JEDDAH: Videos and photos on social media platforms encourage us to use our time efficiently, giving away tips so we manage our daily lives in a better way and in order to achieve our goals. Time management is important to getting things done without losing balance in our lives.
The holy month of Ramadan is a month-long exercise that helps us achieve the right balance in life by dividing our time throughout the day for different activities. It is not just about abstaining from food and water.
Most of the inspirational content available online stresses on getting up earlier and to divide our daily activities efficiently. The month of Ramadan allows us to do that. Unfortunately, most of us take this month as a ritual and, instead of continuing with the perfect daily routine that is formed during the month, we go back to our old lethargic ways.
However, some people understand the importance of Ramadan and fasting as a program to help develop good habits and time management skills. They try their best to make good use of this month to help them continue with those skills year-round.
“Time management is always easier in Ramadan and it feels like the day has more hours than it usually does,” 25-year-old Waad Bashraheel told Arab News. “Time management is not a problem during the month. Everything just falls into place, and things you never thought you would do in a day you end up doing.”
Bashraheel said she woke up in the afternoon to prepare the iftar meal. After iftar, her family would sit for a round of coffee. Then the Taraweeh prayers were offered, followed by another round of coffee. “Even after doing so much you never get tired in Ramadan, you always feel energetic.”
Bushra Khalid, a Pakistani national living in Saudi Arabia, also spoke about the benefit of Ramadan timings. “When we compare the month of Ramadan to other months of the year it is completely different,” she told Arab News. “During Ramadan you are punctual in offering prayers, reading the Qur’an and going to a gathering that helps you acquire more knowledge about our religion (these days, however, we have online options). The moment we enter the month of Ramadan we feel completely different, even while we are in the middle of chaos we feel at peace. There is a calmness and positivity although we need to manage housework and office work at the same time.”
Osama Imtiaz, another Pakistani living in Saudi Arabia, recalled some of his favorite Ramadan memories. “Coming together as a family we used to sit with my grandfather and grandmother laughing and making jokes,” he told Arab News. “That is one of the best things about Ramadan — the ability to spend time with your family and really appreciate them, reflect on what you have, and be grateful for what you have. The thing I like most about Ramadan is how it makes us more respectful to others, we also get closer to Allah, give to the poor and recite Qur’an every day.”
Under normal circumstances, Ramadan also helped people to connect with friends and families.
Nowadays, however, due to the coronavirus disease outbreak, the face-to-face aspect of the holy month has been affected. But it is temporary. Once the pandemic is over, the next Ramadan will again be observed with the same fervor by inviting loved ones to iftar and sahoor.
“I think social habits are developed exclusively during Ramadan, there is more bonding between families and relatives,” Bashraeel said. “Families meet up many times during the month and we don’t even need to worry about what we will do, we just get together and celebrate the festivities of Ramadan. It is for sure the month of ‘barakah.’”
Khalid was slightly disappointed about the current pandemic getting in the way of the usual Ramadan habits that included family gatherings. “We are unable to socialize this Ramadan, it is very different this year. People who are still not practicing social distancing need to research and have a better understanding of the situation because however difficult this situation is we need to do what is necessary to protect ourselves and others.”
Bashraheel talked about a ritual that her family began before Ramadan. They decorate the house with Ramadan-themed embellishments and lights. They also arrange coffee corners with coffee and dessert. “So, everything in the house represents Ramadan. These things are especially fun for people who are into crafts and decorating. It gives off a good vibe when you enter a house that is decorated with a Ramadan theme.”