Lana's Ramadan Diary

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

By Lana

Lana is a Romanian woman who converted to Islam. She's sharing her experience of her first Ramadan with us in a Ramadan Diary.

Sept. 24-30, 2006: Blessed in Ramadan

Two days have passed in Ramadan already! It's amazing that there are times when you have nothing to do and times when you are extremely busy.

I thought I would go through a peaceful Ramadan with nothing happening. I was planning to spend my day at home, waiting for my husband to come from work and break the fast with him. But Allah has a tough test for me. He blessed me with a job! My first real job, al-hamdu lillah!

The tough test I've been talking about is working from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and to fast at the same time. It's not impossible, but it's the first time I fast and my very first real job. Would I be able to hold my fast? It's a good question for a person who recently reverted to Islam. Yet, I know deep inside my heart I can make it. I can do my job properly and fast for Allah's sake.

My schedule will change compared to the first two days of Ramadan. In the first day I could stay awake with my husband until 4 a.m. and pray Fajr. I waited for him to come back from work at 1:30 a.m. We then took a ride around to see if anything was opened, something to feel it's the first day of Ramadan.

Some shops were open, some were not; we, however, returned home and watched TV. In my first day I experienced a headache that was gone by the evening. In my second day I had to pass by my working place to hand in some forms needed for the hiring process. I came back home and I went out with my husband in the afternoon for a short stroll. We had to come back as someone came to fix our bathroom. We ended up breaking the fast at home with a glass of water as the workers were still there.

One hour after the break of the fast, we finally arrived at an open buffet and enjoyed nice traditional Arabic dishes, some that you can eat or drink only in Ramadan. I have to confess I'm not much of a fan of Arabic dishes. I prefer Italian style, pasta, pizza, but I would advise everyone to try new dishes, and Ramadan is a good time to experience other food.

On Ramadan 2 I didn't have any headache or any major problems. I'm amazed how well I cope with everything, al-hamdu lillah. And believe me, I'm not a lazy person lying on the sofa, hoping the time will pass by. No, I do go out in the hot sun and I have activities.

Big test arrives tomorrow. I have to wake up at 7 to be at work at 8 a.m. My day at work and Day 3 of Ramadan, tomorrow.

Good sahur, everyone!

Oct. 1-7, 2006: New Interesting Feelings

At my first day at work, I woke up at 7:00, got dressed and ready to go to work. Funny how the situation has changed! Until today, my husband used to kiss me on the cheeks while I was sleeping before he went to work. Now he sleeps and I kiss him on the cheeks.

Tomorrow will also be an interesting experience, as he has the day off and he will be waiting for me to come from work. Lucky him that it's Ramadan; otherwise as a joke I would ask him to cook before I come back from work!

In these two days that passed, I discovered the secret that makes me not think or feel I'm fasting: to be busy. The more active I am, the faster the time passes by — faster than I think.

Since I'm busy with paperwork at work, I barely realize how fast the time passes by. Speaking of it, I remember I fasted one day while I was at home and I was counting the minutes until iftar. I was going up and down the flat, watching TV, and feeling the time was moving extremely slowly.

Now at the office, fasting is not a problem anymore. I don't even have time for anything else but work. Again, al-hamdu lillah, I was given the strengh to go through my first Ramadan smoothly.

Oct. 8-14, 2006: Sleepy Yet Alert

The month of Ramadan is becoming more and more intense with lots of things happening. My work is the same every day: finish at 2:30 p.m., come home and make myself busy until the time of breaking the fast. Yet last week, I experienced a very strange thing.

I came from work and I went to sleep on and off on the sofa in my living room. I didn't feel sleepy, I didn't feel tired, I simply couldn't keep my eyes open. My husband keeps on telling me that sofa "attracts" you to sleep on it, but I always took his words as a joke. But maybe it's true! It's like a "magic" sofa that makes you comfy and even sleep like a log in front of TV. Yet my idea was not to fall asleep and miss the breaking of the fast. So I kept fighting to keep myself awake.

Once the time for iftar, I would feel awake. I wonder if I have to blame the time I've spent almost every night in various Ramadan tents, or is it my "magic" sofa?

Whatever the reason was, it was a tiring week! I don't blame my fasting from sunrise to sunset; I got used to it. Working hours make me not feel the fast, too. It's either the lovely time I spend out for sahur or my "magic" sofa.

Either way, and no matter what, I have to find time to remember Allah Almighty and to thank Him. I don't speak Arabic to be able to recite du`aa' or original part of the Quran. But I'm sure Allah Almighty hears my prayers in whatever language I use. I pray in different situations, for different things, my own way, the way I feel. But most of all, I have to thank Allah for my existence.

Oct. 15-21, 2006: Ramadan's Final Few Days

My dear Diary, I keep neglecting you and I'm sorry. I'm wondering when I will thoroughly keep you up-to-date with my Ramadan experiences. In fact, I still have to share with you my last Ramadan week and my extra four days of fasting at the beginning of Shawwal.

The last week of Ramadan passed slowly, I remember I tried to avoid my "magic" sofa. I would do anything to keep my eyes open. My husband kept telling me to take naps in the afternoon after work, but rarely did I do this. I simply think it's a waste of time to spend the afternoon sleeping.

Besides, for my whole life, my body has been used to sleeping at a certain time. I don't care about the hours but I do prefer to sleep at night. What can I say, sleeping in the afternoon was not a habit of mine while growing up in Europe.

So, although in my third week of Ramadan my "magic" sofa attracted me, I would just doze off for a few minutes, wake up, doze off, wake up for another couple of minutes and so on.

In my fourth and final week of Ramadan I tried to avoid sinking in my "magic" sofa. Things at work troubled me and kept me awake after work, and so my "magic" sofa didn't have the same effect like in week three of Ramadan. I passed the holy month of Ramadan keeping my fasting, al-hamdu lillah.

In order to make up some missed days due to personal reasons and also to follow the Sunnah that says it is recommended to fast six days of Shawwal, I decided to fast for the four days that remained of my holiday and to make up the last two days on a weekend. Al-hamdu lillah I finished those four days and I have two days left in my balance which I'm keen to fast.

What do I think of my whole Ramadan experience?

It's amazing to know that billions of people fast at the same time with you, follow the same rules, only the way each person feels in Ramadan is different. Al-hamdu lillah I didn't vomit or suffer from anything .

I have a Christian friend who was telling me that one day she tried to fast as a sign of solidarity with Muslims but she vomited all afternoon. She couldn't resist anymore and so she had a coffee.

I am amazed at my strength, perhaps my faith in God helped me a lot. I recently found Him and I didn't want to let Him down.

Fasting is prescribed to be for Allah, while the rest of the five pillars are to be put in the balance of each individual on the Day of Judgement. I won't be completely happy until I fast the last two days remaining but otherwise, my Ramadan experience was good, taking into account it was my first time to fast more than a day.

I do hope next Ramadan I shall have more time to read the Holy Quran. In sha' Allah.

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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