Ramadan Reality Check: Burnout or Speed Up

For me, the weeks and days leading up to Ramadan are filled with hope, enthusiasm and determination. I look forward to the days and nights of tranquility, and a sense of unity among the ummah, worldwide. I long for the shayateen to be locked up, so that I can begin my soul searching and be steadfast in my worship. Just the thought of having the chance to improve myself and gain both reward and forgiveness seems to relieve my heart and make me happy.

Amid all this positivity, I can forget that Ramadan is not a magic pill. It’s not an overnight (or over 30 nights) cure for all my sins and negative personality traits. Nor does it necessarily mean that I will be able to continue the same level of worship throughout the month or after it.

Being a student, I have been fortunate enough to have holidays during the last few years of Ramadan. This gave me ample time to try to fulfill the purpose of fasting and the purpose of this blessed month – to gain God consciousness (taqwa) and to be grateful. I tried to read the Qur’an as much as possible and spent a lot of time listening to tafseer of the Qur’an while doing things around the house. I certainly felt reconnected. Feeling content and also powerful enough to face anything because you have Allah (swt) on your side is just…Alhamdulillah! What can be better than recognising the beauty in Islam and getting closer to your Lord?

But increasing my worship and my quest for knowledge so dramatically meant a spiritual burnout was inevitable. I’ve had it during the last ten days of Ramadan, which is perhaps the worst thing, and I’ve also had it straight after Ramadan has finished.

I think a successful Ramadan is a Ramadan in which I’ve come closer to Allah (swt) and I’ve formed habits, which last beyond 30 days. Of course, inshaAllah, we’ll be rewarded for the good we’ve done during the month, but the purpose of the month isn’t just for that extra special worship. It is also to recognise the good and bad in ourselves that we normally, all too easily, decide to blame on shaytan. It’s to recognise how much good we are capable of and how much better we can be. Being a person of taqwa should be a life-long goal for every Muslim, and the Qur’an opens with a phrase of gratefulness. Neither of these qualities are limited for use in Ramadan only. Ramadan must rekindle our relationship with Islam and increase our imaan.

This makes a spiritual burnout, in which I lose the will to continue worshipping or learning as I was, very dangerous. It means that there’s a possibility that the good I did earlier won’t continue after Ramadan, and that would mean my experience of Ramadan has not been as beneficial as possible. For this reason I think it’s incredibly important that everyone have a realistic idea of what we’re capable of reading and doing on a daily basis, and to pick a few good habits/leave a few bad habits throughout the month instead of trying to achieve a full transformation of our character. Having two paracetamols cures the headache quicker than one, but having four at once will definitely do more damage than good to your body. In the same way, trying to do too much spiritually is not wise either.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately … Always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course, whereby you will reach your target (of paradise).”

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Hadith 470

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise (i.e., no one enters paradise only through his good deeds).” The Prophet’s companions asked: “Not even you?” The Prophet replied: “Not even myself, unless God bestows His favor and mercy on me. So be moderate in your religious deeds and do what is within your ability. None of you should wish for death, for if he is a doer of good, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to God.”

Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Hadith 577

May Allah make this Ramadan a success for us all. Ameen.


By: @Yellow_Lellow (MW Contributor)


145 thoughts on “Ramadan Reality Check: Burnout or Speed Up”

  1. I’m not fasting as I used to have stomach problems and I live with non-Muslims.. Nobody knows I am Muslim. May my Reading of Qur’an be accepted

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  2. Hi, i think this is very very true when we go all out to finish the Qur’an and be excited for forgiveness and rewards. Spiritual burnout, i never thought about it in that way. May Allah (swt) guide us and give us the willpower to continue the good habits we adopt along the way during Ramadan!

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  3. For me Ramadans really helped with my creativity and definitely helped me to create my own blog for my short stories, aswell as fuelling my writing process for my new novel. If anyone is interested, it’s all on my blog (www.kasimskorner.wordpress.com). Ramadan Mubarak everyone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can completely relate to this.

    The moment Ramadan starts, I go all out, with the taraweeh, the zikr and especially with tilawat of the Quran! It becomes a mad scramble to read as much of the Quran as possible.

    And as soon as the holy month is over, sometimes by the last ashra itself, I’ve made a U-turn and undone a lot of the good!

    Glad to know I’m not the only one doing such extremities. I’ll try heeding your advice. You are an inspiration! 🙂

    Thank you! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you’ve been able to take inspiration from what I’ve written although saying *I’m* an inspiration is going a bit far haha!

