Wheel of Ramadan
Today I wrote down my goals for Ramadan. At first, all I could think of was increasing religious acts—I put numbers on verses of the Quran to memorize, chapters to read, and rounds to pray. However, Ramadan is much more than counting prayer and memorizing verses. Ramadan is an annual opportunity for transformation. During Ramadan, God gives us structure and discipline, removes the distractions of food and water, and bars Satan from Earth, so that we can improve and achieve the best possible version of ourselves. Therefore, we ought to perform the religious acts of the month with the goal of attaining the best of the best version of ourselves. In Islam, this highest degree of self-improvement is called taqwa. Taqwa translates to piety, and it means living piously in all aspects of life from the private to the public. Taqwa transcends the traditional religious acts of prayer and memorizing Quran. In the truest form of taqwa, all acts become religious, from praying to eating. Therefore, to attain taqwa, in addition to religious goals in Ramadan, I need goals in health, family, career, community, and spirituality; and this month is the optimal time to achieve them all.
So I ended up drawing a Ramadan Wheel. Religion represents one spoke. This is where I wrote down which verses I plan to memorize each day; how many pages of the Quran to read after each prayer; and when to schedule extra prayers (taraweeh and qiyyam). Spirituality represents another spoke. Here I put time for reflection on the meaning of the verses that I read and time to feel gratitude. Health represents another spoke. I aim to run 5 days a week and follow the 1/3rd rule with food. I think about eliminating junk food—fried food and sugar do a disservice to the fasting stomach. The fourth spoke is for Family. I write names of relatives to call, and think about those who I can support better. The fifth spoke is for Career. I aim to be as productive and more while fasting, particularly since my brain will be functioning optimally. The final spoke is for Community. I think of those for whom fasting is a lifestyle out of necessity, and sign up for a program to make meals for those in need; I sign up to support at least one good cause a day with LaunchGood.
I plan to evaluate myself at the end of every day in Ramadan from 0-10 in each category, where 0 means that I didn’t even try and 10 means that I surpassed expectations. I will aim for a 10 in every category every day; and I am human, so I may settle with 6’s and 7’s. I want to make sure that I perform consistently good across the categories. If I get a 10 in one thing and a 2 in something else, the wheel would not roll, and I would be stuck in a highly impoverished version of myself. My priority is to keep the wheel rolling, so I aim for balance. I want to establish sustainable habits that propel me to the best version of myself, to taqwa.