It's THAT time of the year folks. Over spiced fruit salad, lights aligned all along the staircase, familiar faces every night, that tingly feeling after a night of praying... it's Ramadan. But along with the islamic holy month of Ramadan arrives the need for major adjustments to our daily lives: replacing Kanye West's "Gold Digger" on your iPod with Zain Bhika's "Give Thanks to Allah", ditching your morning black coffee for a 4:00 am glass of "chaah", and praying on a tuesday night instead of watching Pretty Little Liars. But change, according to president Barack Obama, at least, is good. Change adds a dynamical element to our daily lives. It switches things up, and makes life worth living. It allows us to enter an atmosphere of uncertainty, which, whether we like or not, that is exigent in order for us to healthily function.
Now, let's go over a few changes that I wish to include in my day to day life. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ramadan resolutions.
But before I begin my list, let it be known that these are my personal resolutions; opportunities to improve myself before anyone. If you agree with some of the things I have mentioned, awesome! If you do not agree with some of the things I have included, awesome! (except a little bit less awesome). I don't mean to send hate, harm, or large cherry pies at anyone or their egos or personal goals.
0. Pray all 5 times a day. On time. Including sunnah.
As basic as this sounds, das rite. I always try to pray all daily prayers, but sometimes it slips my mind, or procrastination strikes. (ex:" I'll pray after I clean my room" or "I'll pray after I feed my sheep, Bob Billy Bob Billy!") But during and after this Ramadan, I'm going to try and "git all dem deeds" by praying as soon as the Sheikh that lives in my iPhone opens his throat.
1. Becoming an overall better person.
The hardest part of Ramadan for me isn't fasting, or even not listening to music. It's second to waking up for suhoor: following the actual meaning of ramadan, which is to overall become a better person who is patient enough to wait in line at Forever 21 on Black Friday, and to be respectful, compassionate, and kind. Although typed out they sound as easy, breezy, and beautiful as Cover Girl, they are no doubt the hardest in practice. And that's not a bad thing. That's what Ramadan is for: improving your character, behavior and moral system along with knowing how much you can possibly fit into your stomach in 15 minutes.
2. Understanding the meaning of the Quran.
If you're standing in taraweeh for 2 hours every night with the comprehension ability of a 10 year old kid in Arabia as to what the Imam is reiterating......welcome to the club. Going to an islamic school for 99.9% of my life (the other .1% was spent in the womb) has taught me a lot, including a handful of arabic vocabulary words such as worship (ibaadah), mercy (rahma), women (nisaa), door (baab), and booger (barboora), and for this I'm blessed, but there is always room for improvement. I'm going to spend more of this Ramadan actually understanding the Quran opposed to blindly trying to finish reading it. And don't get me wrong, if you are trying to finish reading Quran, that truly does take a load of persistence, but try and know what you are reading so you don't end up forcing yourself to cry during the duaa (not judging).
3. Pay attention during Salah.
This resolution of all the those listed above is most definitely the hardest, mainly because I have the attention span of a 3 month old baby. Whenever I pray, study, or try to sleep on time, my mind always seems to wander about the most randomest of things. This especially happens in prayer; from noticing how cute the aunty before me's shalwaar kameez is to mentally suffocating the screaming child behind me. Starting now, I'm going to focus more on paying attention in salah and try and heavily prevent my mind from wanderin.... SQUIRREL!
4. Not overstuff myself during iftaar.
You've been waiting for this moment all day. You've replayed the scene of you biting into a steamy, flakey, crunchy chicken patty with crumbs falling all over your dupatta hundreds of times. You've imagined the sweet, silky sound of Ruh Afza splashing across the dark abyss that is your mouth. Clearly, iftaar is a joyous time for us muslims. But the issue with iftaar is when you simply can't get enough. You fill your stomach with heaps of colorful fruit chaat, dozens of spring rolls, and mountains of dahi baraay, and even though your stomach is full, your heart continues to long for more. We've all been there, and it is truly a pulchritudinous place. But the question is... how do you get out? It's clearly not healthy, and the only option is limiting yourself. You should practice restricting yourself when it comes to food for two reasons: firstly, because moderation is a key aspect of islam, and secondly, because...that way, there's more for me.