Ramadan Mubarek!

That time of year has come around again…

It’s Ramadan!

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I hope everyone has a blessed and accepted Ramadan this year.

And also I hope to make it through, since my all-day-every-day CELTA course takes up the entire holy month…

More to come!

For general information about Ramadan, check out an older post here.

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Vertigo? Verti-NO!

  And I’m not talking about the movie…

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As of two days ago I’ve had a nasty battle with vertigo.  If you aren’t familiar with that term- it refers to dizziness that is not associated with nausea or passing out.  I’m talking about full tilt, world spinning on it’s ear, running into walls dizziness.  It first started on Sunday afternoon when getting up from a nap.  When I woke up the following day (yesterday) for suhoor I ran into a wall… we were afraid that this vertigo was from fasting and I chose to skip fasting on Monday and make it up along with my -lady time- fasting later.  I went to the doctor today and they said I had a viral infection in my inner ear.

  I guess the good side is that nothing else feels bad?

The doctor told me not to fast for a few days so that I can fight the virus before it gets worse.  Lots of fluids and good eating were my prescription- but I am rather upset.  I very much enjoy fasting and feel very in touch with my creator when I do it.

Fortunately the only way that fasting could have caused my dizziness is that my immune system dropped (as does everyone’s) when putting excess stress on your body.  Fasting coupled with my Masters’ defense tomorrow was a stress cocktail that resulted in a viral infection…ick!

Fortunately the doctor said that after I have one full day of no dizziness I can return to my fast! YAY!

But I do want to stress that if anyone out there is feeling dizziness during their fast- they should seek medical help.  There could be a blood pressure or blood sugar problem that has reared it’s head now that you or fasting…or you could have an infection due to a lowered immune system!  Fasting is intended for our goodness and not to make us sick- so don’t be afraid to visit the doctor and take a few days off for your wellness.  Surely Allah is the most Beneficent and Merciful indeed… and you can always enjoy reading Quran or listening to tafsir (lessons) to keep your iman and taqwa boosted during this blessed month.

Ramadan Mubarek!

Ramadan Day 1: Keeping it light

For me, the first couple days of Ramadan are the hardest, so I like to keep it light and stay home- read Quran, start working on my surah memorization, and make the iftar dinner simple.  You know, make it low key, physically.

In honor of said tradition, I will share a joke that a friend of mine found on reddit- keeping it light on wordpress 😉

There were two white christian men, John and Mike, whose plane crashed into a desert. Luckily they survived unharmed. As they traveled through the hot desert looking for food and water, they gave up and sat down, thinking of what to do.

As the dust in the air settled, they suddenly could view a mosque ahead. They became very hopeful. But then John said ”Muslims are there. They might help us if we say we are Muslim.” Then Mike said ”No way, I won’t say I’m Muslim, I’m gonna be honest”.

So John and Mike went to the Mosque ahead and were greeted by an Arab Muslim, who asked what their names were.

John thought of a Muslim name and said, ‘My name is Muhammad’. And Mike said ‘My name is Mike’.

The Arab man said ‘Hello Mike.’ And told the other men to take Mike and give him food and drink.

Then he turned to John and said, ‘Salaam Muhammad. Ramadan Mubarek! (Hello Muhammad, Happy Ramadan)

RAMAZAN GELIYOR!

Ramadan is coming!

downloadAnd I am so excited!

For those of you who are not familiar with Ramadan, it is the 9th and holiest month of the Muslim calendar.  Similar to China, Islamic months are based off the lunar cycle rather than the solar cycle like our present day Gregorian calendars, which is why these months change a little every year (moving backward, so next year it will likely start early June I believe).   But this year…it starts tonight!

  Check out my Ramadan post from last year to get all the details about what one does during Ramadan and why it is special!

Many people are familiar with fasting during Ramadan…and many also ask me:

Don’t you hate Ramadan?  I mean, you have to fast

The answer is no!  I LOVE Ramadan!  My only worry when it comes to fasting is not that I will be in discomfort, but that I will not be able to overcome my physical struggle to focus on my spiritual side.  I guess you know that a faith is right for you when something that appears to others to be a chore is something you look forward to.  I hope to do some additional posts this month about religion and faith, and how it has affected me personally- including opinion pieces about the role of religion in society/ government, etc.   Last year I wanted to post every day about what I was doing during Ramadan…but that ended very very quickly haha- this time I will aim for one or two a week, inshallah!

I may post a little about other things- but I want to aim the majority of my efforts towards my spiritual side during this Holy month… if that is boring, I’m sorry!  You may get a little bored this month…. 😉

Ramadan Day 2: A missed opportunity

Today I had to go to school in order to complete some laboratory work for my research.  With much debate and inner struggle, I decided not to fast today, because I was concerned that driving, working, and whatnot may not be so safe for a first-time-faster.  My husband agreed and encouraged me to make up my fast later.  I already knew I’d be missing days 3 and 4 since I will be doing farm work in the field under the blazing summer sun.  Inshallah I will take it back up on Day 5.

Instead of relief and comfort from being able to eat and drink as I please, I feel guilt.  I feel as though I am missing out on something amazing.  There are ~1.6 billion people fasting together today as one religious nation (Ummah), and I am not part of that!

Inshallah I find the physical and mental fortitude to fast even when I’m active.