      You’re welcome 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was wary about how the post would be perceived. It felt like I was saying something inpropriate with everyone else focusing on what to read and what to do to make the most of the month and there I was talking about a burnout. It’s not something that I think people really talk about and it almost made me feel guilty though I know it’s natural and inevitable. So I’m glad that the post has had a positive response. Thank you for reading.

        Your link doesn’t work. But interesting name….not going to lie if you hadn’t posted a comment and had just liked the post I probably would’ve thought it’s some sort of spam account lol :$

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  5. Such a great insight into another’s religion. It’s beautiful, really. Seems more grounded in self-improvement, not simply throwing up your hands hoping everything will slip by for a heavenly end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello

      I’m happy to hear you found it insightful 🙂

      Yes, it’s definitely grounded in self improvement. For example there is a verse in the Quran that says “Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition” (13:11) this emphasises the need for us to make an effort to be better and be proactive in trying to change our situation.
      There’s a also a well known saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (At-Tirmidhi, 2517) which further emphasises our actions are necessary and we can’t expect things to randomly fall in place.

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  7. Assalam u Alaikum
    I am really happy to see and read your post. Well written and well said. Allah has given you the ability to convey your message in a simple and appealing way mashAllah 🙂 May Allah bless the whole Muslim ummah.
    Ramadhan Karim
    JazakAllah

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  8. I stumbled upon your post while monitoring my own site. I’m sure it was no random “stumble” but divine intervention from Allah to steer me back to a faith I was learning about a few years back but let slip away due to losing a friendship of the one I was learning from. I miss having that friend over and sitting with him as he did his prayers and sharing the holiday of Ramadan with me and my children (as well as wonderful Moroccan cuisine) by allowing us to sit in and break fast with him. Insha Allah he has not lost his faith to living in America and struggling to make a living and a life for himself.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post with us and we must remember that the point you are making is not just about Islam. This holds true of all religions and faiths. It’s not something we should be doing at our convenience or when we need something. Faith is part of who we are deep down and guides us in our everyday life even when we don’t realize it.

    Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims around the world. May Allah accept your fasts and guide you to paradise.

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    1. I’m pretty overwhelmed by the response to this post but this was definitely the most humbling comment.
      I’m sure it was a divine intervention and I’m honoured to be the vehicle to you reigniting your interest in Islam.
      Along with everyone elses comments’, it’s also a great reminder that Allah guides who He wants as I don’t believe I wrote anything that great but obviously Allah guides how He wants!

      You’re right, faith is definitely needed everyday of our lives and will surely make us better people. And I hope you’re able to find new friends who you can learn about Islam from and you’ve always got me and the rest of the Muslim community online 😀

      Ameen, thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! MashaAllah that’s amazing, you’re pretty awesome! Keep up the great work. May Allah make it easy for you and bless you and your family, ameen xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Interesting what you have written, I have been in Middle East for a life time, I find people more nervous more demanding and more impertinent during the month of Ramadan . Being nice and closed to God should not be concentrated all in one moth, this should be an ongoing thing, but unfortunately it is not. Controlling the environment around us does not make it a better Ramadan, the idea is to control oneself , the life should go on as it always does and fasting should become part of it. But this is not the case, because working hours become less, no temptations such as caffe or restaurants open. People that don’t fast can’t neither eat or drink in public during the fast period. Anyway I hope you find what you look for during this moth .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello,

      Thank you taking the time to read and leave a comment. 🙂

      You’re right, being nice and close to Allah should be something we try to do all the time and not just in Ramadan. However Ramadan gives people that extra push to do and be good. The important thing is to continue doing good after the month has finished.

      I understand where you’re coming from in terms of the benefits of daily life remaining the same. However I also understand why it is so. In Muslim majority countries I think it makes sense to change the working hours because people’s concentration will no doubt fall when they are really hungry and tired. I think despite Ramadan being a challenge Allah does not want us to burden ourselves and if something can be easier then that’s fine. So changing the working hours works best for both employer and employee in terms of making fasting easier. But I do see how that could impact the good routines one may gain during the month. I think as long as people understand their limits and focus on specific changes they will still be able to continue those changes after Ramadan.

      People don’t eat and drink in public as respect for those who are fasting and I think that’s a good thing, personally.

      Liked by 2 people

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