With Ramadan around the corner, Atika Dawood shares some reflections and tips on cycling during this month of fasting.
The essence of Ramadan is to reconnect with Allah, worship Him as much as possible and spend more time with the Qur’an. When thinking about cycling during Ramadan, a big fear is time and not wanting to take away from worship as well as worrying about the affect on our bodies of exercising without food or water. There is no action without intention, and your cycle ride is and can be a form of worship with the right intention.
Make an Intention
Think about our bodies as an amanah (trust) from Allah, and cycling is an exercise to uphold this amanah. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, though there is good in both." This is mostly understood through a spiritual lens, in terms of strong faith. But this can also refer to mental resilience and physical strength. Let’s try to make an intention to gain strength and vitality in order to worship Allah, which in turn leads to spiritual strength.
Set a Goal
We often set goals before Ramadan, a key one in the month of the Qur’an being how much of the Holy Book we’d like to recite. Setting goals makes us more likely to accomplish them, especially if they are measurable, as they keep us accountable. But it is important to be realistic based on our abilities, so as not to burn out. Do you want to cycle twice a week? 40 miles in the whole month? 500km as part of Fasted500? Whatever your goal may be, keep it realistic and measurable; don’t forget to celebrate your achievements when you reach your goal! Ramadan puts our focus on welcoming and developing good habits, and cycling is a great habit.
Practice Mindful Cycling
Tune in to Allah’s creation worshipping Him as you cycle. If you are passing through a park, can you hear the birds chirping? Are you admiring the spring blossom, or the manner in which the trees grow, bloom and sway only by Allah’s command? Don’t forget to be safe: be physically and mentally aware of where you’re cycling and if there are any hazards ahead or around you but you can also tune in to what’s around you.
Honour Your body
When you think of cycling while fasting, it may seem impossible. But Allah has blessed us with a body that is capable of so much, if only we keep testing its limits. If we think it’s impossible, it will be. If we appreciate our strength, our capabilities are so much more.
10 tips for getting out on the bike during Ramadan:
Do you usually commute or cycle regularly? Don’t lock the bike away during Ramadan. Your body is used to and capable of this ride at the very least, so keep up the habit instead of putting it on pause.
Find a time that works for you. For some this is right after iftar or suhoor so your body is fuelled. For others it's just before iftar as mentally you know you will be fuelling up soon after your ride. Try out different times and see what you enjoy. The most important thing is to cycle when you feel you have the energy to do so.
If you are feeling tired, consider if a short ride will leave you feeling energised.
Make your intention for your ride to be a form of ibadah (worship). Go the extra mile by getting your salawaat and dhikr in as you pedal.
Listen to your body. On some days you’ll find yourself able to keep pedalling extra miles or minutes, and on others you may find yourself struggling to cycle your usual few miles. Stop when you need to.
Cycle at a leisurely pace. Conserve your energy and enjoy the ride.
Encourage your friends or family to join you on a short circuit around the park or your favourite flat route. Having a buddy always helps.
If you’re heading to the masjid for Tarawih prayers, try cycling there! You’ll reach quicker, and feel more energised before prayer too. Don’t forget your lights when cycling in the dark.
Between Maghreb and Fajr, eat well and keep hydrated.
They always say, Mind Over Matter. If you put your mind to getting up and out, your body will have no choice but to follow.
We'd love to hear how you get on with cycling during Ramadan. Connect with us on our socials and tell us more.