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Ramadan: A New Muslim Woman's Reflections

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

By Amirah Bouraba

For Muslims, it's that time of the year when you have to check out what to buy, so you and your family can eat during the hours of darkness.

We look at the calendar counting down the days and waiting for the sign of the new moon so we can go and pray our first Taraweeh, and seek out that perfect outfit for the little ones to wear on the day of celebration that is Eid.

Yes it's Ramadan.

And what a wonderful, fruitful, and blessed month it is.

During the years from my first Ramadan and until now (my sixth), my expectations and plans pretty much have changed.

I remember the first time I was planning on using my time and wondering how I was going to survive all day without eating as I have never experienced anything like it in my life.

Before converting to Islam, I thought it was madness. Actually until I read up on it I thought we did not eat at all the whole month, and when I finally realized we ate at night, to be honest my time was mainly spent on getting dinner ready.

However, as the years went on and my knowledge increased, less and less of my time was actually being spent on the preparation of the feast that would be eaten at the end of the day because honestly people do not eat much during breaking fast meal so as a result a lot of food would normally be left untouched.

I found myself wanting more from Ramadan than just thinking about being hungry. I wanted to get the spiritual benefits and the feeling of connection with my Lord. So I devised a plan how to get the most out of the month that is filled with so much blessings as Allah states in the Quran:

{O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.} (2:183)

Prophet Muhammad also said:

"Allah the Majestic and Exalted said: "Every deed of man will receive ten to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord." (Muslim, 1151)

The Prophet also said,

"Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking the reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking the reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who spends the night of Qadr (the night of power) in prayer with faith and seeking the reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim, 229)

My plan is basically my day to day routine set out so that I won't deviate from it. I have put it clear and simple in a timetable to share it with you.

Time of Fajr: Pray Sunnah and fajr prayer and read at least 2 pages of Quran.

6am: Daughter wakes up, get her ready for the day, and prepare her breakfast.

7am: Go to work (this only applies Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays until 12.30).

8-12.30: At work (while at work I try to make lots of dhikr and read Quran during my break) but if not at work, I usually use this time to educate my daughter on Ramadan and what it is all about.

1pm: Return home. Prepare food for iftar.

2pm: Pray Dhuhr.

3pm: Watch Islamic cartoons with my daughter and movies on the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

5pm: Welcome home my husband from work and perform Asr Prayer.

5-Iftar: Family time, reading Quran and talking in general about Islam.

Iftar: Pray and eat.

After Iftar: Husband goes to mosque and I put my daughter to bed.

Then it's my time which I spend reading Quran and prayer then prepare the sahur ( the pre-dawn meal).

This timetable helps me get thorough the month. It might not be a perfect one, but it helps me not to waste this special time which is full of goodness and reward.

There are some points that I always put in mind throughout the whole month of Ramadan that the devils are chained up as the following hadith tells us:

"When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains."(Al-Bukhari, 2377)

Many people interpret that this hadith means if one commits sins during the month of Ramadan, it is because of one's own weakness; as the devils have been chained up. This really motivates me to make sure I purify my heart and have good thoughts and intentions.

I actually found this for some reason reassuring, knowing this gave me a sense of security and confidence.

Another strong motive that encourages me during this month is knowing that the great Quran was revealed to us in this blessed time to guide us and help us in our lives.

Allah says in the Quran what means,

{The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)} (2:185)

The actual night that the Quran was revealed on to the Prophet Muhammad is called the night of Qadr. To stand in prayer on this one night is said to be better than a thousand months of worship. So during the last ten nights of Ramadan we should try and stay up as much as we can reading Quran and making duaa.

I found this so hard in the beginning to stay up especially as I get up early for fajr prayer. However when I finally did get up and prayed Tahajjud (late night prayers), I felt fantastic the rest of the day I was not tired from lack of sleep. On the contrary, I felt energized and uplifted, both spiritually and mentally.

Ramadan is often called "the month of the Quran". Because of this, Muslims should try to attempt to recite as much of the Quran as they can during the month.

Most mosques try and recite one thirtieth of the Quran each night during the Tarawih prayer. You can experience the delight in prayer with such a large congregation feeling you are part of the Ummah, past and present, doing what has been asked of you by our Lord and the practice of the Prophet and his Companions. Add to that the joy and satisfaction of knowing at the end you completed the whole Quran in prayer (if you can manage finishing it).

Near the end of the month of Ramadan, we wait for the new moon to signal the start of Eid. I must admit I love to go and do my Eid shopping in the market in the hustle and bustle, whether I am at home or away, and finding a special something for my daughter.

You also get a feeling of accomplishment knowing you have fasted the whole month.

On the morning of Eid, you go to pray Eid prayers and make sure you paid your Eid Zakah before the prayer.

During Eid, you get a feeling of joy and a sense of togetherness with your neighbors and friends which you might not get a chance to feel during the other months of the year.

 

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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