Millions of Muslims around the world will be embarking on a month-long spiritual challenge when it comes to June 18.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, during which followers of the faith refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to sunset - but it is about so much more than having no food or drink.

Muslims use the time to make peace with people, strengthen ties with friends and family, clean up bad habits, learn self-restraint and re-focus on worship.

The word 'fast' in Arabic is 'sawm' which literally means 'refrain', so Muslims refrain from negativity and focus on good deeds.

With two weeks to go, the countdown begins, so here is some inspiration to give you the strength and power to enjoy Ramadan:

Remember the cause

Ramadan has a lot to do with empathy. Many of us are lucky enough to never have to worry about where our next meal will come from, but not everyone has that privilege. Through fasting, people sympathise with those who experience hunger and thirst day-by-day and realise what a blessing it is not to be in that position. The appreciation of what you have in life extends to all subjects and Muslims focus on being grateful and appreciative for all they have. In this way, it grounds people and makes Muslims remember what is important.

Increase your charity

During Ramadan, in particular, Muslims are encouraged to donate to charity. Giving makes people feel better, shares love and reminds people that helping others is key. Muslims focus on the benefits of generosity and looking out for each other.

Keep well hydrated during non-fasting hours

In order to complete Ramadan - healthily and safely - remember as soon as sunset hits to drink, drink, drink (water!) Little and often is the key. Don't gulp down litres at a time and make yourself bloated and sick. But make sure you consume enough liquid to keep you hydrated the next day.

Get up for 'suhoor'

Suhoor is a small meal that Muslims eat before dawn. It may seem difficult to wake up so early but it will give you a boost for the day, and you can go back to sleep afterwards!

Eat together

One of the nicest things about Ramadan is having a communal iftaar (breaking of fast). It brings people together to share food and good spirit and is very sociable. Even if you don't live with other Muslims, invite your housemates, friends and neighbours round for dinner and enjoy the company of others with delicious meals.

Eat well

When it comes to sunset, eat a bit at a time, don't overeat as this will be a shock to your body. Make sure you eat a variety of types of food so your body gets all the necessary nutrients.

Stay focused

Life can often be stressful, and everyday responsibilities and worries can get in the way of having a peaceful mind. Ramadan is a good way to stay focused and present, in whatever you do. Whether you focus on worship, on performing well at work, on being kind to others, on learning a new skill or developing a hobby; do something positive. This will keep you from thinking of that dry mouth and empty stomach! Keep yourself busy and do not clock watch.

Remember it's okay to struggle sometimes

Accept there will be tough times when you feel weak, but don't beat yourself up about it. The next day will be better and you will get through.

Be positive

It's only one month and it will be over before you know it. So rather than dreading it, try looking forward to it and the positive things you can get out of it. Put your efforts into doing something good - believe me, when you subtract lunch and tea breaks, you will find yourself with much more time on your hands.

Don't push yourself too hard

Ramadan is not supposed to harm. There are many instances when Muslims are exempt from fasting. If it is affecting your health or you are ill or pregnant or travelling, it is okay to give it a miss without feeling guilty. Muslims can make up the days when they are healthier or donate to charity instead.

Stay out of the sun

Fasting during the summer is hard. Being out and about and getting fresh air is okay, but refrain from being in the sun for too long as this will dehydrate you.

Plan exciting Eid celebrations!

At the end of the month, Muslims have a three-day celebration called Eid. Make exciting plans that you can look forward to and treat yourself for the big accomplishment.
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