Muslim Girl in America

I'm an American girl, born and raised, and a Muslim.

Ramadan Resolutions

So the first week of Ramadan has passed. Your body is getting used to the lack of sleep (and sustenance), and, hopefully, your mind is slowly becoming clearer. That’s what Ramadan does for me; it helps me to focus on what’s important and put aside the things that usually annoy me or pull my focus away.

During this time, I’m reminded about the great friends I have, who try their best to cheer me on this month and make an effort to understand the month and what I’m going through.

Ramadan Kareem

During this month, I also learn (or re-learn) how to maintain a calm state when people say mean, upsetting, or insensitive things to me. For example, my boss, as I was leaving work before a long weekend, said, ‘Have a great weekend not eating!’ and then laughed and walked away. It’s times like those that you just take a deep breath and walk away.

But why do we resolve to only walk away during Ramadan? We should use, for lack of a better word, the momentum we gain during Ramadan to continue good behaviors afterwards. Every time January 1st rolls around, we make resolutions for the New Year; why not make resolutions for Ramadan and after Ramadan? So here are my resolutions.

Ramadan Week 2 – Ramadan Resolutions

  • Say more Sunnah prayers (these are optional prayers that precede or follow obligatory prayers).
  • Be thankful for the great friends and family I have, and say extra prayers for them.
  • Take a deep breath when my not-so-great friends and family are not nice to me. I also resolve to say extra prayers for them.
  • Remember that I cannot change how others treat me or how much they judge me, but I can control my reaction to them. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Keep Calm and Carry On

  • Forgive those that have been mean or acted against me. I don’t want the unease of unforgiveness in my heart. Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things a person does. Some people will never forgive, others will only think about it but never act upon those feelings. But some anger is more easily let go (such as forgiving Veronica Roth for the incredibly stupid ending to the Divergent series). Other forgiveness takes making a very conscious choice to really let go of animosity towards someone for something they have done. Not just thinking about it, or fooling yourself into thinking you’ve forgiven someone. When you truly make the choice to forgive someone, in your heart and soul, the effect is almost instantaneous; you feel a lightness and a calm that wasn’t there before. It’s a wonderful feeling. And when you begin, you find that you can keep going and forgive others. At least, that’s what I’ve found.
  • Conversely, I will seek forgiveness for the wrongs I have done, from both the people I have wronged and from Allah. Admitting you were wrong and asking someone else for forgiveness may be even harder than forgiving another. You are placing yourself in an incredibly vulnerable position, and you may not know if the other person is open to forgiveness. But if they don’t accept your apology, that’s their fault, not yours. You’ve made the effort and, if it’s truly from your heart, you will feel better.

One thing I have learned about resolutions is that you should keep them realistic. Making a long list now only ends up being a long list of incomplete tasks later. Resolutions shouldn’t be easy, in my opinion. They’re meant to be something difficult, something that you are striving to do, a change you are wanting to make. And change isn’t easy. Change can be scary because of the unknown. We don’t know what we’ll be like once we’ve changed. We don’t know how others will react to our changed selves. And we don’t know if we’ll be able to keep changing ourselves for the better, or if we’ll revert back to our old selves. But, despite all that, we still need to try. I’m a firm believer that people can and should always try to become better, do better, and, most particularly, treat others better.

What do you resolve to do this Ramadan? And after Ramadan? If you’re not sure where to start, I found this website helpful. Please let me know what you resolve to do in the comments below.

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

What does Ramadan mean to you?

Another year, another Ramadan. It is, by far, my favorite month of the year.

The first day (or first few days) of fasting can be the most difficult. Your body is adjusting to a new sleeping and eating schedule, and your mind is adjusting to a more intense prayer schedule (at least mine is, as I add additional prayers throughout the day). Sunday was my first day of fasting for Ramadan this year, and I found myself having to adjust to something else: relaxing.

I typically work three jobs, but for Ramadan I cut back on my hours for two of them. So it came to be that yesterday I found myself in the middle of the day without any work. Oh, there were house chores to be done and there was certainly work I could do, but I took the day off. And so I spent the day in prayer and relaxation between prayers. It was a very lovely sort of vacation.

