Shamima, your Students' Union President, marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, which is a religious month observed by many Muslims around the world.
Monday 12th April marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, which is a religious month observed by many Muslims around the world. No matter your social background, your ethnicity, your age and any other characteristics, as Muslims, we come together to remember our faith and better ourselves during this month.
Studying during Ramadan
During this period, many of you will be doing exams and assessments. That means having to study whilst fasting. It can certainly be difficult. Yet, there are ways you can study better during this month, whilst also being able to concentrate on your faith.
Firstly, plan and prepare. It may help to create a timeline of assessments and exams that need doing and plan how to prepare for them through allocated study times. Planning your time is key, as most of you would want to be able to concentrate on strengthening your faith too and doing the work necessary to connect to Allah during this holy month. Therefore, preparing and planning ahead every day or week can help you strike that balance well.
Make sure you take breaks. Not just a break to go pray, but also a break from studying. Give your mind a break. This is beneficial for your mental health. Overworking can do more harm than good, so please, rest when you can. Again, creating a timetable and factoring in breaks would be ideal for this. I know it’s difficult to stick to a routine but try to, it will help when you’re struggling to concentrate or lacking in energy.
Communicate. Talk to your friends and classmates, everyone is on the same boat and are probably going through similar struggles. Having a support network will allow you to study better and get the right help when you need it!
The Students’ Union will be running our Study Well campaign throughout the next few weeks. So do keep an eye out on social media pages and the website to get involved.
Ramadan At Home
Usually we celebrate the month with all our families, friends, neighbours and our loved ones; whether that be through praying together, breaking our fast together or helping the less fortunate together. Like last year, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, celebrating Ramadan will look rather different to normal, for students and staff alike.
This can be difficult, and understandably so. During the pandemic the ongoing restrictions have been strenuous and have taken their toll on us, both physically and mentally. Be kind to yourself. We all want to come out of this month renewed, healed and closer to Allah. However, I cannot stress how important it is to be good to yourself and know your limitations. It is okay to take your time and focus on the quality of your prayers instead. Plan your suhoor and iftar, if you can. Incorporating food that releases energy slowly throughout the day is vital during suhoor. But also plan your food so that you can maintain social distancing, without having to take multiple visits to the shops. Staying safe is still a priority.
There are a lot of you who are living alone during this month. However, the current pandemic can really test you emotionally. Therefore, it’s important you stay connected with your friends, family and loved ones. For example, through virtual iftars on Zoom or sharing knowledge with each other.
Working During Ramadan
Many of us will still be working from home during Ramadan this year, this may come with some perks, but there are also some challenges that arise from a prolonged period of being at home.
In order to work better and be better supported by the Students’ Union, University or who you work for during Ramadan, it is essential that you communicate with your line managers and colleagues. Let them know that you’re fasting and if you are having any difficulties. Not just difficulties, share your experiences of Ramadan with your colleagues. There’s a lot we can learn from each other and months like this are the best opportunity to do so!
I’m also urging line managers to be understanding and open to the needs of their Muslim colleagues. Fasting for long hours can cause dehydration and headaches, which could potentially mean that productivity decreases. So please be understanding and help accommodate whatever is necessary for a better working environment.
Ramadan is a time of reflection, healing and spiritual growth. I hope this month brings you closer to yourself as well as your religion. If you need anything, whether it is support or advice do not hesitate to reach out.
Muslim Council of Britain - a lot of useful information can be found on the #SafeRamadan 2021 Guidance from The Muslim Council of Britain