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Posts Tagged ‘Ramadan’

Ramadan Mubarak!

Suhor, Convert style!

Have a blessed month! Happy fasting!

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Ramadan Support

I just wanted to put this out there:  if any fellow converts/reverts or anyone needs any moral support this Ramadan, please do not hesitate to email me: mestizamuslim@gmail.com

I know it’s tough and it can be lonely, but remember that God loves you and Alhamdulillah He gave us this blessed month to rejoice.

I also advise you contact your local mosque or Islamic center. InshAllah, people will be able to help out with open iftars, prayer times, gatherings, etc. and/or get you in touch with sisters and brothers who are willing to take you into their families for Ramadan 🙂

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As Ramadan approaches, here are some things to keep in mind  🙂

12) If this is your first Ramadan, fasting might be a little difficult at first. Just know the first day is the hardest and Alhamdulillah, afterwards it continues to get easier.

13) Naps are your friend. An hour nap is a lot better than sitting there and staring at the clock, waiting for Maghrib. Also, you’ll probably be tired after staying up for Suhor…your sleeping schedule might need some adjustment 🙂

14) Drink LOTS of water before fasting. Kind of a given but please do, don’t dehydrate yourself.

15) Iftars. They are one of the most beautiful parts of Ramadan but for converts they can be oh so lonely if you don’t find people to share it with. Mosques definitely have open iftars or you might have friends at the masjid to take you in. Also, you can have your non-Muslim friends to have a late dinner with you. This one is particularly fun because (at least in my case) my friends really enjoy examining me as a take my first sip of water/bite of the day. They’re entertained and I get iftar buddies! Win-Win. It certainly beats eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich alone in your room.

16) Same goes for Suhors. Even though converts a lot of times do a Gogurt and cereal Suhor alone, in a lot of Muslim families, this is something that everyone does together. Try to do this with others as much as possible or at least a few times. It makes waking up super early a lot more enjoyable!

17) On the topic of eating, don’t gorge yourself during iftars. Yes, I understand you are hungry, but then don’t be surprised if you gain weight rather than lose it.

18) Eid. It’s a really big holiday, be with others! Nonconverts: please take your convert friends in for Eid! It’s like the biggest celebration for Muslims and it breaks my heart to know that there are some brothers and sisters who have to spend it alone. I know I’m praying that I’ll be back at school for Eid so I can go to Eid prayer/celebrations with my MSA buddies. Please, please, please open your homes to converts, iA Allah (SWT) will reward you for welcoming the lonely into your homes for this blessed month (this goes for iftars and suhors too btw) 🙂

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Image courtesty of: http://blogs.bgsu.edu/hkrista/

Everyone has their Ramadan goals, yes?

I have been developing mine for the past weeks. The ones I came up with are:

  1. Read the whole Qur’an: I know this is one most people attempt/do and some might think it’s kind of a given but I really want to do it. I want to read a whole translation of the Qur’an so I can really get to the basics of my faith.
  2. Make all prayers: Easier said than done with some of them (aka Fajr) but InshAllah.
  3. Completely learn all of Salaat: Confession: I don’t know the part you do when you’re sitting down aka the Tashahhud. It’s difficult to learn something in a completely different language but I’ll admit, I should have learned it by now. So when I get to the Masjid on Eid, I’ll be able to recite everything correctly, InshAllah.

So that is what I had planned. However, today I came across this article on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed: no clothes til december. Summary: No buying new clothes until december, wear what you’ve got. I got to thinking, how often I decide I need something and then hate it and leave it in my closet something like that. I still have that horrible pair of jeans that 1) did not fit correctly (I bought them in a hurry) 2) I made a sad attempt at making them fit and now 3) they are completely ruined and sit in my closet as a reminder of $30 wasted. Not fun.

So, I thought, what if I do something like this? I decided to try. At least for Ramadan, which will be hard because Ramadan this year falls during the back to school shopping flurry. One thing I will need to buy though before August 1st is a new skirt. I need something to wear for Eid prayer (you need to look nice) and I think I have my Eid outfit almost figured out, I just need the maxi skirt (don’t act like you haven’t started planning your Eid outfit already. You know you have lol). So that will be my last piece. I desperately wanted a pair of skinny jeans before school starts too (I recently put my favorite pair to rest 😦 ) So that might get put on the exemption list too but besides that (and underwear. As Sarah pointed out underwear is a must), I will not buy nothing, nada, zip. For me: also on my no buying list will go jewelry, scarves and shoes. I have more than enough, even though one can definitely argue that you can never have enough.

