Friday, August 10, 2012


the ramadan spirit hit me at the weirdest time this year, subhanallah.  i just collapsed onto the couch from spending the whole day out and instagrammed the box of cupcakes  i bought for iftar (actually, the next few iftars, sadly there's no way i can eat four cupcakes at once) and i felt this sudden urge to put on some sami yusuf.  so i did, and like two songs into it, i *felt* it.  and then i started crying. and crying and crying and crying. and crying.  but at the same time i was laughing.  so i had this ugly laugh/cry thing going on (which only comes out during ramadan because both of the feelings are so genuinely earnest) and i started to pray.  finally it feels like it's *my* ramadan.

it's only the 22nd day of ramadan.

it took me long enough (ugh!).  to be honest this was another one of those times of transition - as long as i'm a student the summer is always going to be full of changes, i guess - i couldn't fast the first week, the second week i was busy pa(ni)cking about moving to DC for a month, and during the third week i was getting used to being in DC (i'd walk to and from clinic - 1.2 miles each way, so as soon as i reached home i'd crawl onto the prayer rug to pray asr and then collapse into a pile of snores until iftar).  maybe i became spiritual because i started taking the bus? 

yes, i'm less tired today, but to be honest i never really got into *the* ramadan spirit initially because of the stupid (fine, not stupid) dark knight rises midnight showing, which i went to instead of doing my traditional "omg ramadan is here!" night.

it's not like this ramadan was particularly bad.  i prayed earnestly for the most part and there were some amazing moments.  i focused especially on staying pleasant while fasting (so much so that i got told that i should fast year round - rude! but also awesome).  but my prayers were kind of hardened and sensible and practical, not silly and joyous and soaring like they normally are during ramadan! and today, it happened! the ugly laugh/cry happened, alhamdulillah.

that's why i came running to add 2012 to the ramadan diaries.  that's when i *want* to write in the diaries, when i'm this ...ebullient.

ramadan kareem, me (FINALLY).

Friday, August 26, 2011

the 25th

tonight was the night i've been waiting for all month - maybe even all year, since last ramadan. i feel like i finally broke through the walls of my own stupidity and fear and connected with allah after what feels like forever. i've been waiting to do this, wanting it to be natural, kind of spontaneous, so that it would feel more authentic i guess. and allah waited for me. allah's been here all along, always with me, always looking out for me.

there's that hadith, "if you go walking towards allah, allah will come running towards you" - and subhanallah, it's true! this ramadan is been so transition-y. i spent half of it back home and other half here at school. that means changing priorities, changing cultures, changing lifestyles and the people i spend time with. i felt unsettled for a lot of ramadan - like, my copy of the qur'an was back on campus with my bookmark and my favorite translation, so for the first few days of ramadan at home i didn't read the qur'an at all - which is so silly and wasteful and *sad* in retrospect - but at the same, praying at home was so intense, while here in karachi i'm trying to negotiate the crazy heat and demands on my time from friends and of course clinics and calls and all that so prayer seems to be lacking something. i thought about documenting how i feel in this year's RD a handful of times, but to be hoenst, i didn't feel the same drive to write that i used to feel back at stanford, when i had all glorious month in one place surrounded by a group of people who "performed" ramadan with the same sort of passion that i had.


this is my life now. the closer i inch towards the "real world," the more i'm going to have to deal with ish getting in the way of my ramadan. which means that i'm going to have to be a lot more proactive in doin' it big, ramadan style.

that's not to say that i haven't had a great ramadan, much moreso than last year. i've *enjoyed* every single one of my prayers, suhoor is my favorite time of the day because i start reflecting and dhikring without even realizing it, i've been regular about reading the qur'an and i've prayed taraweeh more often than not. alhamdulillah, that's pretty solid. it could've been better - and it *has* been in the past - but for the first time in a long time, this seems sustainable. i think i can continue this as the year goes on.

i just feel like my heart has hardened so much in the last year - not for any particular reason, i think i've just gotten really passive and i relied too much on anticipating ramadan for getting back on track. but my ma said something kind of awesome in the first few days of this month that changed everything for me - she said that if you read even a little bit of the qur'an at the beginning of your day, then you can be satisfied for the rest of it that you did something right.

...and that's all it took. tonight i felt my heart explode the gunk that was caked around it and inside was something beating, kind of feebly at first but then picking up momentum and *light* and i feel so calm. and alhamdulillah alhamdulillah alhamdulillah, it's only possible because of allah. (i've always loved the 25th. just read any of the past RDs, it's my favorite night.)

i only have a few more pages left until i finish this read through of the qur'an, and i'm planning on completing it on the night of the 27th. this is a big deal for me, because it's been years since i've read it all the way through. i start, read through a couple of chapters, and then stop and start over because i pick it up after weeks, sometimes months. it's not something i'm proud of. but finally, after a long time, i'm filled with hope.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

ramadan 7.0

boo! it's me!
ramadan kareem!

it's ramadan day 6 and today is the FIRST day that i FINALLY get to fast. considering that i've had to put a hold on fasting during the last ten days (seriously *sob*) over the last two ramadans, this is totally okay. and positives to not fasting the first five days while everyone else fasted:
  1. i was bummed out and jealous of everyone else and this fueled the fasting beast within me.
  2. ramadan came out of nowhere this time! i know ISNA declared august 1 and so i should have been ready, but it takes a day or two adjust, natch. well, I HAD PLENTY OF TIME (see 1).
  3. decided to write the diaries - i thought i'd outgrown writing down all of my ramadan hopes dreams and ambitions! but i think i need to do this to focus. i hung out with a lot of people from stanford last weekend before ramadan started, and many of them specifically asked about RDing, which is why i put it on the table.
not so great things about not fasting the first five days while everyone else fasted:
  1. generally i get a break after fasting a few days, so i use that spiritual momentum to make the most of my non-fasting days too. this time, not so much. i tried of course, but it's hard to break several months of being lame all at once (fasting jump starts it).
  2. the fasting beast is so enthusiastic that i was over-confident during suhoor. i think i missed out on drinking enough water, but was farsighted enough to brag to my family that i'm going to fast them under the table.
also news, apparently i'm really into idioms involving tables.

as fascinating as all of this is, i'm running on three hours of sleep. ttyl, internet.