MY first Ramadan as a mom, I wasn’t able to fast.
I was still in post-partum recovery and nursing my son full-time sent my normally borderline iron levels into an all-time low, compounding the negative side effects of my anemia. I couldn’t get past a couple of hours without food and drink, let alone an entire day.
Alhamdulilah, Allah is truly merciful for including pregnant and breastfeeding women among those who do not need to fast.
It’s reported that Anas, radi Allahu anhu, narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Allaah has waived half of the prayer for the traveler, and fasting, and for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding.” —
After doing a little research, and praying istikhara, I felt secure in my choice to accept this allowance; but like many non-fasting mothers do, I wondered how the decision would affect my Ramadan. Would I still feel as humbled as those who were fasting? Would I still feel inspired to do charitable works? Would I earn as much reward for my efforts? Would my prayers for forgiveness still be answered? Would it still be Ramadan?
I came to the conclusion that my Ramadan would be whatever I chose to make of it. I could sit and sulk over not fasting and let the blessed month pass me by. Or, I could renew my intentions and commit myself to doing every other act of worship I was able to with the hopes of pleasing my Lord.
Expecting difficulties with a new baby, I took a few steps to make sure that I tried my best throughout the month.
I Made a List of Goals
It’s difficult to accomplish things that you don’t know you want to accomplish. Taking time to set goals helped keep me committed to performing acts of worship throughout the month, while helping to prevent me from over-burdening myself by trying to do too much at once.
I Created a Schedule
Just because it’s Ramadan, doesn’t mean that our roles as mother, wife, daughter, and professional (for those working) come to an end. Since I still had responsibilities to fulfill, managing it all would have probably been a disaster without setting a schedule for myself.
When making my schedule, I took into consideration the daily prayers, my son’s feeding and sleeping routine, my husband’s availability, and my family’s needs. I then examined closely the time that I usually spent on tasks each day and replaced anything that was unnecessary with beneficial acts of worship. I filled spare time with beneficial acts as well.
Some acts, like reading Qur’an, or reciting dhikr, I wrote in as individual acts that I could do alone and during almost any situation. Other acts, like preparing iftar, or praying taraweeh, I wrote in as group acts that could be done with my in-laws and had specific times they had to be completed. My son’s naptimes were highlighted as prime, uninterrupted time with my Lord which I could spend praying extra prayers and making lots of dua’a.
I Took it One Day at a Time
I told myself upfront that I wasn’t Superwoman. I wasn’t going to be able to “do it all”. So I took things slowly, did what I could, and stuck to baby steps. I figured it was better to be consistent in the small things I knew I was able to do than to try too many big things at once and end up giving up altogether.
With so much emphasis placed on fasting, it can be hard to think of other things to do when you’re not able to fast. MashaAllah, there’s actually plenty! Here are a few that I came up with:
Reading, Memorizing, Acting Upon, and Teaching the Qur’an
Correcting and Increasing Our Knowledge of Islam
Memorizing and Making Dua’a>
Praying Sunnah and Supererogatory Prayers
Attending a Khatira or Halaqah
Helping a Friend or Family Member in Need
Visiting the Sick
Volunteering at the Masjid
Feeding the Fasting
Encouraging Our Family to do Their Best, Too!
Not being able to fast doesn’t have to hold us back from having a blessed month. Ramadan can still be Ramadan, if we choose to make it that w