During the month of Ramadan, I made a journal entry for each day. I usually took away a lesson for the day, or complained. Here is the first leg of Ramadan from my journal entries. Enjoy!!!
Day 1 Ramadan:
subhan Allah loved that crazy thunderstorm, took the temp down nearly 20 degrees…little thunder, power driving wind that literally moves you and the beautiful copious amounts of rain to soak you to your bones…thank you God! Later, I was out and saw all the damage from the possible jericho and praying for the family who lost their young son that was killed when a tree fell on him as he made his way home out of the sudden storm.
Day 2 of Ramadan: I walked out of the masjid to go home early (as I had to work early the next day). My husband was standing by my car with a teen boy from Burma. As I approached, I could see two beautiful children with smiles beaming at me from inside my car. They were not my children, but two Burmese refugee children. My husband told me to drop them off at their home. We drove off and they pointed at different things and tried out the English that they have learned since arriving only a few months ago. I listened to their giggles and Hindi in between their outbursts of English words to describe what they saw in the night life of the city. The smiles and joy on these kids faces although they are in a foreign land, trying to learn a new language, having survived a genocide in their homeland made me grateful and blissful.
Day 3 of Ramadan: I spent the day sitting with a hospice patient in her home. I observed how she was bedridden, pursed lips, gazing at the t.v. until she faded into sleep, awaken from her rattling breaths and go out again. It came to me that we die the way we live. Do I want to die slowly, complacent and lethargic? No, I want to savor every moment of death just as I did life. I do not want to live waiting to die, but find felicity in my days. I choose that my life is active, productive, and shared. I want to go out with a bang; so that people will say, “at least she died happy.”
Day 4 of Ramadan: Today was the conclusion of the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case… it did not fare well. Zimmerman was found not guilty. Granted, under the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, it may have been impossible by the all female jury to come back with any other verdict. However, I am afraid of the reaction. I remember what happened after the Rodney King police acquittal. Yet, after seeing tweeted photos of the protests nationwide over today’s verdict, I have some faith that for the most part, people will keep their heads about them. I saw peaceful demonstrations with whites and blacks hand in hand. I do think a lot has changed since 1992; it has been over a decade ago. Most of all, I believe Trayvon’s parents have been the most courageous and patient people. I hope that everyone who is upset over what happened today will take a cue from them on how to respond. May God give them peace of mind and reward them for their impeccable calm during this ordeal.
Day 5 Ramadan: After iftar, I was summoned to my car: this time in addition to the two young Burmese children, there were two more and their gray haired father. We all piled into the car and at the urging of the children the father sat up front with me; relief because i do not like feeling as if i am a taxi. The chatter of Hindi broken by occasional English quickly broke out. The father soon interjected with something for the older children to translate for me…”the food was good?” I replied with, “yes alhamdu Lillah.” Even in the darkness of the night, i could see his eyes shine with joy as he repeated “alhamdu Lillah” several times as if it touched his heart and successfully permeated his mind. Imagine, coming from a predominantly Muslim village to a metropolitan city where Muslims are the minority and hearing a white woman say something he not only understood, but could agree with. The chatter and occasional translations continued on our drive. I know he was happy, however, not sure if he knew how happy i was…it was the first time in a long time that i felt unified with a Muslim of another culture.
Day 6 of Ramadan:
I was waiting until late in the evening to post this because I was really struggling to figure out what I took from the day. Something kept pinching me, but I ignored it, for fear of coming off arrogant. Today, I blogged my voice on a topic that is personal, yet universal. From that blog, I was commended by people that I have a lot of respect for and was given a great compliment/dua that included the capability to be a leader. This is something that I have always avoid because I always (and still do) feel that I am not good enough to be. However, with my sister in deen’s comments, I quickly remembered my geology professor writing on my final that I was a great leader and a few other complimentary things. I was baffled, never in my life did I ever see myself as a leader, nor did I think anyone else saw that in me. I went up to him after class and asked him where he got that notion. He was a nice guy, but not a joker type… i mean he was a geologist that had spanned the globe with oil companies. He looked at me above his glasses and proceeded to point out all the things I had done that semester in his class, mostly having to do with the fact that I had made the boy with Tourette’s syndrome my lab partner. He said that no one else could have done that (the boy had one tick which would cause him to punch the air out to his side, it would always come a hair of my cheek, but i got use to it and by mid semester was no longer flinching when it happened). He said that had not been for my leadership abilities, his classroom would have become a circus that semester. So, with that said, my point this day is sometimes we do not see in ourselves what is so apparent to others. Instead of ignoring what is being said, take it to heart and think about the possibility that those things are the ones that you need to work, knead, ruminate on and how they may very well be the traits of your purpose in life.
