Archive for the ‘ramadan’ Category

Is it overly commercialized overseas?


As we pass the middle of Ramadan, the outings increase; more people start staying out later and later, and everyone seems to be in the malls or at local shops buying new cloth to get sent to the tailor for Eid. The restaurants are full, the coffee shops are busy and so goes it; businesses are gearing up to cash in on Ramadan. The newspapers are full of reports on such and such company is bringing in more dates, more drinks, and so on. Does it make sense we’re eating twice as much? Considering we have to be fasting half the time? Then after iftar, it’s all about the t.v. programs; slumped lazily on the  sofa, munching on sweets and sipping tea, laughing at the ridiculously pointless comedies or any of the other shows that promise to bring “drama” to a new level, but end up unfolding into another story of divorce,  death, or some other sob-story.

This is what Ramadan is all about, isn’t it?  Actually it is not.

Did we forget? Wasn’t Ramadan the holy month?

The object of fasting is not to run away from the hunger, work less, and try to sleep it off, but to see the perspective of those who were given less than us. We’re supposed to feel humbled, and consider the others who don’t have what we have; to understand how it feels, and to go out there and try to help.

What inspired me to write this entry is that which I have observed and what I have seen online. For example, balloons celebrating Ramadan, a clock programmed with the athan that includes a compass that points worshippers to Mecca, and an Islamic pendant described on the site as the best Ramadan gift. I mean don’t get me wrong, sending a Ramdan card or hanging lights to spruce up your home and welcome guests is not a bad thing. After all, these are just some celebratory expressions that I have come to appreciate as a Muslim American  and that have actually helped me be able to convey a meaning to  some of my curious non-Muslim American colleagues. I strongly believe that trying to be a visible example of what Muslim life can be is an important way to start a conversation of what we are celebrating. 

Who doesn’t like a celebration?

From a distance I can say that the commercialization of Ramadan in America is relatively mild compared to many Muslim-majority countries, where advertising and a shop-until-you-drop attitude have permeated the month of fasting.

From what I have observed, Ramadan is when advertisers roll out new commercials and partygoers gorge themselves on lavish dinners that are slept-off the following day.

As for motivation to celebrate Ramadan, Muslim Americans seem to have enough incentive.

“Whosoever will perform an obligatory good deed, it is as if he performed 70 obligatory good deeds,” the prophet said. “In this month the believers’ provision is increased. Whosoever will give food to a fasting person in this month, it will bring forgiveness for his sins, will save him from the hellfire and he shall have his reward.”

Ramadan is a gift in itself and the ability to celebrate it should always be embraced but overly comercializing Ramadan has been rather of a personal observation.

Are the methods of commercializing Ramadan in your home country experienced the same by everybody?


Right reason right reward


 “Fasting is prescribe for you, as it was prescribed for those before you.” (Koran, 2:183)

For many people, Ramadan is the month when they can achieve their weight loss, for others, it is the time to benefit from the charitable goodwill of the Muslims. In saying this, our month of immeasurable opportunities is in mid way progression while still keeping it alive for more oportunities that will stir something positive.
It has been personally challenging but yet, I have learned something each new day which stand out as reminders of what I should be able to find a way to implement in my life on a daily basis. Finally, I thank Allah (Subhan wa Ta’ala) for everything he has given me, and ask Him to continue to guide me on the Straight Path, to make me successful in this life and the Hereafter, and to keep my family and friends firm in Iman and in good health, inshAllah.

My resolutions for this Ramadan can be achievable but the one that I have found to be personally connected to is to try to be as disciplined of a Muslim as I am during Ramadan after it is over as well.

It is so disappointing to make the same resolution each year and fail ourselves. Instead of making it a mere resolution, we should resolve to change a particular habit by intending to do it for the sake of Allah. Whatever we do in this life, we do by the permission of Allah. The air that we breathe is still available on Allah’s command, the water that we drink is pure because Allah deems it possible to be purified despite our severe environmental pollution. Therefore, to become a better person, is a quest to please Allah first and foremost.

There is so much motivation in celebrating Ramadan.

