Some Thoughts on Ramadan


Hello and a very hearty, Ramadan Mubarak, one and all. Well, perhaps, more specifically, the Muslims amongst you. To everyone else, Happy Thursday!  For anyone fasting this month, I take my hat off to you. I have a health condition that prohibits me from participating every day so, although I try to partake where I can, I have a great deal of admiration for the full-timers.

We fast to reflect, to step outside of our own lives and consider the hardships and suffering of others. It's an essential exercise in Islam and, while we fast, our bodies are said to be in a constant state of prayer. I find this such a beautiful notion; it satiates me on the harder days when the hours wind on and my endurance is wearing thin. Usually, people in my position donate money so that someone can break their fast every day, who may not otherwise be able to do so. So, Mamma Imposter and I donate via a relative in Pakistan every year.

This always used to be enough for me but, as my thirties unfurl in front of me, my relationship to my faith is changing. I have this overwhelming urge to do more, but I don't know what that is or what it looks like yet. My mother reads a chapter of the Quran each night during Ramadan, first in Arabic, then in Urdu so she can analyse and interpret. If you know me, you'll know this was a common theme in my home growing up. My parents always encouraged us to explore our religion, not just parrot off texts without context or a discerning eye. I've always admired this. I'm not sure whether I'll follow suit and read a chapter a day, like the beautiful Mamma Imposter, but I rather like the idea of using this month to reflect and, perhaps, revisiting my late father's copy of the Quran.

I forget sometimes quite how much I crave the comfort of the pages he folded over at the corners and the familiarity of his pencil notes in the margins. I forget how his measured and considered approach to his faith is a mark for me to trace, one that anchors me to him whenever I feel a little lost or alone in the world. I just need to start reading.

-N


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