Not an Instagram-able Ramadan for me this year ..

The first week of Ramadan was tough, tough, tough…  I must admit and put my hands up I didn’t prepare for it one little bit so when it came, bammm it smacked me on the face ! Suddenly sleep deprivation, long fast, dehydration, irritability and confusion attacked me at once.

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I also got very depressed. Because I looked at all the Pinterest/ Instagram Ramadan pages and accounts and read blogs and stories of how people are starting the month on a high and all there table decorations are ready and matching with creative home decorations, not to mentions kids activities and kids mosque /tent like things where its all Islamic printed cushiness and fairy lights !  Amazing food recipes and dishes are effortlessly presented,  with difficult ingredients to get in Paris. One lady poetically write how she sat cuddling her toddlers after reading a Muslim story book and they all looked up at the moon and where staring at it feeling its majestic beauty!!!

I wanted to scream ! How are they doing this?? Is this real?  Why am I not at this point? I was stressed because I couldn’t find my xmas fairy lights to use, my Ramadan decorations are a sorry state of affairs, I defiantly don’t have Ramadan table wear and home decorations and frankly I don’t have the luxury to stair at the moon at any given night or month yet along at the start of Ramadan !

I cried.  I really did. I felt I am not keeping up to standards (who’s and what I have no idea) and I am not giving my family a Ramadan experience or home. Thankfully I came to my senses.  I decided to do what I can with what I have.  I put my not shine sparkly creative decorations up. I took my last year’s activity book and questions out for the kids. I stocked up on lentils for my lentil soup. I decided the most important thing about Ramadan is not the food, not the decorations, not how my home looks but what is important is the message and practice of Ramadan. This is what the boys will remember.

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Aside from really stressful things happening in my life I have two energetic boys and a workaholic husband to look after. I knew the month is not a burden but a time to shift things and priorities things. So I dropped what I could and gave less importance to other things in order for me to have a month of spiritual development. I think I succeeded. I did little activates with my boys such as painting and drawing of things related to Ramadan, creating their own praying mat, making moons and decorations. My boys read Quran and each day I would teach them something about the month or Islam. Somedays it was just ipads and shouting ! Other days it was praying together and reciting duaa (supplication) with them.

But what I didn’t expect of Ramadan this year was the fatigue. I was extremely tired and I just napped in the daytime. I stopped going to my art classes just to get some sleep. Somdays my husband ordered takeaways and few nights we would go to the mosque to pray and break fast there.  As the days past, the fast became do-able , never easy to fast 18 hours, the weather was kind to us and I felt able to do extra spiritual work. I reduced my emphasis on cooking ‘special’ dishes and cooked little amount of a variety of things.  I neglected posting on the blog and slightly on Instagram. Trying to create more spiritual time or nap time!!

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How was Ramadan for you this year ?

How did it differ from last year ?

Any tips?

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Potentially two days left till Eid. Two days left till this blessed month comes to an end and I am both sad and happy ! This is very common at the end of the holy month. I am happy that Eid Al-Fiter is coming and I can celebrate the ending of the fasting month with my family and friends, gifting presents to my boys and buying them new Eid clothes as well as decorating the living room with our simple decorations, maybe I will bake a cake too. I also look forward to the congregational prayer at the masque where I truly feel joyful in giving thanks to my lord for his blessing among a community of many backgrounds.

However, I feel sad that my spiritual month is ending. A month in which every action of goodness you do is rewarded many folds. It’s narrated that even the sleep of a fasting person is counted as reward! I will miss the spiritual aspect of it and also the training and self-discipline that encompasses the fasting.

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The good things about Ramadan is all the self-discipline and good practice that you started and achieved doesn’t stop on Eid, no it’s a starting point to continue and develop yourself and your way of life to a better sate that is accepted by Allah and that is good for.  For instance I will not close the holy book, the Quran and say “that’s it Ramadan is over I don’t need to read it anymore, see you next year”. Far from it, the drive I got from reading and understating the verses of the holy book has encouraged me to learn more and apply good practice in my daily routine.

I hope I will continue to my spiritual practice and importantly to think about my food. How much I eat, what I eat and how much I cook and spend on food. I hope to take part of the fasting into my routine and not snack or bing eat when I get depressed!

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Eid is not a confirmed date because the only way we know when it is, is to observe the birthing of a new moon. I blog about this briefly before (Click HERE). Muslims follow a lunar calendar and Ramadan is its 9thmonth.  A Lunar calendar has 354 days and is measured by the rotation of the moon around the earth. Unlike solar calendar (January, February etc.) which has 365 days and is the measurement of the earth’s rotation around the sun.

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It is mostly predicted that Eid Al-Fiter will be on Wednesday inshallah. Traditionally it’s a three day celebration but we only get to celebrate it ‘properly’ for a day here in non Muslim countries.  Eid for me starts off by waking my boys up with kisses and whishing them a happy Eid and making a quick breakfast as they wear their new Eid clothes. We all head off to the mosque to pray a special prayer and hear the Eid sermon form the imam, we see friends and whish them well, we bring and distribute sweets to others in the mosque. It’s where my husband’s family meet and the elders give money to the children.  After the mosque we all go out to celebrate in a restaurant, park or do an activity as a family and enjoy family time.  I can’t hide the sadness and a tear each Eid as I desperately miss my parents and sisters. I would remember my last few Eid days in London and recount the happy moments with them. Face-tim -ing them is never the same but its better than a phone call!

So I say good bye to Ramadan 2019 and thank it for its blessings, yes it was hard work but I truly felt its goodness and mercy. I want to say ‘see you next year’ and I pray that next year I am able to fulfil more of my duties. I hope you all had a blessed Ramadan, even for those who did not observe it, it’s mercy is not just for Muslims it’s for mankind.

To all those who fasted and observed the month, I pray all your fasting days, work and prayer has been accepted and rewarded a thousand folds. I hope you benefited from it and you will see the rewards of your hard work soon. In these last nights as we say goodbye to the month, let us all pray for each other, deeply connect to the sublime and the most high, ask the almighty for guidance well as our desires. In these nights lets try to cleanse our hearts and promise to turn a page, start a fresh clean page and write beautiful and wise words…

Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid -is the greeting you say to Muslims), wishing you a happy day and enjoy your gits, new clothes, time with your family and your FOOD !!!

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