Day 7 of Ramadan:
another fairly uneventful day, however, went to the masjid again… and again saw some lovely sisters that i adore. tonight i got to see my sweet and naive Shamina. she is from afghanistan and is always so loving and innocent… even at 25 (or 24, she was not sure). i was unable to pray and so had two of the refugee girls sitting with me and my daughter, when we were joined by shamina and her sister. before too long, shamina was laying on my shoulder, my daughter on one thigh and one of the refugees on the other thigh and the youngest refugee tucked under my arm… everyone calling me mom… i was taken back to when i was a young teenager, even then my guy friends would call me mom… i am not sure if that means i am a disciplinarian or that i am safe, hoping it is the latter. the thing i took from this night was that, although i may no longer be the young beautiful lady i once was, does not mean my self worth is nullified… no my worth has more than likely increased and only my role in this world has changed
Day 8 of Ramadan:
Went to an interfaith iftar at the Second Presbyterian Church, put on by the Pakistani American Community and the Interfaith Paths to Peace. Maash Allah, it was really great and the food was delicious. I was pleased to sit with my chickadees: Vanessa and Amanda. However, next time I think it would be better to have a mixed group of people to actually have interfaith. I did however meet a nice Christian, John, on the way in and checked out the book Merton and Sufism: The Untold Story, which I am so looking forward to reading. Even our Mayor, Greg Fischer was in attendance. All this was great.. but, the most wonderful part about the evening, was hearing Reverend Dr. Cynthia M. Campbell speak and none other than our Dr. Kiarash Jahed. My friends tend to joke on me, but I take notes when I listen to speakers. The evening was centered around compassion. The reverend spoke about the morality of meditation and how it increases our empathy for others. She also spoke about how important it is to listen to others, especially those different from ourselves, and learn from them. Dr. Kia Jahed as always touched me with his eloquent, intelligent and articulate speech about sakinah (tranquility) and how we are starving for tranquility and have become a xanax addicted nation. He went on to say that only through a relationship with our creator can we find unending tranquility. He concluded that we all have different paths to God; like a rainbow, we all have our own color but that those colors of the rainbow arches up the same way and reaches the same destination. We all are all human and we all are created by the same one. We have our differences in order that we may learn from one another, not so that we may degrade, accost or oppress each other. We need to erase the bigotry and peacefully love one another with compassion through empathy.
Day 9 of Ramadan…
As most of you know, I am very antimedicine.. I prefer holistic, natural remedies. However, I have a bad shoulder who loves to get a painful tendinitis/bursitis on occasion. Mine flared up today, and ibuprophen is my friend, it helps reduce the inflammation and take the edge off. I am wondering if I will be able to sleep tonight because when the pain takes over, I am unable to lay back… so now wonder if I will be able to fast because of the pain being too great. Then when I am done with my self pity party, I realize how blessed I am if this is my only health condition. I can breathe very well, I can think clearly, I can hear, my heart beats optimally, I can smell… I am fairly functional physically and mentally. Then I think about all those people across the world, who are diseased, ill, and even mutilated (especially those of no fault of their own), who do not have the resources to “take the edge off”, mend what is broke, and preserve their life for a bit longer. I am of the small minority that have some luxury of health care even if I am of the health care poor in my country. Alhamdu Lillah for all that Allah has given me and my family.
Day 10 of Ramadan:
Here lately I have been posting some things that have stirred some debate and from some views looks like we are divided. Yes, perhaps we have difference of opinions, however we are in the very least passionate about Islam… otherwise we would not put in our two cents. Here in lies the beauty of Islam, everyone has their own interpretation, we are allowed to question, and discussion is proactive. Allah is the best of planners and He ensured that there was not one way; if it were to be that way, then there would not be four schools of thought or madhabs. Islam would have been limited to the Arabs, however it reaches all over the globe and alhamdu Lillah the Americans have arrived… that is just a joke. But, something interesting was said to me today… the hadith says “Islam began as something strange and will return as something strange.” Islam began with converts and they led the way, and perhaps it will end with a majority of converts leading the way. We have a lot to contribute to Islam’s empowerment and contribution to the global society as we once did.
Day 11 of Ramadan:
Today, my daughter and I were at the gas station when a man called out “Ramadan Mubarak!” I turned to see who said this and if he were talking to us… as if there were any other Muslims around. Imagine my shock, when I find a Rastafarian, with a big broad smile and dreads dancing as he walked into the gas station. He was talking to us, so I replied, “Ramadan kareem.” He smiled wider and put his hand over his heart and bowed his head ceremoniously. In a few minutes, he headed to his car and said, “almost time for iftar” while rubbing his belly. This time I noted his accent, he was the real deal. I replied, “yes, you know we are counting down the hours.” He shook his whirling dreads and smiled wide again and then said, “enjoy it.” I have met Rastafarians before and they have always been kind and never are taken aback by hijab, whether it was a black khimar or a scarf. People have different paths to their creator and I find that it is what is in the heart… if they are good and kind and loving people then they will attain their destiny.
