Ramadan and mind-wellbeing

by Fatima Noordien

“Abstention from food, drink and intimacy on the physical level as well as graciously controlling the tongue and what is uttered, summarises the fasting person’s behaviour between sunrise and sunset, for 29-30 days. “

This seemed like an impossible feat for the young people I overheard discussing Ramadan recently.

“Especially since my routine is set around eating times of breakfast,
lunch, tea breaks and suppers.”

The confidence and willingness to surrender our usual routines shows a healthy mental approach to the month of Ramadan. If one can approach it with willingness and meaningful understanding, then it can lead to great peace and stillness. These characteristics can be classified as a great mental health state of mind. “Abstention from food, drink and intimacy on the physical level as well as graciously controlling the tongue and what is uttered, summarises the fasting person’s behaviour between sunrise and sunset, for 29-30 days.”

The stillness in nature, in every day that we breathe, presents us with that hope-filled surrender to a Being that is beyond our imagination and human capacities. This reflective moment is what is promised and sought in all faith practices. For Muslims, these given moments are especially true in the coming month of Fasting or Ramadan. By the time you read this, this month of high intensity training and searching for that closeness to God moments will be in full swing for the year 1444 or 2023.

However, with religiosity and social custom, the impact of this faith practice gets lost sometimes, resulting in a reduction of the personal outcomes associated with this period.

Mental health and wellbeing is easier attained as we focus beyond our personal needs. This caring compassionate aspect that is encouraged during Ramadan helps us settle the selfish ‘I-come-firstapproach’ that we could have.

We focus on the repeated promise of God as in chapter 94 known as the chapter of Solace, verses 5 and 6 that promises ease with every hardship. Everyone struggles and has difficulty.

So often the difficulty is self-imposed by a state of mind or unrealised expectation rather than a real physical impediment. Once we enable ourselves to be quiet and focus on an aspect beyond the lack-of/ disappointment / I-don’t-have, we are able to much easier act in a way that will bring peace. Peace of mind is a characteristic of a sound mind-wellbeing. What practices will assist us to make full use of this time? We need to seek grounding actions and activities to fill the intent and purpose of the fasting person beyond the physical acts. Thus we find that Ramadan is a month of building our mental health strength to cope with life and its challenges from a different attitude and perspective. We need to make time to be quiet and find the real meaning of practices beyond the religiosity of practices.

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