By Abdellatif Sharaa

then everybody was home! What a change, and what a new lifestyle - a lifestyle no one would have contemplated or followed or even thought about! Staying home nowadays is not one's choice, but is enforcement by authorities for the protection of everyone. This in turn has created a lot of spare time that should be utilized in a relatively productive manner.

In reality, spare time has great value, because it allows one to gain new habits and teach oneself new skills, and it is not something that calls for doing nothing. Successful people are those who use their time correctly, and know how to manage their free time in activities that may bring them more success.

To start with, there should be organization of time for worship, sleeping and eating. Many people resort to being lazy and sleep most of the daylight hours and stay up most of the night, and this is very detrimental to their physical health in many aspects. We must return to healthy habits of sleeping relatively early at night, because this will help our bodies carry out functions they were designed for. Going to sleep at normal times helps the body's immune system, and this is what we need under the current circumstances.

It is imperative that we watch our diet during the month of Ramadan and eat healthy meals at a reasonable rate, while avoiding eating sugary foods, which helps our immune system do its job of fending against harmful elements.

There are a good number of people whose moods change when fasting - this is something contrary to the purpose for which fasting was imposed in Islam. It is to have self-discipline and train oneself to be of good behavior in talking, working and dealing with others. It is not warranted for one to become edgy and nervous, and sometimes it can be obvious that this is artificial and not actual, and must be avoided.

Now for smokers, it is the most valuable opportunity to make your body learn how to live without the over 4,000 toxins a cigarette contains. It is 14 hours of fasting spent without a cig, which I call the cancer stick, so you must take the opportunity to keep the cig in the box for 29 or 30 days, and this will for sure clean your body of the addictive element nicotine, which gives the urge to smoke.

It is all about behavior - we must be calm, cool and collected at all items, not be offensive towards others and claim it is because of fasting, as this will defeat the purpose. I was at a major supermarket and bought a few vegetables and fruits, and went to the corner for weighing and pricing. There was a long line, when suddenly an elderly man came and stood ahead of all of us and started weighing! The man behind me thought I let the elderly man go ahead, and told me, "you lost your turn, and you should go behind." I asked, "are you sure?" and he replied "yes, it is my right!"

I did not argue much and left the line altogether to buy other things and returned later. Rights are sacred, I know, but what is really a right and what is not? See you tomorrow, Allah willing.

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