The following is a list of 10 challenges that you might face as a youth during Ramadan. No matter how difficult such challenges sound to you, the first step in overcoming them is to believe with unshakable faith in your Lord the Omnipotent saying: “Yes, by God’s Power, I can overcome them all!” You will then start your Ramadan journey with positive thinking and energy to overcome any challenge, fight any temptation, and achieve any goal in Ramadan.
1. Laziness and lack of energy, motivation, and patience to follow the Ramadan schedule especially fasting the whole day and standing up in the entire tarawih
Solution: Make a lot of du’a to your Lord Almighty to empower you with all the energy and patience you need. And learn about the countless benefits and special rewards of Ramadan to keep your eyes on the prize and so get all the motivation you need.
2. Hunger, thirst, and tiredness due to a long day at school with a lot of classes and sometimes physical activities
Solution: Have suhur at its best time right before fajr prayer, with a healthy meal including enough drink to give you enough strength and keep you well hydrated during fasting. Also, avoid excessive physical activities and remember that you have the right to ask your school to be exempt during Ramadan for religious reasons. Remember that feeling hungry and thirsty is part of what is meant to be fasting, so it is a good thing not a bad thing.
3. Lack of sleep due to late long tarawih, very early suhur, and early start of school day
Solution: set a schedule with a balanced set of priorities for school, prayer, Quran, dhikr, tarawih, suhur, etc. Manage your time well and do not waste it in frivolous things such as excessive use of electronics.
Solution: believe that fasting sharpens your mind and gives you more focus, not less, because of less food and high spirituality. In general, eating and drinking make one sleepy and lazy.
5. Evil temptations at school, on the internet, and elsewhere
Solution: as much as possible, avoid being in any surroundings or gatherings at school or outside where there are evil temptations, and avoid excessive use of electronics and unnecessary surfing of the internet.
6. Seeing others, particularly at school, eating and drinking in front of you and doing what you are expected to refrain from in Ramadan
Solution: do not feel bad or feel that you are missing food or drink, instead, you should feel grateful that you are guided to be fasting and make du’a that they be guided too. If it is lunch time, do not go to the cafeteria, instead ask the administration to let you go to a different place such as the library; they can make such accommodation because you have a religious excuse.
7. Being challenged with questions such as: (1) “how come you can’t even drink water?”, (2) “why are you torturing yourself?”, (3) “what is the point of fasting and making yourself suffer?”
Solution: learn what the right answers are then provide such answers kindly and respectfully. Here are the answers: (1) While fasting, I can’t even drink water because in Islam, fasting serves its intended purpose of REAL and COMPLETE self-restraint only when one abstains from ANY food, ANY drink, and ANY sexual activity, and so achieve self-purification both physically and spiritually. (2) and (3) Fasting is not a suffering or torture. On the contrary, it is a positive effort that is challenging but rewarding: expiation of my sins, growth of my faith, improvement of my health, sharpening of my mind, boost of my energy, and achievement of nearness to my Lord and His love.
8. Being tempted by suggestions such as: “just break your fast and don’t worry because no one is watching!”
Solution: God, the All Seeing and All Watchful, is always watching!
9. Balancing between the schedule of school and that of Ramadan
Solution: Set a schedule that strikes the right balance between the minimum required schoolwork and the minimum Ramadan obligations, then ask God Almighty to bless your effort in following it and help you achieve a lot with less time and effort. The good news is that if you sincerely do your best but still unable to reach a complete balance, God the Most Generous will still grant you a complete and best reward!
10. Having to educate non-Muslims about Ramadan and fasting in Islam
Solution: You should view this challenge as a blessing and a great opportunity to promote Islam. Just make sure you have the right knowledge about Ramadan and fasting.