It's Ramadan already and I survived the first day. I hope averyone who is reading this and who celebrates/observes the fast of Ramadan will have a successful and rewarding month. The only thing I really did to prepare for Ramadan this year was to cut out most of my caffeine consumption for the last 2 weeks. It's usually caffeine withdrawal that gives me headaches the first few days of Ramadan, so I tamed that addiction ahead of time so that my first day of fasting was blissfully headache free, alhamdulillah. I was really worried about not being able to drink water during the day since the weather has been so hot lately, but as usual it wasn't as hard as I had anticipated, alhamdulillah. I always fear Ramadan, worried that I will struggle, but Allah makes it easier for me when the time comes, alhamdulillah again. It always amazes me that I have such a hard time sticking to a diet all year long, but fasting comes so easy. The thing I struggle with the most is just the lack of sleep. I hate to sleep during the day, but the night just isn't long enough!
The first year I fasted Ramadan was in 1983, technically before I had embraced Islam. I was sort of trying things out that year. I hadn't read the Qur'an yet or leared to pray, but there was something special about Ramadan and the fasting that drew me to Islam. That year Ramadan started toward the end of May, and I think it included the longest day of the year in June too. MashaAllah I feel I was so much younger and stronger then and nothing seemed hard. Now I am worried about the upcoming Ramadans and the long hot days. I miss air conditioning!
Last year I was so prepared for Ramadan. I was already reading Qur'an daily and memorizing. In the last few months I have been doing a lot of backsliding, so my goals this year are to get back to making as many prayers and reading and memorizing like I was last year. So these are my goals for the month:
1. No television! The TV stations in the Arab world seem to think that Ramadan is the month for TV. They put on all sorts of dramatic series and special shows. But I don't want to waste my time on TV. I got this banner from the blog Deja Vu, via Global Voices Online.2. Read the whole translation of the meaning of the Qur'an in English again. I use Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik's translation of the meaning. It was a gift from a dear friend 2 years ago (May Allah reward you dear sister!) and I love it. Last night I finished the first juz, and this aya reminded me of a post I had read on the blog UN-TRUTH called "You know it's Ramadan when...." about the restrictions placed on Palestinians from the West Bank attending Friday prayers in al Aqsa Mosque.
Who is more unjust than the one who prevents people from the Masãjid (place of worship) of Allah , forbids the mention of His name therein, and strives to ruin them ? It is not proper for such people to enter in them except with His fear. For them there is disgrace in this world and grievous punishment in the Hereafter. 2:114
- Married men between the ages 45-50 and married women between the ages of 30-45 who have received permission from the Civil Administration.
- Men over the age of 50 and women over the age of 45 will be allowed to enter freely.
3. Memorize al Zilzal and al 'Adiyat. That will give me almost 6 whole pages memorized, plus a few other ayat. Memorizing has never been my stong suit.
4. My final goal is to avoid the endless deserts and rich foods everyone serves during Ramadan. Just because I fasted all day does not mean that I ought to over indulge at night.