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It’s That Time of Year

Starting August 10th, I will not be drinking for a month. Why? Because it’s Ramadan!  This will be the first year when it’s so early in August and it will be in the summer for the next few years (Yay for lunar cycles!). I would like to say that I will be fasting everyday but I’ve never done it when it’s a 12-15 hour day (for fasting) and I just started a new job so I will do my best to fulfill my fast everyday this year but I am not allowed to push myself beyond my limits.

I never talk about my religion because I don’t believe in advertising my faith. The biggest cornerstone of my faith is that it’s between me and God. I may not look it but I’m a proud, practicing Muslim. I know that there are misconceptions about Islam because of the news, images in media, etc. I’ve been pretty quiet about it all, except when someone asks me a question. I don’t talk about it in my blogs but I’m very passionate about my religion.

Ramadan is the holiest month of Islam and the third pillar of the 5 pillars if Islam. Because the Islamic calendar is based on the moon cycle, it isn’t like Christmas where it’s the same day every year.  Islam is a religion based on purity of the heart, mind and body. During the month of Ramadan, the fast is aimed to help Muslims keep their focus off the superficial things and grow spiritually as a person.

For me, Ramadan has always been one of the most exciting times of the year. As a Muslim, I may not be perfect but I know where my faith lies. I look forward to Ramadan and to fasting. I may get a little spoiled and selfish at times but when Ramadan rolls around, all my superficial needs take a seat back. For the month of Ramadan, I try to steer my thoughts in the direction of purity. This isn’t to say that I’m not grateful for all that I have on the days outside of Ramadan but fasting is an incredible experience for me.

The actual fast itself may be taxing for some people but for me, it doesn’t get that difficult. Basically, I’m not allowed to eat or drink ANYTHING from sunrise to sunset. The fast also includes smoking, sex, etc but the only things that really apply to me is the eating and drinking. Yes, that also includes water.

Since I’m supposed to be completely pure, I am not allowed to fast while on my period. Women who are pregnant and anyone who is taking medication isn’t allowed to fast. The reason I can’t fast while on my period goes hand in hand with the purity of the body. In the Islam religion, being pure is incredibly important. After sex (both men and women), or in a woman’s case, after her period, a person must take a special bath that is supposed to purify the body. A person can’t touch the Quran, or a prayer book without being pure in that sense and that also applies to fasting. Until my period is finished, I can’t fast because I have to take that special bath. After sex, both men and women have to do this.

Coming back to the fasting… One misconception that people have about fasting is that after sunset, you can binge as much as you want so you aren’t hungry the next day. That’s just stupid because your metabolism slows down and binging is almost a sin. When your body is full, you shouldn’t force any more food just because you won’t be eating the next day. The hardest part about fasting is not being able to drink water but after a couple of days, my body adjusts to it. I love fasting…don’t ask me why. It’s just always come so easy to me and I’m the only one in my immediate family that lasts for the entire month of Ramadan.

Some facts about Ramadan:

— The word “Ramadan” is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground, and shortness of rations. It is considered the most venerated, blessed and spiritually-beneficial month of the Islamic year. Prayers, sawm (fasting), charity, and self-accountability are especially stressed at this time; religious observances associated with Ramadan are kept throughout the month.

— The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Ramadan migrates through the seasons.

–The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice, as well as sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intending to make Muslims more generous and charitable.

— One of the most important aspects of the Ramadan fast is called niyyah. Niyyah literally means “intention.” Muslims must not simply or accidentally abstain from food; they must achieve the requirement of niyyah. To achieve this requirement, a Muslim must “intend in [his] heart that [the fast] is meant to be a worship for Allah alone.” So, if someone fasts for political or dietary reasons, he would not achieve niyyah. In fact, according to scripture, “Whoever does not make niyyah before dawn, would not have fasted.” The determination to fast is equal in importance to the fast itself.

I won’t ramble on anymore. From this point, I’ll take any questions about Ramadan or Islam in general. It’s just easier to see what questions you guys have rather than writing a long-winded blog about it…because I can go on for hours.

On a funny note…Whenever I say Ramadan, my old roommates used to break into this:

(Most of this blog was a repeat from last year so I apologize if you’ve read it before.)

If you have any questions about any aspect of Ramadan or my religion, this is the time to do it!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rachel August 4, 2010, 10:16 am

    I love reading first hand accounts of Muslims in America. I know that the American perspective of your religion is so very warped and it’s nice to put a “human” face to what being a Muslim really is. I recently finished “In the Land of Invisible Women” by Qanta A. Ahmed, MD and her story about experiencing Hajj was very enlightening. It showed the beauty of what being a Muslim can really be about.

    Do kids take part in the fasting? Diana’s karate class has some kids in it from a Muslim family & I was wondering if Ramadan will be something we need to take into account during the workout…..or will they not come during this month?

