Saturday, July 1, 2017

Ramadan Day 29 2017

Ramadan Kareem,

This post is coming to you late, thanks to running out of internet.  I did, however, write it off line on the twenty-nineth day of Ramadan in hopes of posting it eventually.  Eventually is now.



Crackers with cream cheese and peace slices.  It's funny how pared down the suhour meals became.

Would this be the last suhour?

We thought it might be, but we'd have no way of knowing until night.  It is one of the stranger parts of Islam for any Westerner used to calendars and planners.  Yes, something MIGHT be happening tomorrow that will alter the next day completely.  Wait until the moon is sighted before knowing your fate.

It's seems slightly annoying on one hand, but on the other, it's glorious.  It's wonderful to admit that you have no control over tomorrow and that you simply have to relax and let it happen.  Anticipation is something we don't enjoy enough in this fast-paced world.  The last day of Eid...or maybe the penultimate day of us that feeling of the awesome unknown.



Prayed together as we have every day.  Normally, during the rest of the year, even though my husband and I always pray fajr, my son, at age eleven, doesn't.  To be together every day like this has been very unifying.

I have to think back to the times at the beginnings of my time in Islam when I didn't pray fajr.  Astragferallah.  I knew it was a duty and I really struggled with it.  The first hurdle to making it happen is the intention and alhumdulillah our family's intention is to do our five prayers on time.

El Kid is new to doing all the five prayers.  I've told him to focus on doing all five from now on---no matter what.  That is how I handled it for myself.  Do the prayers.  Do them all five at the end of the day before bed if you have to, but DO THEM.  Spreading them out, obviously, is easier.  Waking up past fajr?  Still pray two rakhas before starting anything else in your day.  Start structuring life around prayers with them as the focus and everything else falls into place subhanallah.

 After praying fajr, we went back to bed.

I awoke to the doorbell.  This can mean either one of two things:  either someone is at the door at an ungodly hour, or the electricity has gone off and come back on.  It was the latter.  Both require me to jump out of bed (for some reason, men never hear the doorbell or crying babies when they're sleeping).  I have to unplug the refrigerator and make sure nothing is being charged---otherwise, we could lose that electrical item.

Up I went to unplug the fridge and was surprised to see that the plug was out already.  I guess I had been wrong about men---or at least this particular man.  Survival isn't dependent on me this time around.  I went back to bed with the ceiling fan keeping us cool.  Thank God for electricity!

Off the electricity went again and off the fan went.


Time to get up.  The off/on kept continuing.  It felt like the power outages had been holding back all month, but finally they had to be true to their nature.  It's summer, people are using their air conditioners (not us) and their fans (us), staying up late with their lights, TVs and computers on (guilty).

Every time the power went back on, I had to rush around and get done what I wanted.  Our apartment's water pump shuts off with every power cut, so that means NO WATER.   I washed the dishes quickly, hand washed my grimy school bag and lunch bag, and I boiled some drinking water.

Swear to God, water is where it's at!  That's why I always keep six liters of boiled drinking water at all times, as well as six liters stored in the kitchen for washing up, and two large pails of water in the bathroom.  It might sound crazy, but during extreme times, we've nearly used it all up.  Water is a blessing.  It's good to make du'as for the 2.4 billion of our brothers and sisters in the world lack clean water and sanitation. 

I had the goal of cleaning up my stupid school mess before my husband woke up.  I have NO IDEA how he can put up with me making our entry area into a dumping ground at the end of every school year.  He does.  He has patience with me about this.  For weeks, he had let the books, papers, posters, and costumes sit in wait.  There was more mess than usual this time because I wasn't just ending the year, I was ending FIVE YEARS.  On the twenty-nineth of Ramadan, I threw away so much that I should have discarded long ago.  I then dusted and swept.  It looked so much better.

Ramadan is a time of bettering---not just ourselves, but our homes.  I don't think I could have let go of so much except at Ramadan.  That break from dunya makes me get distance from worldly possessions and see them for what they really are:  entrapments.  They weigh us down and drown us.  I thought of allllllllllllllll the times I've spent managing my stuff---sorting, storing, piling up, re-stacking, on and on.  That was a lot of time I could have spent with my son; time that I'll never get back again.  I made things more important than people.

I've been stupidly hoarding AGAIN, even though I tried to convince myself that I wasn't.  Teaching allows us to feed this propensity for gathering and storing.  We fool ourselves that it's all good and useful stuff and we fill up cabinets and drawers until there's no space left inside, so we let it sit in a pile somewhere else.  It's dumb.  It isn't just teachers either, it's the scholars with their books, the crafters with their supplies, the wannabe chefs with their gadgets.  It's all of us to some degree.  I'm owning up to it openly because I see it at systemic in modern life.



The electricity was on!  Having gotten the center of my home clean, I could then get my self cleaned up and pray.  I felt like I had sloughed off my former workplace and it felt good.

My husband woke up and was pleased to see the hard work I'd done.  I got a "good job" comment and then it was now my time to lay down.



I woke up for asr, but I was still tired from the morning's work.  For most of Ramadan, I'd been careful not to get too tired out, but with the feeling that this was the last day, I had pushed myself to do more.  After praying, I lay down again to read more Quran.


I finished Surah 10 Yunus.  Alhumdulillah.  If that's that's all I read in Ramadan, then that's all I read.  It's more than I usually read during the year, and even more than I usually read in Ramadan.  Inshahallah, I will read the rest of the Quran this way (even the thirteen surahs on mp3 that I don't have) before next Ramadan.  It would be great if I could do it before the end of the summer.

I slept.  I hadn't meant to sleep.  When I awoke, I was shocked to learn that it was after 6:00 PM.  How did that happen?!  I must have been very tired.  We aren't machines and fasting is so taxing on our systems.  It isn't supposed to leave us feeling so strong the entire month; we are supposed to feel a bit broken down.

It's a reminder of our time on earth.  We start off life with more energy than we have when we leave.  If we think our life is hard now, then imagine how it's going to be at the end.  We need to get done what we can while we can.



The prayer came so quickly and it felt like such a relief since we were all thinking that it was the last day of fasting.  We wouldn't know for sure until later when the scholars would either confirm or deny.


We had three koftas left over from last night.  I've finally convinced my hub not to eat up all the meat in one night:  save a little for the next night.  It makes a good difference on both days!  He had cooked up some pasta, made a salad, and even fried up the frozen mozzarella sticks I'd bought.  God bless him!  We drank mango Tango (my quirky name for it) and it was beautifully chilled.  Nothing tastes better than a cold drink after fasting.  Subhanallah, we drink every day during the year without much thanks to Allah, but Ramadan MAKES us realize to be truly grateful.

When it was announced that Eid was the next day, we sang our songs of happiness in a mash up of mostly in tune harmonies.  We joked and played some music (a little too loudly in a bit of a payback to a very loud household and neighborhood).  Ahmed didn't have to pray taraweah any more.  He was able to stay and watch whether or not the celebrities would fall off the Lebanese cliff (they never did).



We could go to bed without feeling that our lives would go back to being difficult the next day.  We could finally relax.

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