Of course, today, Monday, I’m back at work (as are most) and back to the daily grind (I can already feel Ramadan Brain taking over). But taking a break from all the craziness and hectic pace of daily life really helped me to focus on the month ahead, what it means, and what I hope to accomplish for the month (besides fasting). And I’d like to know what Ramadan means to you.

 

Ramadan Week 1 – What does Ramadan mean to you?

For the first week of Ramadan, let’s consider what Ramadan means to us, in a spiritual sense. I recently met someone who said they only fasted because they were supposed to, not because they felt any great spiritual or other need to do so. They didn’t feel that connection to God. Is this you? Do you feel like this?

I certainly did. Many years ago, Ramadan felt like an obligation, not as something more as it does to me now. When you’re a teenager and busy with school and life and hormones, you don’t always think about the meanings behind your actions (remember those days?). So, this year, while your body and life is adjusting to a new schedule this week, take some time to think about the following:

  • Why do you fast? To fulfill an obligation? Or for something deeper?
  • What do you feel mentally when you pray? Do you feel as though you’re just going through the motions? Or do you feel something more?
  • Do you feel upset that you have to fast? Or do you feel excited or hopeful (along with exhausted) at the idea of fasting?

Personally, I feel that, in today’s modern world, we too often just do things without understanding our motivations for doing so. We’re so busy, busy, busy, and we just want to mark things off our to-do list. In regards to Ramadan, if you’re fasting only because you’re expected to, then think about those expectations. Whose expectations are they? Are they your family’s? Or, deep down, are they really yours? Are you spending long hours at the taraweeh prayers in the evenings because others think you should? Or are you doing it for yourself?

Do you wish you were consistent with prayers and felt that deeper connection that others feel with God? In addition to thinking about what Ramadan means to you, think about what being Muslim means to you. Being Muslim means, at least to me, being kind, hard-working, devoted, charitable, and more. Despite what other adjectives ignorant people may use to define Muslims, remember that only you can define yourself and what you think and feel.

Take the time in this first week for some introspection. If the questions above are too much to contemplate just yet, then start thinking about actions in your daily life. Think about situations at work. For example, think about a time you had the opportunity to do something good or help someone and didn’t do anything – why? Or, conversely, think about a time you had an opportunity to do something bad. How did you handle it? Why did you make the decision you did, one way or the other?

Every day, we are faced with a million little decisions. Make a left at the light and get stuck in traffic, or make a right and possibly avoid it. Do I stop and get a coffee in the morning? Or do I drink it at home and spend a few more moments with my family? Do I start studying for my exam now or later? Do I stop at the store today or another day? Think about why you make even the little decisions each day.

For example, consider the traffic situation I just mentioned. Going one way you avoid traffic, going another you get stuck in it. But, are you avoiding traffic because you’re excited to get to work? Or do you need to get to work because you have a horrible boss and you don’t want them to be upset with you? Conversely, if you made a left and got stuck in traffic, why? Did you want some time to yourself (and why can’t you make this time anywhere else in your day)? Or do you only know one way to get to work and are scared to learn a new way? There are other scenarios here, too, of course, but those are a start.

You can see how any reasoning behind a decision can be illuminating about you, your fears, and your personality. And, just to be clear, I’m not saying you should stop before every decision and analyze it. You’d never get anything done if you did. In my experience, just understanding some of your motivations can help you in the future to live a fuller, more confident life. It certainly helped me.

After a month of reflection and introspection, I have had some revelations about myself. I learned the root cause of my decision-making, or the reason why I make any kind of decision. And, knowing that, I have not only felt more confident but I have become more confident in my decisions and less unsure of myself on the whole. And I have also felt a deeper spiritual connection because I’ve realized that I pray because I believe, not because others expect me to.

I love to hear from my followers; please let me know how your first week goes. I’ll be posting new thoughts and things to focus upon for each week (inshAllah) so please visit again if you have a chance. You can also follow my blog (see the “Follow” button in the top left of the page) to stay up-to-date and receive notices of new posts.

