Ramadan Visitors

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

By Linda Delgado (Widad)

Who is Mr. Ramadan? Why is he visiting 30 days and Mrs. Eid only three? Why don't they visit together? Juz… do you mean juice? Am I supposed to be drinking a glassful of juice each of the 30 days of Ramadan? Muslims eat a breakfast before the sun rises and they eat a breakfast before the sun sets? OH! You meant break fast not breakfast! Why are some of the men sleeping at the masjid during the last ten days of Ramadan just to see Mr. Laylut al-Qadr? Why can't they find him? What is the big secret? A Muslim told me about the Islamic science of COD…COD is scientific? I thought it meant Cash On Delivery! Instead I later learned he was talking about the moon!

I am a Muslim revert going on six years now and the opening paragraph is an exaggeration of the confusion many new reverts feel when facing his or her first Ramadan. I remember my first Ramadan with a sense of peace and also fondness at the humor of the wonderful, sad, and happy experience. Looking back I am amazed that I made it through without mistakes and didn't have 30 days of fasting to make up after Ramadan.

I am the only Muslim in my family and like most reverts, I don't have extended Muslim families. Unless your particular Muslim community has an awareness of the issues confronting Muslim reverts, and then most reverts are pretty much on their own when it comes to Ramadan and the Eids' celebrations.

I was a member of several sister e-groups by the time my first Ramadan began. I read avidly everything the good sisters wrote about their plans and doings for Ramadan. Being a natural planner by nature, I decided to make a ''Ramadan Plan'' and post it to the e-groups to see if I would be doing something wrong or something right.

As I remember it, my plan was very elaborate. It began with the time I would wake each day of Ramadan. Next I listed exactly what I would eat for Sahoor and what Surah I would recite in Fajr prayer. Next I listed what Juz I would read each day and even wrote the "from and to" page numbers. I also listed what I would eat to break my fast and made a calendar of Ramadan Days just in case I made a mistake I could write down the day and thus keep track of how many fasts I would need to make up!

I checked with the two Muslim sisters I knew to see if they knew of any poor families I might buy meals for ''just in case'' I got sick and couldn't fast. They didn't know of any families they could point to so I added a local Muslim Food Bank to my ''Help the Needy'' short list for not fasting due to any potential illness.

I was doing fine until I tried to understand the Tarawih prayer. Then felt a sense of relief as I knew I would not be going to the mosque much because of a lack of transportation and poor health. I placed an asterisk by this for future research. I also got hung up on understanding how to figure out Zakah. Since I didn't own any gold I decided I must figure out what I owed based on my annual salary. I didn't know I was supposed to deduct my living expenses first! I had a hard time that first year because of my lack of knowledge about this Islamic practice.

Did everything go according to PLAN? Nope... but I gave it my best shot and I just trusted in Allah to reward me for my intentions and what I did right.

But figuring out Ramadan wasn't my biggest challenge. That first Ramadan came at the same time as my Christian family's Christmas celebrations! In the months leading up to Ramadan I had slowly removed objectionable objects and pictures from my home. My home was ready for Ramadan decorations…well almost. Now was the BIG test. I had to tell my family that family traditions that we had shared for Christmas for 29 years were being set aside. No more going to midnight Mass (at the Catholic Church) and no more opening presents after the church service with the family gathered around the Christmas tree sipping hot chocolate and eating home-made Christmas cookies!

My kids and grandkids were hurt and angry. I suggested that they have the traditional Christmas Eve activities and after Mass go to my son's home which was right next door to my own home. As the ''battle'' raged over Christmas decorations versus Ramadan and Eid decorations I thought I would go crazy. I was so sad and just couldn't be angry with my family. I had changed. They had not. While they were willing to acknowledge that I had the right to choose my religion, it wasn't until my religion conflicted with their own that the first real problems occurred between my Christian family and myself about me being Muslim.

Finally I decided that my home would not have decorations for Christmas or for Ramadan and Eid. I didn't share in going to Mass with the family or the gift opening around the Christmas tree, but the next day I did cook the traditional meal of turkey and trimmings and we had a family meal together. We agreed that I would give each of them a gift at the family dinner and they could give me an Eid gift which I would save and open up on Eid.

It was not a perfect solution but it worked this first year. In subsequent years each of my children began a tradition of celebrating their Christmas in their own homes and our annual family get-together has been held during the summer months when their children are out of school.

I have grown used to spending my Ramadan and Eids alone. There are times when I think about how nice it would be for a Muslim family in the community to ask me to their home to break fast and share their meal, pray with them and perhaps listen while the Qur'an is being read. Sigh. But I have also come to appreciate the quiet time I have during Ramadan where I know I will be able to read all of the Qur'an, one Juz each night, and a wonderful sister-friend sent me a clock with the Adan in it so I hear the call to prayer five times daily and it is comforting, especially during Ramadan.

Now the rooms in the house which are specifically used by me have Ramadan and Eid pictures decorating walls… pictures and banners of Islamic graphics sent to me by sister-friends and their children from around the world. My family decorates their family room for their holidays and we are tolerant and at peace with one another.

I share email and telephone greetings with many Muslim friends around the world and also send and receive many Ramadan and Eid greeting cards through the mail….and always I feel that Allah is with me. I am never alone.

©2005 Linda D. Delgado (Widad)
Linda (Widad) Delgado is a Muslim, lives in Arizona, is married, and has three children and eight grandchildren. Mrs. Delgado is a graduate of the University of Phoenix and is a retired State Police Sergeant. She is the Director of the Islamic Writers Alliance www.islamicwritersalliance.net. She is also a publisher: Muslim Writers Publishing www.MuslimWritersPublishing.com and author: 2005 AMWA Excellence in Media, Literary Art Award for Islamic Rose Books. Click here to read her journey to Islam. You can reach her at www.widad-lld.com.

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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