Hi world. Did you miss me? I sure missed you!
I have been busy hiding writing away. I have accomplished much. I have been working on a book in progress. Details later when it is available to the public. As my workload slows down, I have been thinking, hmm...how should I make my entrance in this blog.
Then it occurred to me about two days ago. Ramadan was around the corner. I thought then I could jump right in to blog about my days of fasting because mainstream media in the U.S. doesn't usually cover this kind of thing at least not yet. You, my dear readers, get to see what an average Muslim's life consist of during Ramadan. I need to point out that I do not represent all Muslims around the world--just myself and you could say my immediate family as well to a certain extent. But that is about it.
This year, I actually found out when Ramadan would actually begin two days ago. (By the way, Ramadan is the name of a Islamic month. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan). I was impressed because normally, we used to didn't find out about Ramadan till the night before it began. Another thing I was impressed about was that most of the Muslims began fasting today. There is one or two countries who didn't.
Let me rewind a bit. My DH and DS had "Suhoor" at my parents house last night because we hung out late (yes DS was sleeping at his normal bedtime hour). Suhoor is a like having a midnight snack. Suhoor takes place in the middle of the night before sun dawn. Once sun dawn arrives, then the eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual relations must stop until sunset. Also actions must be avoided like no gossiping about people, no lying or cheating, etc.
Once sunset arrives, then families and friends get together to enjoy the meal. Many people gasp at the thought not being able to drink water at least, but it is not as difficult as it seems. The body actually needs time to rest from food and drinks. The body adapts.
That is why fasting is not only a physical cleansing, but it is also a spiritual cleansing. You become attuned to your body and aware of your environment in greater detail.
So what did we do today until sunset? Let's see. My ds just began kindergarten and turned five a few days ago, so he is beginning to understand pieces of the world. He doesn't fast yet, nor is he required to fast now. This year will be the first year where I actually had to involve him in festivities. I explained to him about Ramadan. We watched the prayers in Medina and Mecca, Saudi Arabia, live on the Internet. DS was amazed how packed the mosques were. After that I had made 30 colorful stars, out of construction paper, with numbers in Arabic and English on them and hung them on DS's door. We counted the stars, and then took one down to show how many days left of Ramadan. He knows that when the days of Ramadan is done, he gets to have (what every kid loves) presents! There is a catch though. He only gets one or two presents from us the parents because we do not encourage materialism.
Our second activity with our son was making a "Sadaqah" jar. Sadaqah is the term for charity. During the month of Ramadan, not only do we try to read more Quran and perform extra prayers, we also try to do extra charity work. So, I explained to my son that we are going to decorate a Sadaqah jar with construction paper, stickers and markers. He designed it, I taped it because glue wouldn't work. He then colored it and put stickers on it. I explained to him that each day he will be collecting change and then donating it to some social service organization at the end of Ramadan. He told my DH and I that he loves to help people. DH gave him some change to put in. After DS put the change in his jar. He carefully closed it and set it on his dresser.
So, today, I have decided that I am going to complete all 114 Surahs (Chapters) of the Quran during the month of Ramadan. What I need to do is read so many Surahs per day, and I don't mean speed read. I want to actually read and reflect on the meanings of each Surah.
Before, I changed to the next topic, I want to say that my DH, bless his heart, and my mom cooked the first Iftar, the "Breaking" meal. We ate our meal about 7:30 p.m. tonight. It is tradition to break our fast with some dates or a small glass of water before you start eating. It is healthier on your body. The irony is you think you are going to scarf down once it is time to eat, but you don't. In fact, you eat less than you think. So what did we have for dinner? We had cookout and rice and vegetables with lamb.
Now that DS is sleeping, I will be doing my own reflections and prayers before I go to bed. This is a good way to end the night.
So, I do plan to blog about my days of Ramadan. I will try to make it interesting, hmm...maybe I will even teach you some Arabic. If there are words you would like to know, leave a comment, and I will be glad to my best.
By the way, I now co-host a radio blog at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/faten-and-sarah with a colleague of mine, Sarah Militz-Frielink. The show is about connecting women and forming bonds and strengths amongst each other. At the show, we talk about all sorts of issues and we interview women of different careers and backgrounds and as well as males who have an interest in women issues. It is awesome. It is awesome because of two things, my co-host is a great person to work with, we bounce ideas and comments off of each other and second I get to do something I believe in which is strengthening women and supporters of women!
If there is something you would like to know about Ramadan, let me know!
Monday, September 1, 2008
Hi world. Did you miss me? I sure missed you!