Hello everybody! I hope you’re well on this fine Friday! Now as you know this is predominantly a beauty blog, however I do like to type up the odd update post now and again, and after watching this tag on YouTube by the lovely ‘bubblegumhijab’ I thought I would do it too! But first of all it’s only right to give y’all some information on what Ramadan is and why Muslims fast etc.
WHAT IS RAMADAN?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which moves forward by around 10 days each year. It is one of the most significant months for Muslims, as it was the month in which the Quran (the holy book) was reviled to our Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him.) Muslims fast from dawn till dusk, and the fasting is not just limited to food and water, but to profanity, bad actions, backbiting, time wasting, smoking – anything that is excessive and ill-natured. Is Ramadan a month of dieting and losing weight? No…infact Ramadan shouldn’t be about the food or the lack of it, but everything we do gain whilst fasting – which is often the realisation that we are incredibly blessed to have the CHOICE to fast whilst millions really do starve day in day out, every month of the year. For many Muslims, myself included it is our favourite time of the year! We cut down on procrastination and devote our time to bettering ourselves, helping others and learning more about our religion as well as asking for forgiveness from Allah.
I understand that you can’t eat food – but WHY CAN’T YOU DRINK WATER?!
Ok I get this a lot. Now the question I have is…do you really understand why we abstain from eating food?
Let me start with a statistic - there are 842 million people who do not have enough to eat. I’ll just let that colossal number sink in for a moment…. 842 MILLION people that wake up each day, not knowing if they’ll have any food for themselves or their families. Every minute 5 Children die of malnutrition (statistic from Unicef.)
If you’re reading this, you’re more blessed than you realise because you have access to the internet, which means electricity, which means light switches and running water and probably a fridge that keeps your food for longer and a freezer that holds ice-cream! We are very blessed and extremely sheltered from the harsh conditions that millions have to endure each and every day. SO many people go without a morsel of food for days, let alone three meals, two snacks and regular access to fresh running water!
So one of the reasons why we do a full fast of food AND water is so that we can FEEL what it would be like to not have those basic necessities that we all take for granted. You might think that you don’t need to feel it yourself to be empathetic, but believe me until you have fasted for a week with no food or water during daylight hours, you will not be able to understand even one eighth of the hardship the poor go through!
Ramadan is the time for us to truly appreciate how much we have, and to step away from this materialistic, money driven society in order to focus on what is important. Our sacrifice is tiny and insignificant compared to what those 842 million people are faced with….and yes, yes you too COULD fast if you put your mind to it, I promise! (On a side note, the elderly, ill and pregnant Muslims do not fast for obvious reasons).
I wanted to start this tag off with a bit of information because I think it’s important to talk and explain about my beliefs and my faith. Furthermore I have NO problems with anyone asking any questions because it’s human nature to be curious about what one is not used to, or doesn’t understand. So please feel free to contact me, if you’d like to know anything else or have any questions – I’d much rather that, than assumptions which is what our biased western media feeds us day in day out!
Now on to the tag!
1. When do you start getting excited about Ramadan?
Probably the month before it’s going to start! Recently I’ve been lucky to be away from school and studying which means I have more time during the day to take advantage of fasting. I also try to cut down my working hours and just making these arrangements for Ramadan makes me excited for the upcoming month!
2. What is your favourite Ramadan Memory?
It’s got to be when I was younger and started fasting, during first school (back when fasts were only 8 hours long!) and feeling so proud for keeping a fast. Even though I didn’t truly understand why we fasted, it made me feel so important and mature haha.
3. Does your family have any Ramadan Tradition?
Yes we always make a fruit salad to eat straight after we open our fast with dates and water ^_^ The half an hour before opening your fast is the most testing period I think, because you can smell the food and literally feel it haha but feeding a fasting person comes with so much reward, so it’s all worth it! We also all read maghrib salah together (which is the evening/sunset prayer) as a family, all in one line and that’s such a lovely feeling.
It has also become somewhat of a tradition to help out with our community radio station! ‘Ramadan FM’ which anyone in the world can listen to here. I believe it all began 4 years ago and it’s such a blessing to have! Not only do you learn so much from the shows (and they cover everything Youth, health, charity) but it also brings together the community, and people from all cultures too ^_^
4. What is your favourite Ramadan Food?
Well as a family I think we’re pretty good in that we don’t overload with the fried food. So probably the fruit salad! The funny thing is we always say we will make it after Ramadan too but we never really do, so we love having it daily for a month.
5. When you're fasting in the day do you think about food?
Not until the last hour or two! Like I said especially when preparing the food, then you have little choice to really. But it’s really important to utilize the time we have in Ramadan because it could be our last and we have no idea, so instead of wasting time with thinking about food, read some duas and do good because everything good you do in this month is rewarded multiple times.
6. Besides water and dates what do you break your fast with?
Fruit salad and occasionally pakoreh which is a fried potato dish/starter type thing.
7. What do you eat for suhoor?
We used to eat parateh a lot! But now we tend to have egg and toast, porridge, cereal etc. Especially as the time between sunset-sunrise is so short (only around 4.5/5 hours) we’ve barely digested our iftaar (fast opening) when it’s time to eat again! So it’s important to stock up on water and keep food healthy and not overly heavy so you wake up with a sick feeling.
8. What is your least favourite thing about Ramadan?
Ohh this is a tough one because I can’t think of anything I don’t enjoy about the month?! Hmmm if I HAD to pick something it would be the constant question of ‘you can drink water right?’….but you all probably know that by now if you’ve read the little info bit haha! It’s something I guess you have to try yourself before you understand/realise that it IS possible, but y’know it can be a bit repetitive.
9. One thing that makes you happiest at Ramadan?
The constant feeling of peace. It’s because you’re dedicating so much more time and effort to Islam and you’re learning so much more as well as being rewarded constantly for fasting and it’s just the most amazing feeling being content and worry free. It’s like a retreat that lasts for a whole month!
10. One tip that you can give to people that are fasting?
Life is too short to spent most of Ramadan sleeping which is tempting to do with the long fasts, but this Ramadan try to push yourself a little further and set a goal that you really want to achieve. It’ll help you be productive and make the most of the time you have. One of mine personally is to listen to as much Quran as possible in order to improve my Tajwed. Also don’t binge on snack food in the time you do have to eat because your body will appreciate you fuelling it with things that give long lasting energy – bananas is a good example!
Thankyou again to the lovely bubblehijab for creating this tag! I tag anyone participating in Ramadan and wish you all a wonderful month! To my non-Muslims followers/readers I hope you learnt something new ^_^
Thanks for reading!