Countdown to Ramadan Begins (Memories & Reflections)

With the month of Sha`ban passing all too quickly, one can’t help but think of the approaching month of Ramadan, the Muslims’ favorite time of the year.

Ramadan is where we are given the chance to start afresh. It is a month where new beginnings can be mad, requiring special preparations and a list, if you may, of resolutions. It is also a month full of happiness, hope, fond memories and promises

I for one fear the momentum, drive and motivation that normally keeps us going during Ramadan is not up to notch with the approach of this month.

So, how do we establish an attitude of faith and victory in the messed-up, crazy world we are living in before we put everything on hold to begin our blessed month?

How do we continue to walk in confidence and holy optimism when things are going on around us?

Returning to the blessed Qur’an we will learn that Ramadan is not just a month-long abstinence from food and liquids that starts at the crack of dawn and ends at sunset. The Qur’an states:

{O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous} (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

Ready, Steady, Go!

Counting down for Ramadan will help create excitement in our mind and amongst the people around us. Since we are all counting down to the same event, it becomes part of regular conversation and excitement spreads.

Now is a good time to put things in perspective by replacing the “have-to’s” with the “want-to’s”.

While we may “have to” put on a big iftar meal at least once or twice in the month, the truth is, we do enjoy the yearly get-together of the whole clan. Think of it as bringing together family and reviving the sunah of family ties. The key here is to prepare and know your priorities.

Being a Kid in Ramadan

Ramadan in all of its magical fervor never fails to trigger memories of incidents throughout my life. For me there are many things associated with Ramadan. However there are many many more things associated with Ramadan for me as a child in Australia.

As kids, fasting apparently was the type of activity that would put us in the visible league of ‘grown-ups’. Did we even pray then? Not much. Did we know why we were fasting? Not really. But fasting was something that we wanted to do as a child. It was almost thrilling.

Preparing for Ramadan included our Muslim community gathering together armed with telescopes, binoculars and whatever was necessary and driving up the mountain. Since our house was the closest to the Mt Gravatt Lookout they all gathered at our house.

I felt quite special and important telling all who wanted to hear that we were going to  confirm the sighting of the new moon to declare the onset of the beginning of the Holy month as if I had a hand in the sighting. I honestly believed I was the trustworthy source that the southern hemisphere was waiting to hear from regarding when to start fasting. In my defense I was 7.

Managing Ramadan Stress

Ramadan can also be a month of pressure, extra demands, and anxiety. Of course, the stress can pile up and have us sadly dreading the month rather than savouring it.

Make a Ramadan plan by listing things you would like to achieve in the month and then plan on achieving these goals. It is important that goals are realistic and it is better that your life doesn’t need to entirely take a different road in this month. Recognizing what you want to achieve in the month will help you stay focused.

Create Memories

suhoor-memoriesThis is beautiful. For my siblings and I getting up for Suhoor was the toughest part of fasting. No amount of begging or trying to explain to my mother that we have eaten enough at dinner would work. She would use it as a condition to allow us to fast.

She would use the pot lid and wooden spoon and joyfully bang on it to wake us up trying to create the ‘masaharaty‘ (The man who calls on the people to wake up for Suhoor) atmosphere.

This resulted in a bunch of really cranky swollen-faced kids at the table. What made it worse was that my parents were always amazingly cheery during that ‘middle-of-the-night’ meal. Now thinking of it I am all teary eyed. A time lost now; I wish I could have frozen the moments.

For us as children there was no work, no childcare duties, no worries about the world to interfere with the pure task of fasting. After all we were now doing grown up stuff and fasting like them.

Wrapping up I remind myself first and foremost that Ramadan is a month that should be anticipated and not bemoaned. Preparing by reading or listening to inspiring stories from the Qur’an is usually rewarding and humbling at the same time. After all, the stories in the Quran are words of inspiration to help us through our most difficult challenges in life.

As we know fasting is a means of learning self-restraint and patience. With patience we are able to strengthen our resolve to sincerly worship God alone and also cope with life’s ups and down.

About Deana Nassar
Deana Nassar is a published writer. As a mother of four, in her home she’s the sole expert on all things related to marriage, children’s psychology, motherhood and creative survival.
She loves charity work, reading and writing poetry, and is mostly known for writing articles discussing family and social issues, faith, freedom, and purpose that comes through God. She can be reached at [email protected]