Day 12 of Ramadan:
Wow, today is tough… and i am not even halfway through the month. i think sometimes we just get overwhelmed with daily going ons of life that we cannot focus on what we are grateful for, learned or even registered somewhere in the back of our minds…. or sometimes there are things eating at us that we are not exactly ready to share or are not our place to share. i am going with all of the above for today i do know that i was jumpy today… ready to go off at the slightest provocation or even perceived instigation… the jerk in the SUV, deserved more than my rant; the sister who i misunderstood, did not… and the pansy isolated bigot that is giving someone i love very much some trouble, better pray that i keep my nose out of it
Day 13 of Ramadan:
Happier than a tick on a fat dog. Went to the masjid and the brothers finally fixed the plug for the fans… yay!!! Felt like doing a victory dance… but it is the masjid. So, I did the next best thing… bragged to a friend about it who had doubts of it getting done and then went on the mosque fb page and thanked the brothers for taking care of it. I have been told I am a lot of things lately… mostly unfavorable things such as negative and nitpicker… but that just means I am doing the right thing. I am voicing my concerns in the community and that bugs some people because they like to follow the status quo. It is just like when your kids say, “I hate you” because you did not give in to their temper tantrum and still did not let them do, what you know darn well, is not good for them. Well, it is deplorable for our community to ignore the needs, opinions and input of women. It is also not good, to try to force everyone by insult, embarrassment, or coercion to follow your way, your view, your path. So, despite others best attempt to silence me… I am going to continue. I do have supporters in my objections. I also feel so many keep diverting attention to what is going on in the world… yes let us help where we can, but by all means, let us clean house before go trying to put our noses in other people’s business… we are only as strong as our weakest link. How can we actually be effective aid to others when we cannot help ourselves? We have so much arrogance, politics and pervasive sexist attitudes in our community, that needs to be addressed head on. I love my chickadees and always open to meet and welcome anyone else to our community. But, our community needs to take lessons from the Prophet, sallahu alayhi wa salam, on empathy, compassion, and love for our brothers and sisters. We have a lot of work, individually and collectively, to do on the inside, instead of just worrying about outward appearances. just my humble opinion
Day 14 of Ramadan:
It has been a long day with little sleep due to …. just the same ole, same ole… it is like the sand analogy… when you pick up sand in your hand, if you leave your hand open, the sand remains, but if you clench your fist, it pours rapidly out of the crevices between the fingers… i am the sand. i know change is frightening, but the fact is most women grow and most men stagnate. the only choice is to nurture that growth, because if you try to dig it out, like razing a crop… you destroy the very thing that you once proclaimed you love… and end up with a barren field; lifeless. but i am not a plant, i can struggle against the pressure to make me decay… it is not my fault that i was created to grow soulfully and spiritually, but it is your fault for squeezing to hard…
Day 15 of Ramadan:
I bailed on the mosque. I tried to call hubby to come get the kids, but he does not answer the phone. So, I took the kids to the mosque, sat down and waited for one of my sons to tell him to call me… when he did, told him to take the kids home and I left. I am sick, long overdue for some dental care that was promised but never happened, now have an infection with pain and fever. Beginning to wonder if this does not have something to do with my heart palpitations I was having. Anyway, what lesson do I take from all this… health is so freaking unbelievable important!!! I look forward to employment that provides some dental care to help me, but until then (and even after then), I need to do more to get fit. alhamdu Lillah, I did stop soda just before Ramadan began and am not even craving it anymore. About 85-90% of my food comes from scratch. I think I need to incorporate some more raw veggies and fruits and be more active.
Day 16 of Ramadan:
I attended the Open Spaces Iftar on the River last night with my oldest son. I had a great time and it was a treat to meet new people. I got to meet Wendy’s son Remi; good kid. It was a pleasure to watch the kids of all hues play together in boisterous laughter. I was tickled at the fact that Wendy was asked to do her screeching Phoenix whistle and sonorous voice to get the attention of everyone so Tarik could address the crowd. I enjoyed watching the reactions of other people at the Riverfront and at the adjacent Tumbleweed restaurant to my brothers and sisters praying maghrib. I was happy to see it was curiosity and smiles rather than something negative. I enjoyed my conversation with Zani about the different types of Muslims and yet how they are all Muslim. Among the crowd, we had some women in salwar khameez, some in jeans and khamees, some in abaya, some in dresses, some in jeans and t-shirts, some without hijab, some with tightly-pinned-under-the-chin scarves, some with loose fabric over the head and ends thrown over the shoulders; brothers in an array of clothing and beards, or none. Every shade of skin known across the world was represented, a variety of ethnicities and as many languages made up this group. The four madhabs were represented too. And this is what makes Islam so beautiful, there is not one way to be… we are not the Stepford Wives or clones. There are many ways to interpret the Quran, the basics are set… but how we live Islam has a variety of flavors to choose from. So, despite our many differences, we are all Muslim, alhamdu Lillah.