Ramadan Day 12 – Wake up for Suhoor!

Today, I didn’t wake up for suhoor (this is the time before the predawn pray Fajr, where Muslims wake up to eat and drink before the fast begins-currently around 3am) and I paid for it.
It ended up being a 23 hour fast, which is not advisable. My husband does this every day and just has water, I’m not sure how he does it but I wouldn’t recommend it. So tonight I will make sure this does not happen again. Every Ramadan, there is always at least one night where I don’t manage to wake up.
Anyhow, as a treat, I had home made chicken burgers, chips and coleslaw for Iftar – KFC style!

I managed to squeeze in some Quran yesterday thankfully. Currently I’m reading Surah An-Nahl (The Bee) and one of the things I wanted to share was verses 20-21 where Allah (swt) says: ‘And those they invoke other than Allah create nothing, and they [themselves] are created. They are, [in fact], dead, not alive, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected.’ This refers not only to idol worship but also to people who pray to graves of pious people (like saints). In the sub-continent it is a common practice in some parts to visit graves and pray to the deceased person or ask them to pray for them as they are considered closer to Allah (swt). It’s pretty clear in the Quran that we shouldn’t do this, so why this is so prevalent in many cultures amazes me! Allah (swt) has asked us to pray to him directly so why go via dead people?

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Ramadan Day 8

I watched this really great YouTube video today about an Australian chap’s journey towards becoming a Muslim.
It’s really quite amusing and amazing at the same time. Watch for yourself and see.
Today has been an exhausting day. My son decided to have the mother of all nose bleeds just 2 minutes before Iftar time, and it lasted about 10 minutes. I forgot I was supposed to open my fast and then remembered after he’d stopped bleeding, then drank some lukewarm water from my bedside table. All day I was looking forward to my ice cold Rooh Afza, talk about anti-climax!

One of the things I love about Ramadan is the urgency that Muslims have to pray their five daily prayers. The five prayers are supposed to read all year round not just in Ramadan but we make a bigger deal of it in Ramadan! Let’s hope this urgency to pray, and to pray on time remains with us all year round. Ameen.

Ramadan Day 7

The man from Islam Channel isn’t on tonight! Never mind!
I like how Islam Channel focus on a different charity each night which is a fair way to do things given there are so many people in need around the world. Which brings me to today’s thought of the day which is about charity. Charity or ‘Zakaat’ is mentioned in the Quran numerous times, and this month is especially important as every good deed you do, the reward is multiplied. Many Muslims therefore try and donate their annual zakaat in Ramadan, hence the various charity appeals happening on all the Muslim channels. Allah says ‘Those who spend (in the cause of Allah) privately or publicly, by night and day, have their reward with their Lord. And (on the Day of Resurrection) they shall neither fear nor grieve.’ 2:274. Such is the importance of charity, and of course it is an important pillar of Islam.
On a different note I just watched the Fajr Adhaan (call to prayer) on Channel 4 right now. It was nice actually, quite different visually to what you normally see. Instead of a montage of scenes of Mecca and Medina, it was a man doing the Adhaan in the streets of London with lots of normal people going about their daily business, but slowed down in an artistic kind of way.

This heatwave doesn’t seem to be going away, I’ve got a feeling it’ll stay until Eid 🙂

Ramadan Day 5

Just a quick one as Iftar time is approaching very soon.
Today I have been yawning all day! Hunger and thirst is actually not affecting me at all, but just the fatigue. The real test begins tomorrow when it’s back to the daily grind and the kids are back to school and all the chores related to that recommence. 
I finished reading the tafseer of Surah An-Nur, and I was fascinated by the intricacy of some of the verses. In this Surah, God tells us how we are entitled to privacy within our own homes from the rest of our families including our spouse. Three times are prescribed to where children and other family members should knock before entering. These are before the Fajr (pre-dawn prayer), at midday (when people traditionally nap in the day) and at night time before going to sleep, as these times are when we are likely to be at our most immodest. From what I understand this also applies to post-pubescent children who are also entitled to this privacy. Subhanallah!

Ramadan Day 4 – The hottest day of the year!

Finally I felt well enough to fast – hooray!
Well needless to say the first fast is never easy – not for me anyway. If I had a choice between a burger and cold glass of water, I’d choose the water. It’s definitely advisable to stay out of the heat, the hotter it is the thirstier you feel. As it is a Saturday and I have thankfully nowhere to go, I’m in the comfort of my home so it’s really not that bad. Somebody put something on facebook that made me think..is our hunger and thirst affected by our positive/negative attitude towards the fast? I think your general happiness and mood will affect how fasting can impact you. I know this much, pious people generally don’t complain at all regardless of what their stomach may be going through. I was feeling a little miserable earlier but I have perked up straight away as my son informed me he has his first wobbly tooth. A very small thing but for a mother this is rather exciting and cheered me up no end.
For those of you who are not Muslim I just want to give you a small insight into what happens during Ramadan. Because of the Islamic calendar being a lunar calendar, the months change every year and that’s why we are fasting in the midst of summer which is really a new experience for most people my age as the it takes about 30 something years for the lunar calendar to get back to the same time again. Subsequently the fast begins about 3am and ends at 9.15pm. More about this next time!
Today for Iftar (evening meal after breaking the fast with dates and water) I am making lamb chops with mashed potato, corn on the cob and salad. For dessert a perfect summers pudding Eton Mess. Cannot wait!

The Beauty of Ramadan

Here we are, almost at the end of Ramadan. A holy and spiritual month for Muslims all over the world. The one time in the year where you know Muslims everywhere, regardless of their race, culture or creed will be fasting.
Fasting is not just about abstaining from food or drink between sunrise and sunset, but is about adopting a flawless character enriched with kindness, compassion and charity for fellow human beings, all because of our devotion to God.
There are many things Muslims are required to do, but fasting is one of the obligations which is personal, between God and oneself. Only God will know if you really have abstained from eating, drinking, sex, backbiting, swearing and lying. Yes fasting is not just about food and drink. It encompasses behaviour, language and attitude. And certainly it’s not easy, because when you are hungry we can quickly become agitated and lose our temper. So yes Ramadan is truly a test for all Muslims. How much can we do for God, and how much reward can we receive from our actions?
The unity that is shared amongst most Muslims during Ramadan is something that we could do with all year round. Conflict between different types of Muslims is so trivial in Ramadan, as everybody should know, Muslims – Sunni and Shia are all striving for the same thing, to please God and to gain his mercy.

If only it was Ramadan every day.