Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ramadhan Musings


Whew! What. A. Month.

I have been thinking and planning and trying to prepare for Ramadhan for a while.

First, I had my fasts from last year to make up.

Then, I wanted to buy decorations....and make cookies for all our neighbors....and make an advent-style Ramadhan calendar. AND I was teaching at a children's camp during the blessed month. And lets not forget, I wanted to READ the beloved book. I wasn't naiive enough to think I'd get through the whole thing with everything going on, so I set a reasonable and more manageable goal of half the Qur'an.

And now that things have slowed down enough to catch my breath and each a sandwhich in the late afternoon instead of 9:30 PM, I wanted to share what I came up with this year!

We spent quite a lot of time and energy on the Ramadhan goodies we wanted to share with neighbors. Both girls helped me bake sugar cookies (some we cut into stars, some we rolled in sprinkles, some we imprinted with flowers). We also made peanut butter-pretzel-chocolate "truffles" (it sounds so much daintier that way!). Below you'll see Princess Buttercup crushing the pretzels in a ziplock bag.


When we finished all the treats, we put them in little glass jars labeled with "Ramadhan Greetings" for neighbors and "Ramadhan blessings" for Muslim friends. Unpictured: we also made a few jars with candles, gemstones and sparkles for friends to light at iftar time.

Then it was time to pass them out! It was a little anti-climactic to see that many neighbors weren't home, or some just wouldn't come to the door. But we had fun distributing these goodies with the simple explanation that we are celebrating Ramadhan and would like to share some treats with our neighbors. No one asked any questions, so I didn't offer any. I just wanted a nice and kind gesture instead of overwhelming people with religiosity if they had no interest to hear it. There were some big smiles as people were surprised, and that to me is very valuable.


                              We didn't have a little red wagon, but we do have a cooler on wheels!


Next up: the advent style calendar. I had already used my masjid and stars poster for 2 years and wanted to try something new. With a bit of Pinteresting, I was inspired to make this! There are almost 30 different little envelopes, each one containing a Ramadhan challenge--simple things the girls could achieve throughout the course of the day.

Here are some of the ones I put in the pouches. At the end of the day, we would review the challenge, and then they were rewarded with a little treat, from halal swedish fish to chocolates. The envelopes couldn't hold anything more than a little piece of paper, so I stored the treats on a high shelf and brought it down at iftar.

Spur of the moment Ramadhan Roses....I think this is another keeper! 

Un-pictured: our fairy lights. I bought new lights this year instead of the same 'ol white X-mas tree lights that I've been using for the past 7 years. I've been a bit cheap with those, and it was time to take the plunge and buy something decent! I bought enough to wrap around the entire living room, and alhamdulellah I am happy with the result!


I really feel like we all worked hard this Ramadhan! The kids were patient with us when we had low energy, and we were really feeling the thirst and hunger! I did a few themed crafts with the kids, including hanging moon and stars sun-catchers, and a zakat purse.

I did NOT get to finish my Qur'an, but alhamdulellah for the chance to make things meaningful for kids and relatable for neighbors and non-Muslims, inshallah!


More (somewhat random) things I learned along the way this month:

--these little projects aren't cheap!

--Ramadhan is another of Allah's tools to help us learn TIME MANAGEMENT....and I'm sorry to say, I think I'm still getting a "C" in that class....but I pray that Allah will help me improve before its too late!!

--you can do proper food combining during Ramadhan by breaking your fast with a bowl of fruit, waiting an hour (while you pray, read Qur'an, relax) and then continuing on to something more substantial. I only managed to do this one night, but it felt good!

--I felt the most energy in the 30 minutes before iftar, so I also chose that time to do some cardio yoga b/c otherwise I wouldn't get in much exercise during Ramadhan, and it worked great!

--Two words: moon calculations It helps save SO MUCH confusion and discord in the community!! Folks, haven't we had enough staying up until 3 AM to decide that today is in fact Eid? Aren't there reliable moon calculators that ACCURATELY predict the phase of the moon, even if the sky is cloudy? If we ever want to have Eid recognized as an official holiday--one that ALL Muslims celebrate together, we have got to embrace moon calculations! (Allah knows best.).

I pray that everyone's fasts brought them closer to their Lord and Maker, and that some of the ideas here will be useful for you in the following Ramadhans to come inshallah. :)