the promises you made fade away like a dream. That’s part of what makes the holy month so special right? 

But the feats we accomplish and the lessons we learn are too precious to turn our backs on. Whatever your experience is during the fasting month, if you’ve felt the light of Ramadan and want to keep it shining, or you want to use this as a benchmark for a better you, here’s how.

 

 

Reflecting On Ramadan’s Past

It’s been over a week since Ramadan ended. We may be getting back into our normal routines, but before we get too far along, now is the time to reflect on how the month transpired for you. Not only can this act as a personal send-off for the holy month, but it will also make what you take away more concrete and memorable. 

When we reflect on Ramadan’s past, consider these questions:

  • What was different during Ramadan?
  • What brought me joy?
  • What brought me closer to my faith?
  • What were the challenges I faced? How did I overcome them?
  • How did I prepare for the month? 
  • What could I have done better? 

Using a pen and paper to take notes as you think will help you put words to feelings and even dig up some things you weren’t aware of. Clarity is essential before we can even get into intention or action. Focus on what is important to you. There’s no point in beating yourself up over expectations that don’t align with your needs, circumstances, or goals.

Getting Your Motivation Right 

There’s a reason why Ramadan makes it easier to start and maintain healthier habits and mindsets. The expectations are clear ahead of time. You know what’s going to go down, and you have time to prepare. Everyone’s in this together, your family, friends, and Muslims all over the world. Not to mention, everyone is also doing their best to adjust their schedules and lifestyles to accommodate during the month. With that said, does that mean it ends there? It doesn’t have to. Use the motivations of Ramadan to your advantage to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive all year round. 

Motivation is a lot simpler than we realize. If we like doing something, if it makes us feel good, then we’ll do it, even if it’s not what’s best for us. If something is easy to do, if it’s convenient, if it doesn’t need much effort, we’re more likely to do it right? You can see how true this is in any aspect of your life, like school, work, entertainment, and even friendships. Understanding how motivation works for you is a must if you want to keep yourself from getting stuck in a rut. 

Make things easy for yourself, make them fun. Give yourself the chance to learn about and practice the positive changes you want to make. Give yourself the chance to make them your own!

Set your intentions and then create your game plan. It should be realistic, and it should work with your life! Planning out the steps you need to take means you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by an overbearing feeling of what you “should” be doing.  

Be sure to prepare. Whatever you do, you want to be setting yourself up for success. Simple steps, like pre-downloading books, favoriting podcast episodes, or compiling screenshots of dua into a dedicated album, can make a world of difference that your future self will thank you for. 

Once you start, check in with yourself on the progress you’ve made. Is your plan working? Are you on the right track? Is there something you want to adjust?

As long as you want to make a change, you’re already half-way there. 

Fasting

The act of fasting is the central focus of Ramadan and it is an act that can put us in a different physical, mental, and spiritual state. Many people consider it a reset. From proven health advantages to mental clarity, to spiritual cleansing, there are many reasons why so many of us cherish the opportunity our faith gives us in prescribing we fast for the duration of a  month. 

Fasting throughout the year can bring great benefits, if you are able and well enough to do so. If you aren’t able to fast from food, use the spirit of fasting to mentally detox and gain some perspective. Think about the things in your life you assume you can’t live without, whether it’s social media, or spending on things you don’t need, or even vulgar language: challenge yourself to abstain from them and see what you can learn. 

If it’s safe enough for you to physically fast, then set your intentions early and make sure to prepare. Do it alone, or do it with friends or family. Decide what it is that you’ll look forward to if you accomplish the fast. Prepare by making sure you’re nourished and hydrated the day before you fast. While you may find it more difficult to fast any other time, just remember that if you can do it during Ramadan, you can do it period. Keep your momentum by building trust and confidence in yourself through accomplishment. 

Another way to channel that Ramadan energy is to learn more about intuitive eating. With all the iftar gatherings and incredible food it’s no wonder we got caught up in indulgence once the sun sets. After Ramadan is still a good time to continue being mindful about what we eat and how we eat, and it’s something we can do alongside our everyday routines. Intuitive eating challenges you to learn about your own body’s rhythms and needs, that way you can make lifestyle choices that support you in the best way possible, while considering all the things you don’t need. 

Persistence, Not Perfection

Holidays, festivals, and days of observance can be points in the year that inspire an extra surge of energy and passion. You’ll notice that every faith has fasting as a part of their practice. Allowing yourself to be conscious of this reality can keep the inspiration and reflection going. 

Don’t forget that you’re not alone in this. Reaching out to others may be a great way to spread goodwill and get farther together. Those friends or family who were isolated, or going through hardships during ramadan, their hardships may not end once Eid hits. Check up on them, plan days to have dinner together, find ways to connect. This is where prioritizing your time comes into play – if you could make time for it during Ramadan, see what you can do throughout the year.

If we were meant to become perfect during Ramadan, we’d only ever experience one Ramadan, but that’s not the case. Human beings forget, and struggle, but we also never stop learning. There’s no such thing as taking steps back, every experience you have is moving you forward in one way or another.

READ MORE: What Celebrating Eid Under Quarantine Looks Like

Raffia Arshad Becomes The UK’s First Hijab-Wearing Judge

Her appointment makes her the first hijab-wearing barrister to be appointed judge in the UK’s history.

Raffia Arshad Becomes The UK’s First Hijab-Wearing Judge

Her appointment makes her the first hijab-wearing barrister to be appointed judge in the UK’s history.

