How to make it through Ramadhan during the El Niño heat

Photo caption: Austin Toy, 15, (right) quenches his thirst during a soccer camp Monday at the Uihlein Soccer Park. Teammate Majd Bilal, 15, of Brookfield East, is fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan and does not take a drink – Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel, 2012.

By Izzud deen Redzuan

This year the first day of Ramadhan starts on 29 June and this month is established for Muslims and those before them as ordained in Qur’an.

“O you who believe fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Taqwa.” (Quran 2:183)

During Ramadhan, we are required to fast daily for one month or 30 days from dawn to dusk and avoid food, water, sex and vulgar/harsh word. These actions allow the Muslims to unite in spirituality, humility, and patience.

What is the El Niño then? The El Niño phenomenon refers to the prolonged warming of surface temperatures over the eastern Pacific Ocean for six months every two to seven years. According to Malaysian Metrological Department, this phenomenon will start to be felt in Peninsular Malaysia at the end of this year or early next year.

Bernama reported that the hot weather in the country now was due to the current southwest monsoon period which brought the heat, less rainfall and less cloud formations.

Therefore, our Ramadhan this year will be tested with hot weather condition and it may be required to observe the fast for more than twelve hours a day. Hence, enjoy the helpful advice below on how to make it through without suffering from dehydration, the expected hunger pains while continuing to remain on good health and to ensure adequate nutrition.

Here are some tips:

  • Fast a few days before month of Ramadhan. Some Muslims have practically fast two days a week (Monday and Thursday), as was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. It is a good training though.
  • Speak to your doctor about an appropriate multi-vitamin before Ramadhan.
  • Before going to bed and before dawn, drink a bottle of water.
  • Eat suhoor just prior to dawn and it is a sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Do not overeat and focus on taking in foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, fruits or vegetables and plenty of water.
  • Try your best to avoid spicy during suhoor as they cause indigestion throughout the day or even worse diarrhoea.
  • For those who are smoking, this is a great time to quit and practice a new life and please do not smoke before dawn.
  • Eat lots of sugary food to stay energized throughout the day before dawn.
  • During the day, avoid direct sunlight and stay in cool areas (indoors) and limit your physical activity. Rest if possible or you may just stay in Mosque to recite Qur’an and perform dhuha prayer.
  • If you are in semester break just like me, we absolutely have time to read Qur’an daily and complete all chapters (all 30 Juz’ or parts) and do lots of prayers.
  • Take a nap (qailullah) during lunch break as it is a good recharge or just may take cold showers. Please make sure you do not drink the water.
  • Doing slight exercise for 15-20 minutes is good enough in evening hours and going to gym before breaking fast is not highly recommended. It will make you even thirstier and dehydration.
  • You can kill time by watching Ramadhan slots (i.e. Jejak Rasul) since there are the best. It is good for spirituality and may help us to know our religion better.
  • At time of breaking the fast, follow the sunnah: break your fast with dates and either milk, water, or fruit juice. After maghrib prayer, continue with some dessert or soup or cracker to enhance the glucose in your body.
  • If you are the one who do not prefer exercise during evening hours, then performing Taraweeh (8-20 raka’at) prayer may help you to stay fit and healthy. Moreover, it may enhance your memorization of surahs in the Qur’an.
  • Serve more fresh fruits and nuts after breaking fast or while watching television.
  • Aim for 8 glasses of water by bedtime and be sure to finish it.

I hope this Ramadhan, I have shared some of practical tips, plus the inspiration from Qur’an and Sunnah, from reliable sources. Indeed, they are beneficial as a source of guidance, understanding and nutrients.

Why Ramadhan feels so rewarding? You break your fast with everyone during gatherings when come the dusk (family, friends or crowd). It does not matter if you are rich or poor or cool or lame, all are invited. You learn to appreciate things more, although sometimes you crave food like a pregnant lady (i.e. Ikan Keli Bakar or Ayam Golek or Sushi).

Noushad Akambadam
Iftar Jamaie during Ramadan last year, 2013 at Masjid Nabawi, Madina.
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Ramadan, Let the real hunger games begin!
Photo courtesy of Angela Peterson, Noushad Akambadam's Flickr & Google Image

Izzud deen Redzuan

Managing Editor of IIUMToday 2014 - 2016 and weekly volunteers at Rohingya's school as well as homeless projects.

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