With the pressure of performing at school, and almost always the pressure of doing well in exams, it is often asking a lot of a student if they are asked to dedicate time and effort in availing the blessings available to Muslims during Ramadan. Let’s face it: students have it hard, and so they should not judge their actions in Ramadan with the same yardstick that others use. There are many difficulties that one faces in maintaining a study-life balance, let alone maintaining a study-ibadat balance in the holy month.

It is important to understand that Islam is a deen, that is, a way of life not restricted only to the actions we undertake in the mosque. Islam teaches Muslims to be active, in that, to be active members of society who develop and thrive within society, and show through their active development the beauty, love, and compassion that the religion encapsulates.

Students should therefore realize that they are not obliged to spend hours and hours in ibadat if they are burdened with their education, since education is an important part of developing ourselves as active and responsible members of society. Beyond the basic tenets of what Islam requires us to do, that is, at least fast and pray 5 times a day, students can re-alter their approach and use Ramadan instead to display how Muslims should behave in society; this means any notions of anger, hatred, or similar vices should be discarded during the month and everyone around us should be shown that Muslims do not deviate from the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) even if they are tired, hungry, and thirsty.

As for studying within Ramadan, students can study rigorously in the hours in between iftar and sehr so that they are able to conserve energy during the rest of the day, when they're fasting. When fasting, students can opt for only studying the revision notes so that they are not too burdened.

As active Muslims, we must, on the other hand, also ensure that we thrive to engage in optional good deeds and ibadah as much as we can, as long as it does not have a detrimental effect on other important considerations, such as studying for students. In that capacity, it is pertinent to think of ways through which you can develop little pockets of time wherein you can benefit from the immense blessings available to you during Ramadan. Taking a 10-minute break? Why not read half a page of the Quran and shorten your break to 5-minutes. Super bloated after Iftaari? Why not pick up prayer beads and recite Astagfirullah 100 times? On your way back home from Taraavi? Why not use the same prayer beads to recite SubhanAllah till you reach home?

More importantly, know that your education is also very important; yes, it is essential that you fulfill your religious obligations (Farz) and yes, it is important to ensure that you strive to engage in as much ibadah as possible, but don’t take it too hard on yourself and know that Allah cares about intentions more than the actual deeds. The very first Hadith of Sahih Bukhari is as follows:

Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA) narrated: “I heard Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) saying, “The reward of the deed depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended…”” (Bukhari 1:1)

So intend to try your best during Ramadan, and inshaa’Allah, Allah will reward you accordingly!