Ramadan is half way over already, and it has been pretty good so far. I set myself what I thought were pretty modest goals, and for the most part I have kept up with them. I haven't sat down at the TV all month, although I did check out some news videos online including the hurricane Ike devastation today. MashaAllah! May Allah help the people effected.
I finished the 16th juz in the English translation of the meaning of the Qur'an this evening, so I'm doing ok there. Today's reading finished Surah al Kahf, which is my absolute favorite surah. The story of Musa (Moses) (alahi salaam) and Khidr (alahi salaam) makes life make sense to me. We think that things we don't like are tragedies, but sometimes they are blessings. Sometimes disasters like hurricanes are opportunities for so much good. They can bring communities together, give us opportunities to be charitable, remind us of how impermanent material things are and how valuable our families are. They should remind us to be grateful for what we have and warn us that it may all be taken away. And they hopefully teach us to practice sabr (patience). When the last hurricane was heading for New Orleans, I read some right wing Christian Zionist's blog who claimed that the hurricane was God's punishment because Condoleezza Rice had been here trying to force Israel to divide Jerusalem to make peace with the Palestinians. Not only does that man's arrogance astound me, thinking that he can speak for God's intentions, but I am always amazed that people think that one event has only one reason and one meaning. If Allah sends a hurricane to blow down my whole neighborhood, perhaps he is punishing some people, testing others' gratitude, removing some evil from others and forcing others to make changes in their lives that they would have been too afraid to try otherwise. We look at all the complexity of the natural ecological systems that brought a hurricane into being and say "God did that," but then refuse to see the complexity of WHY He may have done that. Perhaps I am not explaining my meaning well, because it is late. Ya Rabbi, please help me to benefit from the tests You send me!
My third goal was to memorize al Zilzal and al 'Adiyat, inshaAllah. I have pretty much got al 'Adiyat down, though I still make mistakes. But I haven't even learned to read Zilzal properly yet. It takes me a long time to convince my tongue to pronounce the Arabic correctly.
The last goal was to avoid all the over eating and sweets that are so often part of Ramadan. The sweets have been pretty easy to avoid, since my husband wants qatayyif almost every day, and I don't like it much. I ate one so far. But today I made banana bread, and ate 2 big chunks of it. That's much more tempting to me. But don't worry, the temptation is gone, since my kids gobbled it up as fast as they could. Other than that, I think I have done well.
I missed suhoor twice so far, both times I am sure that I set my alarm but when I woke up it was off and I don't remember turning it off. The first time I woke in time to pray fajr, but the last time I missed it. So I ought to head to bed now so that that doesn't happen again, inshaAllah. I hope everyone else is doing well this Ramadan and meeting their goals.