Thirty days of fasting from sun-up to sun-set takes discipline, dedication, faithfulness, and most importantly the grace of God. The initial excitement at the onset of Ramadan and the eagerness to begin a month of conscious dedication to Allah for the purification of the body, mind and soul can begin to wane, especially for new Muslims and young people fasting for the first time, once the half-way mark is reached.
Around day 15 or 16 of Ramadan there can be more of a difficulty in getting up for suhoor to eat before the fast begins in the early morning hours; it can become harder to keep one’s patience as hunger pangs develop and escalate during the middle of the day and it can be harder concentrating on salaat and the proper manners that the believers should exhibit when fasting.
The Holy Qur’an states about Ramadan in Surah 2, Ayat 185:
The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, a number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that perhaps you may be thankful.
Reading the Holy Quran regularly and rehearsing the signs of Allah that are contained within it are a clear and complete help for maintaining the momentum throughout the month. The fact that the Quran was originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during this month is important to mention because of the both the guidance and the admonitions contained therein. The Holy Quran is a guidance to all of mankind and the blessings that descend with the recitation of the it can often be experienced immediately and many believers’ hearts swell with emotion and their eyes fill with tears when they hear the guidance and admonitions of the Holy book; this alone can invigorate the spirit when fasting and can keep the flame of enthusiasm burning.
One ayat that is particularly inspiring reads in Surah 2:1:
This is the Book in which there is no doubt. It is a guide for those who are God-conscious, who believe in the unseen, who establish salah and spend in charity out of what We have provided for their sustenance; who believe in this Revelation which is sent to you and the Revelations which were sent before you and firmly believe in the Hereafter. They are on true guidance from their Rabb and they are the ones who will attain salvation.
Some additional tips to help in maintaining the enthusiasm and zeal initiated in the beginning of Ramadan throughout the entire month are:
Remain sincere in your intention each and every day with each and every prayer, suhoor and iftar.
Repent for one’s short-comings: Allah tells us to repent to Him
Stay in remembrance of Allah throughout the day and remember to make dhikr
Offer duas frequently
Have patience to the best of your ability and pay attention to your manners: avoid vain and evil talk, try to avoid raising one’s voice and being easy to anger
Ponder on Allah’s blessings
Give in charity
Visit the sick
Increase your worship in the last 10 days
Ask Allah to make you witness Laylatul Qadr
Try to have a nap in the afternoon
And remember to be generous
It is important to state that Ramadan is a very personal experience and that it is difficult to generalize when prescribing advice for making that experience more fulfilling. There are, however, certain challenges that many believers struggles with when it comes to denying the body food and water or seeking to control base instincts and emotions but we are fortunate to have had a beautiful pattern of conduct laid down in the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Spending the night or part of the night in prayer, making Tareweeh prayers at the masjid, visiting the sick, and being generous with others are some of the behaviors recorded in the sunnah and have tried and tested to produce successful results for a blessed Ramadan.