Greetings everyone! I finally had a proper chance to sit down and blog this entry, what a bliss! Hubby’s at work, son’s at school, big daughter’s attending ‘taster day’ at her future secondary school (she officially starts in September) and my youngest two are at their weekly art class. I don’t like to blog when they’re around as I feel my focus then should be on them. I normally go about grocery/food shopping at this time, but my routine’s changed a bit now that it’s our fasting month, Ramadan. How has it been so far? Well, fasting for 19 hours here in the UK is rather long to be honest. I started fasting since 7 years old back in my homeland, over there it’s the standard 13 hour fast every year. Since we’re close to the Equator, we do not have the 4 seasons. We have summer all year round, hot tropical 30c! Even though it’s not compulsory for children to fast (nor the infirm, elderly, women in their menses/pregnancy/breastfeeding, travellers etc), the atmosphere in an Islamic country like Malaysia makes it easier for young ones to practise this once a year obligatory act. Here in England, however, it’s a different story. It’s more of an effort, shall I say. It has to come from within you. That’s why they have the term practising Muslim and non-practising Muslim here in England. There are many who are Muslims by name only! Practising Islam can be a struggle when you are in the minority. On the other side of the coin, you hear of Muslims who are extremists and terrorists, they give Islam a bad name! They always make me boil inside. But Alhamdulillah the world is filled with regular Muslims like myself, I’m sure you know by now what I’m like after reading my blog chattering for a while! We only want peace in this world and paradise in the Hereafter, Ameen. We try our best to uphold our faith and treat everyone/everything else in the planet with love and respect. Anyway, I am quite fortunate actually as I live within a small Muslim community whereby there are 4 mosques, several ‘halal’ butchers and madrasas (Quran schools). Practising my faith isn’t that difficult, as long as the effort comes from within me. When I first got married, the fasting month here fell in Winter (the Islamic months are based on the lunar calendar). Fasting was a breeze, around 8 hours! But now after almost 17 years, the fasting month falls in mid-Summer where the daylight is very long, we’re in total darkness for only 6 hours! I have no complaints of hunger and thirst from my fast this year, but I suffer from a bit of headache several hours before breaking fast time at dusk. This is mainly due to the lack of sleep, which will adjust itself once our bodies are familiar with new routine. Apart from that, I also find that we can’t eat much at all at iftar (breaking fast) time. It’s just so late by the time we finish our meal (10.30pm), we feel very tired from the long day! That’s why I cook very simple dishes for iftar this year, alongside our usual dates, fruit salad and samosas. I suppose it helps if you sleep for a bit during the day but that’s almost impossible as it’s just so bright out there! My older two are fasting properly this year as they have both hit puberty. They are doing rather well, as they have had practice (do half-days, every few days etc, whatever they could manage) since they were 7. My older two love competing with each other, I remember how they tried to outdo each other in the number of hours and days they could fast. Well, all that has paid off. Alhamdulillah, now that it’s compulsory upon them to fast, they act upon it willingly. They are happy to be fasting, one of the rewards of a fasting person is when they break their fast; the relief and pleasure that comes in enjoying all the tasty food in front of them. My neighbours who are great cooks have been giving us delicious iftar dishes too! I feel sad to think of those people in poverty whereby fasting is a daily occurrence. This serves as a great reminder for us, to be grateful for what we have always and never take them for granted. Anyway, enough said for now, I leave you with several images and another Ramadan song, do watch the video clip of a Muslim family in America during the fasting month. Take good care!
Do read all my previous Ramadan posts, just type ‘Ramadan’ in my Search Widget on the right hand side! :)
he never fails to surprise me with flowers every now and then, my ramadan bouquet from hubby
hubby’s favourite starter for Iftar, onion bhajias (left) and potato/onion bhajias (right)
chicken cutlets (right) and lamb pasties (left) ideal as light Iftar meals, served with salad/chips/wedges
my youngest with her henna to welcome Ramadan
my lil one checking on our goldfish
yes, we have 5 goldfish in the old bathtub outside!
a couple of my summer display by the old bathtub
pale pink roses in my late neighbour’s (Lionel) overgrown garden, peace and beauty always there amidst the thorns of life
Oh God! Please make the rest of Ramadan easier for me to get closer to you, especially in this year’s challenging 19 hour long fast! Fasting from food and drink is manageable with practice (pray my health remains good) but refraining from bad habits and behaviour and increasing my religious acts may be a struggle! Please do forgive and guide this humble soul!!!