The Month Of Ramadan

PSA: The pieces over the next 30 days will primarily be reflections on Islam. At a time when this deen which I love so much is so vilified, I hope that you will find a takeaway nugget a day, inshAllah.

That’s my Seedo (grandfather) standing for prayer. I still don’t understand what it means that he has left this dunya, but I pray one day I will see him again if I am to be so blessed.

Tomorrow is the first day of Ramadan (it is the actual name of the month, in Arabic. Like November, May, July, etc.) and I already miss my hydration, comfortable sleep, and decaffeinated coffee.

Of the five pillars of Islam, fasting is the one for which God gave us no reason. In this space, Muslims continue to come up with our own answers – cell regeneration! Feel what the impoverished and hungry feel! New habits! Less television! etc. etc. etc.

I don’t believe anything in this beautiful deen has a stand-alone for-one-reason-only kind of jam. Rather, every rule and condition compliments and completes others; this, a reflection of the nucleus of Islam – Oneness. For me, then, the reason for fasting is multi-faceted, starting at benefits of which we are unaware (a nod to humbling the human ego believing it can know it all), to the health benefits from the internal cell regeneration to the external management of unhealthy habits (such as the quitting of smoking), and finally, landing firmly in the spiritual benefit of mastering control of our nafs since we are either slave to, or master over it. Because it ain’t easy. And it ain’t fun. Especially during the long summer hours, where breaking fast will range between 8.15 and 8.45 p.m.

I would be a lying liar who lies if I didn’t admit that I am dreading the physical aspect of Ramadan. Oh, coffee, you will be missed in the mornings ❤️

That written. I am in fact quite excited about the other aspect of Ramadan, the one of which most non-Muslims are unaware – the self-reflection, and self-accountability. This month is about setting intentions, forgiving, and seeking forgiveness. It is about stopping, taking stock, figuring out which areas need work, shedding behaviours which no longer support growth, and facing forward with newly intended habits.

Distilled, Ramadan is about elevating, and softening; for those who really commit to this aspect, it is an emotional grind.

We all know that food fills emotional emptiness, acting as a substitute for so many things. In the absence of this filler, your hand is forced to look inwards. For me, it has always been inevitable. In fact, one Ramadan, some years ago, I was walking through Major’s Hill Park, on the phone with Janey, distraught for no discernible reason. She was the one who, after years of friendship, gently pointed out that during the first week of Ramadan, I am always an emotional mess. In the absence of cake, I am staring into the holes awaiting cake. Of course I am a mess; cake is GREAT.

Which is a perfect segue into HI FRIENDS BE PREPARED FOR SOME SADNESS IN THE ABSENCE OF CARBS. If I call you and tell you I feel like I am a useless human and I don’t know what the point of all of the things really is, just make me promise to eat bread and possibly several cookies at iftar. Thank you.

Today, I am grateful for:
1. The warmer weather. It’s nice to feel actual heat inside of The Cloud Cave.
2. Seeing real footage of how neurons make new connections to other neurons. As a visual woman, being aware of this has since helped me to visualize breaking some thoughts which offer a kick in the neck, rather than a warm gentle hug, or pour steel into my back.
3. Knowledge acquisition. As mentioned repeatedly since the beginning of the sabbatical, one of my intentions is to increase my knowledge of Islam. The books, and (17) CD collection you see in today’s image are where my focus will be the coming thirty days, inshAllah. I am grateful for the time and carbs-lack that will allow me to dive in so deeply.

Ottawa | May 5, 2019

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