May all of us have a blessed Ramadan. Ameen.

Leave a comment »

Things To Do In The 14 Days Leading to Ramadan

Or Things To Freak Out About To Do Calmly In The 14 Days Leading to Ramadan …

Day 14.  You realize there is only about 2 weeks left until Ramadan starts and you start freaking out. Take a deep breath, and make a list of everything (personal and professional) that you won’t have time for during Ramadan, so you can finish it now. After you’ve finished your list, resist the urge to freak out again – you can do it! Who knew you had so many things on your to-do list?

Day 13.  Take another deep breath and divide the list into 3 parts: Must Do, Maybe Someone else can do, and Wait to do. Start delegating tasks to someone else, if you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Day 12.  Go to the grocery store and buy way more food than you do during a normal month. How is it that during a month of fasting you spend more money on food than any other trip to the grocery store the rest of the year, even if you eat moderately during Ramadan? You go to more than one more grocery store: the “normal” one, and the one with traditional foods (where you can buy flour for pakoras, roti, halal meat, and other such things). Then, you go to another traditional store, because everyone is buying up for Ramadan at the first store, and you waited too long. Oh, dear.

Day 11.  You start to pre-cook as many foods as you can and freeze them for use in Ramadan. You start one day after work. It’s midnight when you realize you’ve only finished two dishes. Why do traditional foods take so long to cook? And you realize you’re hungry, so you eat a bowl (or two) of food.

Day 10.  You wake up still feeling full from your late night snacking. And you realize you won’t be able to really work out for the next month, so you go to the gym. Of course, you haven’t worked out for a few weeks, but starting now is better than not starting at all, right?

Afterwards, you feel energized. You feel upbeat. You go home and cook/freeze three more dishes. You clean the house, and cross numerous items off your To-Do List. You are amazing and on top of everything.

Day 9.  Your muscles ache from your workout yesterday. Clearly, the best thing to do is just not work out until after Ramadan. You curse out loud at one particularly achy leg. And realize you should stop cursing, too. You can’t curse during Ramadan. And then you wonder: What if I think the curse, but don’t say it? Will that work? And you realize, “Of course it won’t!” You must begin to prepare yourself mentally for the long road ahead. And not just for a month, but for a lifetime of good behavior and good deeds. That’s what it’s all about. Being good and kind, inside and out. Deep breath. You can do this. You WILL do this.

Day 8.  You decide to cut down on your tea intake to prepare yourself for the lack of caffeine ahead, so you cut down from 6 cups a day to two. Not that I drink 6 cups a day. It’s just an example. I mean SIX cups, well, that’s a lot. And it’s not like you’re drinking six cups of strong tea a day. It’s pretty weak tea (I’m guessing). Which is why you drink it slowly all day long. So, really, when you think about it, it’s only, like, two or three proper cups a day. So really you’re just going from three cups down to two. And, really, when you think about it, you’re only drinking it to stay warm in your freezing office building, which is obviously necessary to maintain your health. So maybe you’ll at least keep drinking, er, holding a cup of hot tea, er, hot water to keep yourself warm. Ahem.

Day 7.  The iftars (dinners) are piling in now. Weekends you break fast at the mosque, but now you are scheduled to break fast at other people’s houses at least ten other days of the month, and there will be likely more before everything’s said and done. Now you start to wonder: Should I host an iftar? Can I do it? Do I have time? You decide you can’t make it work with your family’s schedule, so you tell everyone to come on Eid day for brunch. Success! No one has invited anyone for Eid day brunch after holiday prayers.

Later that evening, you realize you have decided to invite many people to your house, after a month of pure exhaustion during which you have very little time (or energy) to clean. Oh, dear. Time for more freaking out. And lists. You need lists.

Day 6.  Set your DVR for all those television shows you are likely to miss, or will not have time to watch. Shows that will keep the little ones distracted when you’re praying or reading Qur’an. Shows that will distract the big ones from complaining during the month. And shows that you can watch to help you get through. Don’t forgot about YOUR needs while you are helping others; your needs are important, too.

