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By: Annika Wolfe/Arab America Contributing Writer
The holy month of Ramadan is a time for reflection, self-improvement, and for devotion to worship. But Ramadan is about much more than fasting and prayer; it is also a time to focus on charitable actions and good deeds. A good deed does not have to be a grand gesture, or a goal that you struggle to accomplish, it can be an incredibly simple action. Try to complete at least one good deed per day and see the positive impact your actions can have on others. So, how will you make a positive difference in your community this holy month of Ramadan?
Volunteering is a wonderful way to make a positive impact and help others who may be less fortunate than you. Spend a few hours working in a homeless shelter or passing out items in a community food pantry. Reserve a few hours after work or on a weekend to tutor children in your community or volunteer at a library or school this summer.
2. Donate to Charity
There are thousands of wonderful charities who do excellent work with their limited funds and resources; take a moment to donate to an organization that represents a cause you are passionate about. Whether it be an international aid organization working with refugees, your local grade school, or animal shelter. You do not have to donate money, your time and lightly-used clothing or furniture are worth just as much in the right hands.
3. Respect Others
Do your best to be polite and considerate to everyone you meet and interact with this month. Whether it be a co-worker on the elevator or a fellow commuter on the train, treat others with the utmost respect and kindness. Take time to smile at passersby when you walk down the street, be considerate to those around you, and/or converse with your neighbors and help them with their grocery bags.
4. Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness can go a long way in making someone’s day, and people of all ages can take action. If you see a stranger struggling with doing something, offer a hand; even if your help is refused, it is the thought that counts. You can also help those less fortunate than you; buy a sandwich or a snack for a homeless person or pay for the meal of the person behind you at dinner. Something as small as holding a door or asking how a stranger’s day is going can make a profound impact on their lives.
5. Visit your Grandparents
During this holy month, take time out of your busy schedule, and for a few hours on the weekend, visit with your parents or grandparents. They love you and most certainly want to hear about your job and life. You can also help them out with chores around the house: vacuum, sweep, weed the garden, or brighten up the family room with a new coat of paint or as simple as adding a pillow or a candle.
6. Abstain from Bad Habits
It is also important to abstain from bad habits, not only for your individual health but for your spiritual health as well. Try to stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating poorly to help your body. Avoid gossiping, bad language, and arguing to improve your relationships with others and overall attitude.
7. Go One Day Without Complaining
Many of us spend our days complaining about slight inconveniences like traffic, the weather, or politics. These thoughts and comments offer no positive input to your day and often can cast a negative shadow on your attitude. It is difficult to be productive and happy with a pessimistic attitude, and your negativity can affect those around you. Make it your goal to spend one day without complaining and see the positivity spread through your life.
8. Provide Food to a Fasting Person
Even if you yourself are not fasting this month, you can still participate in the practice of fast-breaking. Invite your friends, family, and community to a dinner and cook for them. Reaffirm your faith and commitment to charity with your friends and family over a delicious meal.
9. Clean Up the Environment
This Ramadan, work not only to improve your life as well as others’ but help to clean up the environment too! We only have one planet and it needs to be cared for. If you see litter or garbage on the street or sidewalk, take the extra step and throw it away. Make it a point to give back to our planet this month through recycling, planting a new tree, or cleaning up your local park or public square.
10. Visit the Sick or Lonely
Of course, Ramadan is a time for worship and for spending it with family and friends. But it’s essential to make time to go to your local retirement community or hospital and spend it with those who may not have relatives or friends nearby. A simple conversation about current events, your favorite music, or television shows, or your lives; such an act can make someone’s day a brighter one.