As we enter the last stretch of this blessed month, we decided to bring it back to the basics. So we asked Noha Sahnoune to share her thoughts on simplicity and minimalism in Ramadan. We hope these tips help to remind you to focus on what's most important to you. Noha: I’ve been thinking more about what it means to be fasting, and the concepts of self-control and restraint that we put ourselves through for 30 days in an effort to be better. Islam has always been a faith of becoming, and of getting closer to who we truly aspire to be on all fronts, and tying our actions (and, perhaps, inactions) back to focusing on what matters most in life.
This month has been focused on building upon my faith and what I believe, and in firming up my thoughts and discipline around what matters most to me. This works interestingly well with the concept of minimalism I try to embrace in various ways - here’s how I’ve found Ramadan plays perfectly into this.
1. Set the intention of making simple of what you own, and what you’re carrying. Ramadan is an incredible opportunity to start anew in more ways than just spiritual — to clear through our heads, our homes, our belongings to put things in their rightful place, so to say, and to donate, recycle, or get rid of what no longer serves us. In a material way, it’s taking account of what I own and passing along what I don’t need to live life at its best. In a mental, spiritual form, it’s seeking forgiveness and perspective, and letting go of thoughts and memories that don’t serve who I’m trying to become. From the outside, it can be easy to think that Ramadan is solely physical and spiritual in nature, but there’s much more to be said about being deliberate and intentional about what we think, believe, want, and own.2. Emphasize giving to others in ways beyond the obvious — think gratitude, appreciation, and simple thanks. There’s a heavy focus on donating to causes we stand for and support throughout Ramadan, as well as taking care of those in need and in hunger throughout the month. Though not the predominant purpose of Ramadan, we temporarily place ourselves in a position similar to what those who may be experiencing food insecurity, which pushes us to give in any form we can. In these times, though it’s hard to do much more than swipe a card or send a payment, simple gestures, gifts, emails and cards to show gratitude to those around you and in your day-to-day can do wonders for all involved. It’s a simple way of remembering others (and, in turn, remembering Him), and shifting our focus to appreciation across the board.3. Head back to the basics. It’s shocking how much more time in the day it feels we have when there’s no food or water to be had. In my world, going back to square one is trying my best to hold to a neutral peace of mind all month. It’s making room for only what’s important throughout Ramadan, whether it’s eating as simply and healthily as possible in the morning and at sunset, sleeping at (relatively) reasonable hours, working the best I can during the day, and picking up a book or magazine on the off-hours. It’s checking in on family and friends, trying to curb late nights logged on at work, and simplifying where I can.
Here’s to taking the last 10 nights as slowly as we can as the days seem to fly — how are you taking steps to refocus?
Thank you Noha for inspiring us to make the most of these last days of Ramadan! Check out her blog for more articles on lifestyle and minimalism and her beautiful IG @nohasahnoune for all the calm vibes you need.