Day 5.  You start to prepare people at work by describing the month of Ramadan, and how it follows it the lunar calendar, not the Gregorian calendar. You try to explain why you don’t know when the month actually starts, and receive only confused looks in return. Except for that one person at work who’s cool and wants to know how they can help you. This is also a great time to shift work or tasks to another person on your team/in your department, if possible, or ask for an adjusted work schedule. Remember – DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP.

Day 4.  Set aside money to give as charity, or plan how to save for it. You are not in the best place financially, but you remember that there is always, ALWAYS, someone more needy than you who needs it. And you remember a day, not so long ago, that you were struggling as well.

Day 3.  You need to prepare yourself mentally, so you start waking up even earlier for Fajr (the first prayer of the day) and also start reading the Quran a little more each day.

Day 2.  Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and on the 13-15th days of the Islamic month are considered especially important, so you complete some voluntary fasts to prepare yourself. You are exhausted by the end of it, but you feel better about what’s to come and the physical and mental strain ahead.

Day 1.  The night before Ramadan. Or what you THOUGHT was the night before Ramadan. Apparently, your mosque states it is Ramadan tomorrow, but Saudi Arabia (and the mosque across town) states it’s the day after next. And your family in Pakistan started fasting already!!! WHAT DO YOU DO? (Besides pull your hair out at the inability of even one city to start Ramadan together). You follow your mosque (since you’ll be spending most/all Ramadan with them anyway) and start the month tomorrow. ‘Twas the Night Before Ramadan, after all.

Day 0.  The month has begun. May Allah bless us all this Ramadan. Ameen.

Leave a comment »

Ye of Little Faith

So last night I had coffee with a prospective suitor. He was attractive, has a good job (as a doctor in the dental field), comes from a good family (supposedly). For some people (even in my own family) they would say that’s enough.

But he thinks praying is useless.

And that’s not enough for me.

When we first sat down to coffee, conversation flowed easily. We talked easily about a range of different topics. He cursed a lot, but I thought ‘There are worse traits to have.’ He mentioned how he teased someone because they were vegan and someone else for something else (I’ll not bore you with the specifics, but I think he was just plain cruel. From his telling of these stories, he was happy that he had hurt someone else’s feelings.) So, I thought, ‘Huh. Maybe I was wrong about him.’ He mentioned how he liked to go to bars and drink and pick-up girls in college, and I thought, ‘Maybe I was really wrong about him.’

But then we got on the topic of faith and spirituality. And that’s where it really fell apart.

He basically said that, as a scientist, there’s no proof of God and there’s no proof that prayer works. And, if we think it does work, it’s basically in our minds.

What. The. Frak.

This is not the first time I’ve run across someone who doesn’t believe in prayer (and, just to clarify, he never outright said that he didn’t believe in God, just that there’s no proof of Him). But he was very condescending and disparaging when he spoke to me. And he recognized it. He flat out said, “I know I’m being disparaging, but I’m a scientist, I can’t help it.”

And that’s a bullshit cop-out if I ever heard one.

I know PLENTY of scientists. Doctors, even, who still believe in the power of prayer, and have faith. And they don’t talk to me like I’m an asshole. Or treat me like one.

I asked him if he prayed. He said he did. I asked him if he felt anything when he prayed. He said that he didn’t; he only prayed because he was obligated to, not because he thought it would do anything.

I honestly welcome open discourse. I do. If you have another opinion, let’s discuss it like adults and agree to disagree, if it comes to that. But when you disparage someone, you are very clearly telling them that you don’t respect them, you don’t respect their beliefs, and you think the only right opinion is yours (which he also said, by the way. He said I was wrong and he was right, and that was the last word on the subject).

And, even with the anger at being dismissed over my faith, I felt pity for him. I felt really sad that he would never know the peace of prayer.

Now, I was not always so, consistent shall we say, with prayers and such. When I was younger, I sometimes felt that I didn’t know why I was praying and I felt it was an obligation that I needed to fulfil.

