It’s here! The month that every Muslim has been waiting for (or at least the majority have been waiting for). I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to Ramadan this year. I didn’t feel ready. My husband told me I hadn’t prepared for it thus I didn’t “feel” like it. He gave me the example of a guest who is coming to visit and said What would you do (prepare) if a VIP guest was arriving?
Wouldn’t you prepare for them when they come to visit. Wouldn’t you anticipate them, clean your house, do your shopping, mentally prepare that they are actually coming to stay with you for a month. I loved this example it made sense. I think it is because before we got married I had a friend who came and stayed with me during Ramadan from Canada. I had done everything for my guest and even made space in my wardrobe for her. And we had the best Ramadan time.
It struck me. I really hadn’t prepared for Ramadan this year, as it came round so fast it caught me off guard. So today I got myself ready. I cleaned the house and did all the shopping and most importantly I had made space in my busy ‘mental wardrobe’ that this guest is coming wether I am ready or not. I waited in anticipation and finally when the time arrived I was soo happy to welcome Ramadan. I feel a pure joy and excitement to spend this time on reflecting, rejuvenating and reading more about Islam.
Many know Ramadan as the month of fasting for Muslims; the crazy people who don’t eat nor drink from sunrise to sunset. My own mother still wonders how I manage to find the internal resilience to not eat or drink for 18 hrs. Yes that’s how long it is in the UK. We are still lucky since Norway fasts for 22hrs. There is always something to be grateful for! Though I might move to South Africa for the remaining of Ramadan and cut my fasting hours in half. That will make a nice trip report. 😉
However Ramadan is more than just fasting. It is more about becoming a better person than you were the previous year. Learning more about yourself and about your religion. Spending more time with the Quran, in prayer and contemplation. A time to reflect and improve. A time to let go on things that are holding you back and move on. This is my favourite part of Ramadan; not only about food. In Arabic the word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain”. Not only from the food but also from anything bad such as backbiting or evil thoughts and actions. Which to be honest Muslims should do anyway since this is what our religion teaches us to do all year round. That is a topic of discussion for another day.
My first years of Ramadan are a blur since I didn’t know much and I was in the process of learning. Kind of just copying what others are doing. But now what I try to do during Ramadan is to take time to grow as a person and set goals related to my prayers. I usually work out my top five priorities for the year and set goals around them. Many people do this during Christmas since it is the beginning of a new year. For Muslims the end goal of Ramadan is to have your sins forgiven and become a better person ready for another year. So there is no better time to set new goals for the year ahead. It was actually what inspired this post. I was looking through my previous years of goals, prayers and how much I have improved over time. Dare I say that I have become a better person. Even the goals for this blog since last year have been reached and I know that this has a lot to do with the fact that Ramadan is a blessed month. It is amazing how somethings that I have written down a year ago have been realised and now I can tick it off my list. Even the craziest prayer that you do in Ramadan could be accepted; God willing. Trust me I have few of those. When I make them I usually say “this will never happen” yet now they are ticked off.
You can’t even believe how easy it is to fast 18 hour; especially me who loves to nibble all the time finds it so easy to just ignore food and actually become more creative and productive. You can feel Ramadan in the air, especially in the night time when everything is quiet and you get to spend time with your Creator. As I say to my mum it doesn’t matter what you call him; God, Allah, The Thing. There are signs around us for those who reflect.
I didn’t feel Ramadan ready this morning but the guest has arrived and I am ready to provide the best hospitality possible. Because this is how we Greeks/Bulgarians roll. 🙂
To all my Muslim friends and Readers -Happy Ramadan & may you all have a blessed month.
Thank you for all your support & love. It is greatly appreciated.