Do you feel like you have been able to meet your Ramadan resolutions? 


 Does fasting have anything to do with resoultions?

“…Allah intends every facility for you He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful.” (Qur’an 2 verse 185)



It is the call to prayer that we hear from afar that marks the end of another day of fasting. Plates, spoons, bowls, glasses are ready to be used as they sit so neatly on the table. As we reach for those dates and glasses of water, we praise Allah for another successful day. Since the start of Ramadan the list of things to do while fasting and food preparations have been modified some.  I had to create menus to basically allow me time to help better organize my week after coming home from work. I have actually tried to work smarter rather than harder now in the kitchen. Thinking that I could do it all was something beyond expectation. I have been able to reflect on the many purposes of Ramdan-self-control, spiritual duties, and unity. Fasting is about increasing awareness, savoring the food you eat and appreciating Allah not an excuse to overeat. The important thing in fasting is how to be close to Allah through building a relationship. Thus, it also applies to having  a healthy relationship with food which is just one way to keep physically and spiritually fit. This Ramadan, I have obeserved that fasting can actually do more harm at least physically than good. It all comes down to choosing the right food to break fast which is the key to better health. So how are we to avoid the discomforts of fasting? I am certain that sales of antiacids are an all time high during Ramadan. When it is time to break the fast, there is food galore, particularly calorie-heavy cakes and cholesterol-inducing curries. After fasting all day, there is a tendency to pile food onto the plate. That can make for uncomfortable health problems. Thus, the month of Ramadan is the month of great gains and profits. The smart trader is the one who makes the most of special occasions to increase his/her profits. I have been trying to make the most of this month by keeping in tune with doing acts of worship, forgiving people and cooking for others which I thought would not be a great deal of work for me but it has turned out to be somewhat difficult to keep up with. 🙂

Here is just one example of a very popular dish that is a typical Moroccan soup and time consuming to prepare. However, delicious to the taste and nutritous.

Half-World Away


I have always wondered what people meant when saying, “you don’t feel Ramadan unless you spend it with your loved ones back home.”  I never understood this concept until we moved abroad for some time now. The experience of fasting takes precedence at the same time each day and represents an important aspect of belief for every Muslims be it living locally or in their native country.  People respond to the call for prayer each day by the local athan, wherever they may be. I have witnessed seeing a policeman that may be praying under the shade of a tree or a taxi cab driver that just pulled over to the nearest mosque to follow-up his duty to pray. The rush to get home to break the fast is also evident as drivers become careless of pedestrians and traffic appears unbearable as it marks yet another end of the day. My experience looking out of the window after breaking my fast is a view of empty streets and complete stillness each day I spend fasting from abroad. I may not be a native to this country but as a foreigner I have truly felt what another foreigner living in the states means about spending Ramadan abroad. It has left me with a feeling of understanding, acceptance, lessons and blessed moments that fasting has taught me while living away. My next experience was my first attendance to a Taraweeh evening at the mosque. I have attended them back home but while living abroad it has been my first time. Truly, we stand shoulder to shoulder, prostrate in the same direction and concentrate with all our senses.  However, as I was about to prostrate there were two things that just happened to stand out. First, the running of children and second the sound of a cell phone. My thoughts and heart were with following the imam at the moment but thoughts of my local mosque back home just flashed back to my mind. The same concept of trying to control children and turning off those cell phones to avoid interruptions is still the same. As we ended the Taraweh prayer and walked over to get our shoes, I felt content that I was able to attend this evening of unity. As I saw somse brothers ride their bikes home or groups of families getting into their cars a couple of motorbikes speeding out to beat traffic all of this will be a memory. I walked back with my sister-in-law with all the rest of the neighborhood Muslim folks and as I walked past people speaking their native language I felt a sense of renewed spirituality that half-world away would still may have felt the same. The imam’s recitations, standing shoulder to shoulder and feeling the presence of being in a physical setting unlike what I have been used to will always resonate with me. Children have an important place in the mosque being that the effort is made to reinforce their role but cell phones need to stay at home. Overall, being a half-world away Ramadan is a month of many reflections.