But then I went through some serious shit in my life. There was a lot going on that no one knew about, that they still don’t know about, and, in some cases, wouldn’t care to know about now either. And bad experiences change you. Adversity changes you. And going through those experiences made me a more faithful person when, sometimes, they do just the opposite. I learned how to pray. And I don’t just mean the physical movements. I mean the words. I learned how to pray for the things I wanted in my heart and soul, things I barely mentioned even to myself. Things I thought I may never have or even deserve to have. And I’m still learning.

I still don’t have an ‘easy’ life as some might call it. I still struggle with things (besides the obvious search for a decent man to marry), but I still pray. I still believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it work in my own life.

What some people, like Dr. Disparaging here, don’t realize is, that when you pray, sometimes you don’t get what you prayed for; sometimes you get something better. You just need to wait for it.

I do feel sorry for him. If he’s not open to even the opinions of others, then he’s not open to the belief in prayer, or God, or maybe even love. He missing something amazing in his life, and he doesn’t even realize it. Maybe he’s afraid of it; why else would you verbally attack someone for what they believe if you weren’t afraid of it or ignorant of it yourself?

And, in the end, I deserve better than someone who would be cruel to me, or to my children. I deserve better. Some might say that I’m getting too old to be picky, but I just can’t be with someone who would belittle me every time I prayed. And I don’t want my kids growing up in that environment, either.

And now I know that I was wrong about him. So, (sigh) another one bites the dust.

But I’ll persevere. I BELIEVE that there is someone out there for me. Someone who will treat me with respect and kindness, even when we don’t get along. Who will be a good father for my children, and a good son-in-law to my parents.

I believe. And I have faith that my wedding day will come. Please pray for me.

Thank you!

1 Comment »

Ramadan Revelations

This intense month of prayer and reflection does, at least for me, leads me towards some startling revelations about myself.

Several years ago, I realized the impetus behind all of my actions; I figured out why I do the things I do. And that’s a biggie. When you think about it, we make hundreds of decisions a day. Most of them are pretty small, but every once in a while, there’s a major life-changing one.

I have briefly touched on this in the past, but I was engaged before. No, I’m not going to go into details, except to say that I find dishonesty abhorrent. But the whole thing had felt wrong from the beginning, even from when we first met. And then we announced the engagement, and we took photos, and I looked happy in the photos. I was happy on the day I got engaged, but I realized that was more because I loved my engagement dress and the ring was quite nice (and, apparently, that I was more shallow than I realized).

Once I realized the “why” behind my actions, looking back, I also knew why I got engaged. And it wasn’t for me. Realizing why you take the actions you do makes a huge difference in your life. Every new decision, from small to large, holds a new meaning and a new potential outcome.

Another revelation I’ve had is about my decision-making process. You need to know more than the “why” of your decisions. You need to know “how” you have come to those decisions in the first place. This concept can get a bit confusing, but I realized that even though I knew why I was making decisions, I would still make a wrong one from time-to-time. I almost missed out on a great opportunity because of it. I would go back and forth, weigh pros and cons, and still be indecisive or be leaning towards the wrong decision.

Another revelation I’ve had is that I tended to disconnect the decisions I was making with the prayers I was saying. I would pray for one thing, and then not realize that Allah had listened to those prayers and was providing me with an opportunity. I would debate the decision endlessly. As an example here, someone could pray for an ease to their financial burdens and, when a job opportunity presented itself, not realize that Allah provided the job opportunity as a means to ease their financial burden. They may instead debate if the job was the right one for their career, or if the transition was the right one to make at that time.

There’s a quote from the movie Evan Almighty that I just love and that I think is absolutely true:

“Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

By spending the month of Ramadan in prayer and reflection, you start to realize the opportunities you may have missed and the opportunities that are before you right now. Once you realize the “whys” and “hows” of your decision-making, you are no longer stuck making the same mistakes and the same bad decisions over and over again; you now have the power to stop yourself and make the right decision.

So I encourage all my steadfast readers, and any that may stumble upon this website, to search within themselves in these final days of prayer and ibadat to discover their own “whys” and “hows”. May Allah hear all our duas and answer them positively, Ameen.

Thanks for reading!