Happy Ramadan/ Ramazan Mubarek! (Day 1)

Selam aleykum and Ramazan mubarek!  Today (or, technically, yesterday night) begins Ramadan, a very special and blessed month in the religion of Islam! As I began preparing for my first month of fasting I realized that I didn’t really know much about Ramadan, besides that fasting from sun up til sun down is required.  I struck out on a quest to learn more about it, and I would be happy to share some information about it with you!

What is Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar (a lunar calendar) and is the month during which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (SAW).  The gregorian calendar that we use in the USA is set, but lunar calendars change based on the phases of the moon, which explains why the days of Ramadan fall on different days of the gregorian calendar every year (this year, fasting begins June 28 and ends July 28).

During Ramadan the gates of Hell are locked up, and the gates of Heaven are wide open.  The value of good deeds are multiplied during this month, where in obligatory good deeds are multiplied 70 times, while voluntary good deeds are worth as much as the obligatory ones.  Sincere praying, fasting, and charity during the month of Ramadan can cleanse the sins you have committed during the previous months.  Indeed, the month of Ramadan is very blessed, Subhanallah!

Why do muslims fast for Ramadan

 Fasting was perscribed by the Prophet (SAW) as an act of worship during Ramadan.  By denying yourself those carnal desires that are permissible (halal), you can surely deny yourself the desires that are not permissible (haram) during Ramadan and the rest of the year!  Fasting is as much mental as it is physical, sharpening your mind and your soul/spirituality (imaan) by focusing on your spirituality rather than your physicality.  Additionally,  by fasting we feel the pangs of hunger and thirst that those less fortunate than ourselves experience on a daily basis.  This helps us to develop empathy and give more freely to those in need.

How and when to fast during Ramadan

Fasting in Islam is more than just obstaining from food.  During Ramadan muslims are to obstain from all food and beverages (including water) from sun up (Imsak) until sun down (Iftar).  This includes simply rinsing your mouth with water, or chewing gum. You can’t just look outside and tell when to break and begin fast, you need to check the calendar provided by mosques, masjids, and other Islamic sources.  The time spent fasting varies by country/ state.  During these fasting hours, you are also forbidden from other typical haram acts, such as swearing, gossiping, and drinking alcohol, acts that are discouraged (makrooh) such as smoking,  and sexual acts with ones spouse (which is halal).

The only time rinsing your mouth during the fasting hours won’t discredit your fast is during wudu (abtest/ ablutions), the ritual cleansing practiced before prayers/ reading the Quran.  There are other activities that can break your fast, such as vomiting or excessive bleeding from the mouth, among others.

During the evening hours,  all halal acts that are obstained from during fasting are permissible 🙂 until fasting begins again the following day.

Who fasts

Every able bodied/minded muslim should fast during Ramadan.  Exceptions include: the very young/old, the sick/recovering, pregnant/breastfeeding women, women during menstruation, those traveling and people undergoing rigorous physical activities, such as soldiers in battle. However, there is a price to missing fast.  When fast is missed (by days, weeks, or the whole month), one must either make up those days of fasting later, or feed/pay to feed a person in need for every day you miss.  There are some guidelines on which of these actions are better for each situation, but I am not fully sure of them and don’t want to mislead anyone.

 Beginning fast and Suhoor

Suhoor is the morning meal that is consumed before fasting begins.  It is imperative to eat this morning meal and drink lots of water, since you will be fueling your body for an entire day on this food.  There are blessing in Suhoor, and it is sunnet (the way of the Prophet [SAW])  to eat Suhoor as late as possible, before fasting begins (Imsak).  Typical suhoor foods can be found on various websites (such as My Halal Kitchen), but breakfast foods accompanied with fresh fruits and vegetables are the norm.

Breaking fast (Iftar)

Fasting ends at the time of the evening prayer (maghrib/ aksam), which is sunset. The sunnet way of breaking fast is with the consumption of water, a date, or an olive.  It is good to start slowly with the Iftar meal, since your stomach has shrunk during the day.  Don’t forget to rehydrate!

What to do during Ramadan

There is more than just fasting to be done during the month of Ramadan!  It is good to focus on your spiritual side, and take on some other goals for the month!  Some people undertake reading the whole Quran during Ramadan (20 pages a day), or learn new Surahs to use for prayer. Besides the typical 5 daily prayers,  there are night prayers that are strongly encouraged during Ramadan.  During these holy nights, it is said that Allah (SWT)  will give anything one supplicates for.  Allah (SWT) is indeed gracious.  For additional religous lectures during Ramadan, visit the Quran weekly youtube site for Quranic Gems by Br. Nouman Ali Khan!

Other holidays (Eid) related to Ramadan

After Ramadan is Eid-Al-Fitr (Seker Bayrami/Sugar bayram), the day after Ramadan, during which is much feasting and celebrating.  However, don’t forget to do your required charity before this holiday!  Each household must feed/ pay to feed one needy person per every person in your household before this Bayram, or all of your fasting and good deeds may not be accepted by Allah (SWT)!

(Any information here that is wrong or left out is due to my human flaws, and everything right is only due to Allah SWT)

As I said before, this is my first Ramadan!  I am going on hour 10 and Allah (SWT) has made it easy for me thus far, alhamdullilah.  I am able to stay home all day today which has made it much easier than it could have been.  Inshallah it will be this easy on days I am more busy.

Inshallah your Ramadan will be productive and blessed ❤