    • PrincessQ August 4, 2010, 11:30 am

      It really depends on the family and the kid. I started fasting when I was 10 because I loved it and some kids start when they’re 7.

      I would talk to the parents. What tme is the karate class? There may be kids who fast who are still active, depending in their strength and how much they can take on during the day.

      I really hope I get to go on a Hajj during my lifetime. I know my grandfather always wanted to go but passed away before he had a chance.

  • Cassie August 4, 2010, 11:05 am

    good luck to ya

    • PrincessQ August 4, 2010, 11:30 am

      Thanks 🙂

  • Liebchen August 4, 2010, 11:12 am

    I really love this – I think religions are fascinating, in and of themselves, and even though I know the basics, I didn’t know all these details about Ramadan. Fasting isn’t as emphasized in the Protestant sects, though some do it for Lent, but after reading this, I kind of wish it was.

    • PrincessQ August 4, 2010, 11:31 am

      Even if it isn’t emphasized, fasting is something that you can do on your own.

      It is, after all, about discipline and purity of the mind, heart and body.

  • Lisa Byrne August 4, 2010, 11:38 am

    Nice one lady! A better woman than I…

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 9:04 am

      Nah. It’s just how I grew up 🙂

  • phampants August 4, 2010, 1:11 pm

    I know I told you this last year, but I want to reiterate that I’m proud that you’re proud of your religion.

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 9:04 am

      Thanks babe!

  • verybadcat August 4, 2010, 2:31 pm

    okay, so maybe you can explain something to me. what logic is behind the concept of a menstruating woman as being unclean or unpure? it’s essentially a cleaning or purification of the womb- the shedding of the unused lining- so is it that you’re not clean and pure until that process is complete?

    i know, minor detail when compared to the mindset of a holy month, but inquiring minds…

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 9:05 am

      Basically. I’m not 100% sure of the exact reason but you are not considered pure enough to touch a prayer book until you’ve taken the purifying bath.

      Now I have to look into it more!

  • SillyJaime August 4, 2010, 6:25 pm

    Like last year, I really enjoyed reading this. I was reading it and I thought “I wonder if she rewrote ALL of this…”.

    Learning about religions from another person’s point of view is so much more in depth and enjoyable than reading it from a book.

    Thanks for sharing, love.

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 9:06 am

      Yeah, I went back to read it and took the basic facts. Obviously the facts of Ramadan won’t change but I like posting about it every year.

  • Miss Scorpio August 5, 2010, 8:57 am

    Thank you for helping explain this. I’ve always wondered, but never quite felt comfortable to ask about it.

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 9:06 am

      You can feel free to ask me anything 🙂

  • Suburban Sweetheart August 5, 2010, 10:07 am

    The first friend I made when I transferred colleges as Muslim, & we had a class together at the time that his Ramadan fast & my Yom Kippur fast was to end. Our teacher let us skip part of class to go eat together… He’s getting married in October & I can’t wait to attend his Muslim wedding!

    Good luck with the fast. <3

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 10:34 am

      That is awesome!

      Thanks 🙂

      And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! xoxo

  • Mindy August 5, 2010, 5:54 pm

    This is one faith that truly does fascinate me. I love learning about it, especially from those who practice and love it. I appreciate you sharing this very much, and wish you the best of luck fasting. I’m sure it won’t be easy.

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 9:27 pm

      Thank you!! 🙂

  • ClevelandPoet August 5, 2010, 8:15 pm

    I’ll drink extra for you this month 😉

    • PrincessQ August 5, 2010, 9:27 pm

      Appreciate it! Haha

  • lola gets August 6, 2010, 1:14 am

    Congrats! I just love seeing Muslimas repping their religion! I have been interested/drawn by Islam for many years now, but Ive been scared to take Shahadah (for some reason I think Id have to be perfect and Ive got a lot of faults, lol). I did start phasing out some of the religions “no-nos” though, just to see if I could do without -and sure enough, I could.

    I tried to do Ramadan during one of the winter months, but because I have a few health problems (including one that requires me to drink water) that didnt go so well. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those that can do Ramadan the way its intended!

    L

    • PrincessQ August 6, 2010, 10:09 am

      The beauty of Islam is that it doesn’t expect anyone to be perfect, as long as you are aware of your faults and promise to work on bettering yourself! The most important thing is the golden rule: Be a good person and have faith.

      The rest falls into place.

  • carissa August 16, 2010, 9:09 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I had no idea what Ramadan was really about it and I’m so glad I got to read your perspective. I don’t know as much about the Muslim religion as I should, but I am fascinated. Best of luck to you and your fasting. I have so much respect to you for being able to pull this off, I don’t think I could do it! I quit smoking a week ago and that has been difficult enough for me!

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