-M

4 Comments »

Tempering Emotions in Ramadan

Ramadan is not only a time for abstaining, but also a time for prayer, reflection, and restraint. Typically, for me anyway, it also a time to:

Keep Calm and Carry On

Yes, all those pesky little annoyances that peeve you to no end on a daily basis must, for one month at least, peeve you no more. One example would be those irritating drivers (as a driver on the DC Beltway, this is especially hard for me) who drive like maniacs around you and force you drive defensively. The worst, though, can be the actions of family, friends, and loved ones.

Ramadan for me has also become a time to not only temper my emotions towards others, but also to temper my emotions and reactions to the way others treat me.

Consider last night. I went to a big iftar (an iftar is the meal eaten to break fast in the evening during Ramadan). This was a big get-together (maybe 75-100 people) at a restaurant. And it was a very lovely evening, once the crowds arrived and I didn’t have to spend as much time speaking with certain family members.

“What happened?” you readers may ask. Well, basically, I was taken to task for not dressing up enough, not wearing enough makeup, wearing jewelry I had worn before, and for not wearing my contacts.

A lot of folks complain about the commercialization of Christmas, but few discuss the commercialization of Ramadan (at least I haven’t seen it much). And I don’t just mean the greeting cards and commemorative items, but the insane dressing up that occurs at times. Ramadan is about sacrifice, not the amount of makeup you’re wearing. Nor does it have anything to do with how expensive your dress is. You should strive to dress nice, with new clothes on the holiday after Ramadan, if you can swing it.

And for this iftar, I was dressed up – it was a gorgeous dress of purple with gold embroidery all over it. Certainly not as dressy as others, but it was dressy all the same. And I was wearing makeup, though apparently not as dramatic as some would like. I personally try to cut out any extraneous drama in my life as it serves no purpose. In short, I was criticized and, it being Ramadan, I had to hold my tongue, take a deep breath, and Keep Calm and Carry On.

I know one reason I was criticized was because I’m currently unmarried (though, as you faithful readers know, it’s not from lack of trying). I’d forgotten my contacts at home (and honestly, I can’t drive with them and this iftar was 2 hours away from where I live and I had to drive back afterwards, too), so the combination of “not enough” makeup, glasses, and a “not quite fancy enough” dress made it seem like I had given up. But all of the people there have seen me all done up at weddings and the like and, as they have never recommended a potential suitor to me, are not likely to in the future. And some of them are spreading not-nice and very untrue rumours about me, which will ensure they never recommend a potential suitor to me.

AND IT’S RAMADAN!

At the first Ramadan, do you think the women were worrying about their jewelry or clothes? No, they were likely reading Quran and praying for an ease to their burdens as I have been doing.

Is Ramadan the time to judge others? NO, it’s not. It’s a time for reflection, and to consider your actions of the past year because you will be judged by those on your own Judgment Day, and if you don’t fear that then you should.

People will always be judgmental. Sadly, it’s not something that you can change in others; they can only change it in themselves. But what you can control is your reaction to them.

I’ve developed a thick skin over the years, but I still wear my heart on my sleeve. It can be hard. It IS hard. You’re hungry and thirsty and working crazy hours and exhausted from a lack of sleep. And on top of this, someone’s being mean to you. You just want to snap and say something biting back. You want to hurt them as much as they’ve just hurt you.

It took me several years to prevent these hurtful statements from affecting me emotionally. I had to realize that some people are never happy with what they have, no matter how much they are blessed. They can only feel happiness when they bring other people down. They feel powerful and alive; it’s really like a form of substance abuse and they just can’t stop. But that is their problem, not yours.

I am secure in who I am as a person, much more so than I was several years ago, and I know that’s one reason why these words don’t affect me as much as they used to. I say certain prayers, which also helped a lot to keep their evil thoughts from touching me.

But it is still Ramadan, a time for family togetherness. And they are still family, period. So, during and after Ramadan, I will strive to Keep Calm and Carry On.

Thanks for reading!

-M

1 Comment »

‘Twas the Night Before Ramadan

(Please note: This is a parody of a classic Christmas poem called ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. I hope you enjoy it!)