Also, after thinking it through, I decided Ramadan will be the end of me buying those $2 coffees at McDonalds, Coffee Bean, Peet’s, Starbucks, etc. No more wasting my cash on my beloved coffees that come in the pretty little paper/plastic cups. If I don’t have a gift card or something of the sort, I will be stuck making it at home. Both Ramadan and Sarah’s post have made me think about reining in that consumerism I had previously talked about. It needs to be done. And that’s that. (Thank you Sarah for the idea!)

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Today I went into Starbucks and bought one of these nifty little things. It’s basically a mix of cane sugar and coffee, all you need to add is half and half! I’ll be able to get my daily iced coffee quickly in the morning…I don’t know if I’m going to be able to fall asleep again after Fajr though…

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Part one if you didn’t catch it. Once again, take this with a grain of salt, as the Muslim convert mantra goes: Everybody’s experience is different.

8 ) Talk to your family in intervals. They need time to digest this. Your conversion is kind of a big deal. Also, some people might expect you to commence Dawah efforts on them stat. Don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with or that you think would make your relationship uncomfortable. Show them Islam through example rather than force. That’s your family, be respectful of their faith(s) as you want them to be respectful of yours. 

9) Take it slowly. If you start getting frustrated or anxious about not knowing everything immediately, slow it down. Learning all these things takes time, don’t pressure yourself to go faster because if not you’ll do what I did, give up. Alhamdulillah, God brought me back. Lesson being: Just take your time. Allah (SWT) understands.

10) This one is really not fun but so necessary. Look into things you currently eat, you’d be surprised what has gelatin/pork. It’s difficult to give up your favorite foods that have gelatin, or even the more obvious, like in my case, carnitas and chicharron which are amazingly delicious and amazingly haram. iA Allah (SWT) will reward us for these struggles because it really sucks sometimes. Like really.

11) For the ladies, if you’re embarrassed about people possibly figuring out that it’s “that time of the month,” because you’re not fasting, not praying, etc, don’t be. Everyone knows about it and its part of life. From my experience, Muslims tend to be more open and less awkward about that kind of stuff. But if you still feel embarrassed, it is very easy to just say no if someone asks if you need to pray or to eat in private. Trust me ladies, we all go through it.

12) Your culture is not haram, no matter what anybody tells you. Don’t ever wish you belong to another culture or ethnicity. Allah (SWT) made you the way you are, and you were born into your family for a reason. Your culture is beautiful. Nuff said.

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http://noimpactman.typepad.com/

I recently watched No Impact Man (it’s on Neflix for those who want to take a peek). And of course, there I sat, clutching my daily caffeine fix. This day it happened to be the most common one: McDonald’s Sugar Free Vanilla Iced Coffee. My friends never fail to tell me how horrible my coffee love is but I’m here to say:  I know it’s not the greatest thing in the world but 1) there are much worse addictions and 2) I like it; so leave me alone lol

But watching the wife, Michelle, struggle with her need for coffee, especially the kind that is given to you in the nifty little paper/plastic cups, I felt like I was looking in the mirror. When I haven’t had my daily (at least!) cup, I notice myself getting very irritated and snappish with the first poor soul who happens cross my path, my head begins to throb, and I feel anxious and awkward.

I’m not sure why I get so much joy from buying coffee but I think a key to this answer lies in a conversation I recently had with some friends. Two of my friends (who happen to not be from the US) were utterly confused by the fact that I would rather sprint out of my house in the freezing cold to spend my campus currency on a large iced coffee from the campus coffee shop as opposed to just making coffee at home. My other friend who is American said, “No you guys don’t understand. It’s an American thing. We like it when it’s made for us and when we just pay someone to do it rather than do it ourselves. We just really like buying stuff in this country.”

My other friends gave us a look and I, as I laughed and nodded in agreement, sprinted out the door to catch the coffee shop before it closed. But this in a combination with the movie, really made me realize: I’m a product of American consumerism. I’m a prime example. So lately, I’ve been struggling to prevent myself from driving off to Chipotle to get a burrito when I’m hungry and looking through my fridge, and I’m proud to say I’ve been pretty successful. The coffee unfortunately is another story at the moment. I still buy my daily coffee and it’s a really hard habit to kick…InshAllah.

Moral of  my story: As Ramadan approaches, I need to think of the things I need to whittle down on. I really need to watch my caffiene intake. Today I have already had an iced coffee and Coke Zero (currently working on my second can of the day). I’m not saying give up my coffee love at all but the extra sodas and additional iced coffee I sneak in there sometimes….I can definitely do without. An upside to fasting (of course aside from all the amazing spiritual benefits AH) is that you really get to see how much you intake that is not necessary at all. Yes, I am anticipating the monsterous withdrawal heachaches from my caffeine reduction (ughhhh) but Ramadan will make me want to concentrate more on God and my faith rather than if I had my daily cup InshAllah 🙂

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