By

Wali Ahmad
Art - Hedzlynn Kamaruzzaman

June 5, 2020 – Practicing barrister Raffia Arshad, 40 was appointed deputy district judge for the Midlands circuit in May 2020. Her appointment makes her the first hijab-wearing barrister to be appointed judge in the UK’s history.

“I don’t see it as a personal achievement, it is bigger than that” she said. “It’s a huge achievement for anyone from a diverse background.” She noted that her appointment is “important for all women, not just Muslim women, but it is particularly important for Muslim women.” 

Speaking about the intersection of her faith and profession, Judge Arshad stated the importance of acceptance: “I decided that I was going to wear my headscarf because, for me, it’s so important to accept the person for who they are, and if I had to become a different person to pursue my profession, it’s not something I wanted.” 

In 2001,  despite concerns from a relative regarding her decision to wear her hijab for a law school scholarship interview, she succeeded in getting into the  a at Inns of Court School of Law. The mother of three later began practicing law from St. Mary’s Family Law Chambers, where she has worked as a barrister for the last 15 years. In addition to authoring a leading text on Islamic family law, her work primarily revolved around children’s law, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and other cases with specific Islamic law issues.

Her journey through law, however, was not without prejudice and discrimination, “sometimes on a daily basis.” She recounts an experience entering a courtroom as a barrister, where she was greeted by an usher who was unsure of who she was. “Are you a client?” “No I’m not.” “You must be an interpreter?” “No I’m not.” “Are you here on work experience?” “No, I’m actually the barrister.”

She told Metro news: “I have nothing against the usher who said that, but it reflects that as a society, even for somebody who works in the courts, there is still this prejudicial view that professionals at the top end don’t look like me.” 

She highlights that diversity in the legal profession is continuing to grow, but not blindly. “The judicial offices are doing their utmost to promote diversity, and at the time they appointed me they didn’t know I was going to be one of the few hijab-wearing judges out there. I’ve been appointed on merit, not because I wear a hijab.” 

Vickie Hodges and Judy Claxton, joint heads of St Mary’s Family Law Chambers said of Raffia: “[She] has led the way for Muslim women to succeed in the law and at the Bar and has worked tirelessly to promote equality and diversity in the profession.” 

In England and Wales, diversity within courts and tribunals remains scarce but is growing. A study published in July 2019 – which accounted for approximately 90% of judges and non-legal tribunal members in the region – showed that only 7% of court judges, 11% of tribunal judges and 17% of non-legal members of tribunals were of Black, Asian or minority ethnicity. This was only a 2% increase since 2014. 

Arshad agreed  that she has “broken a stereotypical image of a judge. Don’t worry about what you look like, don’t worry about not fitting into the mould, break that mould and achieve what you need to.”

Congratulations on your appointment, Judge Raffia Arshad – may you continue to be a stellar example for young Muslim professionals and dreamers around the world.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia Reopens Mosques With Strict Regulations

Here Is What To Bring When Going Out To Protest For Black Lives Matter

Here is advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight.

Here Is What To Bring When Going Out To Protest For Black Lives Matter

Here is advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight.

By

Amirah Ahmed
Photo - Samer (@waladshami)

The tragic string of recently publicized deaths by police brutality have, once again, brought the United States to the brink of a revolution. And whilst sadly not a new issue by any means, the shocking murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have ignited protests across the country, and around the world; most of which have been largely peaceful, and in the context of centuries of violence against black men and women, might even be considered mild. 

Many social media users have subsequently taken to their feeds to document official and unofficial police responses to the uprising, with significant numbers of protestors being tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and assaulted by police. 

As such, it is important now more than ever to stand with the black community, to amplify their voices and struggle. On top of the dangers outlined above, however, the coronavirus pandemic poses new challenges to collective protest. .  Here is some advice for anyone wanting to safely and conscientiously join the fight:


 

1. Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer. These are necessary precautions against COVID-19, as protests will leave you mostly unable to socially distance. Use sanitizer often and especially if you come into physical contact with others. Your mask may also come in handy if tear gas is deployed. You can even purchase a Black Lives Matter mask here

2. Wear some form of eye protection. As mentioned earlier, law enforcement have been using rubber bullets and tear gas, which have sadly led to several protestors permanently losing their sight. While the kind of eyewear that will protect you from rubber bullets are on the pricey side, any goggles will help in the event that tear gas or pepper spray is used.

3. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Protests can last for hours and the increasing temperatures accompanied by the physical exhaustion that will come with walking and raising your voice for several hours will leave your body and mind tired. It’s important to keep sustenance nearby to give your body the nutrition it needs to protest to your fullest ability. This is especially important due to the number of stores in and around protest routes that will have been closed due to COVID-19 and/or the protest itself.

4. Bring a list of emergency contact numbers and your ID. Whether you write them down on your arm or on a slip of paper that you can keep in your pocket, make sure you write down your personal emergency contacts (parents, spouse or close friend.) as well as numbers for your local emergency legal counsel, and keep them directly on your person. If you are in a group of protesters that are arrested, you will need these in case you aren’t given access to your belongings. 

5. Lastly, wear comfortable clothes and a compact bag to hold your belongings. Carrying a ton of unnecessary things will weigh you down. Therefore, keep it to essentials and pack as light as possible. That being said, do bring protest signs! Use some leftover cardboard from your last online order and get creative to deliver a powerful message.

These are just some of the essentials that will come in handy when out protesting for Black Lives Matter, but experienced protesters have shared tips and advice on their social media that are helpful too. Stay safe and alert and remember to continue sharing resources with your followers for those that aren’t able to protest in person.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter Is Not A ‘Feel-Good’ Instagram Challenge