‘Twas the night before Ramadan and all through the home,

The parents ran after the constantly ringing phone.

Everyone calling to confirm the Ramadan news

So that nary a fasting day they would lose.

 

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

Too young to fast and face aches of their heads.

The prayer times were hung in the kitchen with care,

Because to miss a prayer – why they wouldn’t dare!

 

Back in the kitchen there was such a clatter,

As Mom cooked and fried and kneaded atta* for later.

With only a few hours to sleep, everyone hurried their tasks,

For during a summer Ramadan, the night goes quickly past.

 

A new moon was visible to the naked eye,

Shadowed darkly in the night sky.

Our thoughts move quickly toward the month ahead,

And the path of reflection upon which we’ll soon be lead.

 

The father was gone to the masjid* and not in their sight,

As the Taraweeh* prayer began this night.

The older kids were playing a game,

When their Ami* called them by name.

 

“Come here bayti* and bayta*, it’s now time for bed;

“And no moaning or groaning should come from your heads!

“Ramadan will shortly be here,

“And you need to sleep now before morning draws too near.”

 

So up to the bedrooms, the children they flew,

To ready for bed and breakfast soon, too!

Too soon a light touch fell on the kids’ faces,

As their Ami woke them gently with kisses.

 

The kids got up and stretched as their Ami rushed off quick,

To stop the parathas* from burning, though the griddle was nonstick.

A summer fast was harder than most,

And their Ami knew that their hunger would not be satisfied with mere toast.

 

So there was also dahi* and unda* and daal*,

With tea and juice, so their blood sugar would not fall.

Dressed in pajamas, they stumbled down the stairs,

The kids looked like quite the pair.

 

Ami’s eyes – how they twinkled! Her demeanor so merry,

As she served the family parathas and poured them juice made of berries.

The kids mouths grew into a smile,

For fresh parathas made the waking early worthwhile.

 

The kids ate quickly, along with their Abu, too,

And Ami ate last, after feeding the rest of the brood.

The kids brushed teeth and drank extra water,

For they knew the day would only get hotter and hotter.

 

The parents drank coffee and tea, and saved water for last,

Filling their glasses a little too fast.

They all said a quick prayer to officially begin fasting that day,

And then prayed Fajr* and other prayers they did say.

 

An hour of quiet soon passed and the family rose once more,

They dressed and they showered, and did a few chores.

The parents to work, and the children to school,

To join in the evening and break fast , their willpower with them all day, through and through.

 

No eating or drinking, only abstaining these days,

To teach us restraint and purpose, and to correct the error of our ways.

The month has begun, let us be guided by the light,

Ramadan Mubarak to all, and to all a good night.

 

*Abu = Father.

*Ami = Mother.

*Atta = flour or dough.

*Bayta = Son.

*Bayti = Daughter.

*Daal = A dish made from lentils, pronounced “thaal”.

*Dahi = Yogurt, pronounced “thaay”.

*Fajr = Morning prayer in Islam; the first of five prayers of each day.

*Masjid = Mosque.

*Paratha = A type of homemade fried bread.

*Taraweeh prayer = A special prayer said after the last prayer of the day at the mosque during Ramadan, and which begins the night before the first day of the fasting.

*Unda = Egg.

 

 

 

 

3 Comments »

Death

Well, readers, I apologize for the delay between posts. The year did not start out well for me. I had a death in the family – a very, very unexpected death. I won’t go into details here but suffice it to say, I was quite sad for a while. I still am at times, but in the midst of despair a good thing also happened – I started a new (and so far) lovely job with lovely people and lovely benefits.  And having even lovelier friends and family for support makes all the difference.

There’s a lot I could write about concerning death and Islam – mourning periods, practices, and prayers, for example. But I’ll save that for another day. So I’ll only end with this:

“O ye who believe! seek help with patient Perseverance and Prayer: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: “They are dead.” Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not. Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere – Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return” – They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from their Lord, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” – Surah Al Baqarah (2: 153-157).

 

“And We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die (young), and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much). And (further), thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth in pairs.” – Surah Al Hajj (22:5)

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: