My Inner Sanctum (my_innersanctum) wrote in 3faithdialogue,
My Inner Sanctum

Ramadan Kareem

I can't believe there are no posts for the whole month of july!  :D

I thought I'd talk a bit about Ramadan.  I'm sure there are a lot of misconceptions, so I thought I'd share how I understand Ramadan as an American Muslim.  I will preface this by saying that going for a long period of time during the day without eating isn't a problem for me.  My eating habits have always been weird anyway.  Not in an eating disorder sort of way but in that I don't really hold to the 3 meals a day theory.  I found my best weight control occurred when I was munching all day but on healthy things like veggies, fruit, dried fruit, nuts, etc. 

But, Ramadan isn't really about refraining from eating, even though it is.  Allah has even provided for those with physical ailments that prevent fasting, those women who are pregnant, and people who are traveling during the month of ramadan.  In some cases they make up the days the days of fasting in others they can exercise an alternative means of observing the fasts.  The one thing that fasting does for me is remind me of the poor.  It gives me an idea of what those who are starving go through daily (not just one month a year) because they do not have the means to eat regularly.  I find that the other things that Ramadan is about pose a greater challenge, e.g., reining in my temper, watching my tongue, making time daily for quran reading, and consistency in practice as well as refraining from most forms of entertainment (halal) I habitually engage in.  I know some of these efforts depend on my level of spirituality, my belief and "fear" of Allah, and my general sense of well being at the time.  Each of those previous states of mind should show increased improvement over time and I should be concerned when there's a marked decline.

I know there are a large number of traditions associated with Ramadan, some the result of culture and others actually put into practice by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  I know as an american (and a non-traditional one at that) I practice differently at Ramadan, in that having no family it's not important for me to break my fast in the company of others every evening.  Since I work, I don't have the luxury of  "taking it easy" during the day so I don't feel the occassional pang of hunger, or tiredness, or irritability.  I am judicious as to what I eat.  I don't glut on sweets, desserts and starchy foods, but rather start and end my day with wise food selections.  I make every effort to spend more time at the mosque as well.  I find the tranquil atmosphere to be soothing.  For me, the change in routine is the biggest challenge.  I'm a creature of habit and more so as I grow older.  I have to change my rise time, my eating habits, my personal pursuits (e.g., tv watching, movies, reading selections, etc.) and other things at Ramadan and I fight constantly with complaining and resentment for having to do so.

Here are some references I find handy for the details of the practice of Ramadan and other related topics.  I concur with most of the information:

Islamic Calendar
10 Things to Know About Ramadan
10 Suggestions for A Successful Ramadan (Youtube)

I try to encourage those individuals from western cultures who are sincerly curious about Islam to learn to separate the politics and culture of those regions in the world that are predominantly Muslim from the practice of Islam.  This will encourage a true understanding of the religion it self, those true believers that practice devoutly and with understanding, and even if you do not convert to Islam, it becomes possible to see how a Muslims are not inherantly enemies of those who are not Muslim.


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Ramadan Mubarak! My first Ramadan going well, even thought I'm nursing mother. And days are long here! we have fajr at 4:30am and maghrib at 8:30 pm
a nursing mother and you're fasting? i thought nursing mothers were excused from fasting. interesting. and enjoy your first Ramadan.
That's right: nursing mothers are excused, if they feel that fasting may harm the baby. I give myself chanse and try. And it went well, without affecting milk supply and harming the baby. Alhamdullilah
i've never really had a need to know so didn't pay much attention to the particulars, but this is good to know. thank you.
Ramadan Mubarak! I am not fasting because I am pregnant but it's still been wonderful. My husband and I are converts so we are kinda making up our own traditions as we go along.

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:) Thanks!
me too. my own traditions. a blessing on the way. alhamedullilah! may your bundle bring you much joy when it arrives.

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i'm glad it was useful. ramadan begins on a different day each year. usually abt 16 days earlier than the previous year. that's why i included the information about the islamic year.
yeh! Next year gonna be even earlier. Longer day OMG
it hasn't been as bad as one would think. i was fortunate to have experienced my first ramadan in the winter months when i converted abt 8 yrs ago.
oops. and yes, ramadan mubarak is correct.
Ramadan kareem! Well Ramadan is over now so I hope you had a good Eid. what forms of entertainment that are normally halal are banned in Ramadan?
i didn't used the word "banned." but, rather i refrain. this is a personal choice. don't turn the tv on for other than the weather, i don't listen to pop music i have stored on my ipod but rather recitations of quran. i use more of my idle time in reflection, reciting, and reading.

some would argue that these are daily injunctions that are a part of practice. i choose to not engage in debate when it comes to dictating to other folks what they must and must not do. i leave that to a person's personal growth as they acquire more knowledge and understanding of islam. keep in mind that when one becomes muslim one "testifies" to the requirement of regular prayer, zakat (charity), pilgrimage (hajj), that there is only one god and mohammed (pbuh) is a prophet of god, and fasting (ramadan). then one builds on this foundation during their muslim journey by seeking knowledge and understanding of islam and what god requires of us.