Ramadan Reflections

"Do you remember last Ramadan when we'd break our fast seated around this table? Did you think you'd be married a year later?! It just shows that you never know what tomorrow brings"

My mom reminisced during a recent Iftar, which we shared as a family once again since Asif was away at Geology field school. It felt surreal, sitting with my brother and parents...almost as if I was flashing back to a year ago when I had no idea who Asif Chaudhry was!

This year's Ramadan definitely has a different feel to it. I had the entire summer off last year, and spent the whole month with time on my side, working on community endeavours for the most part and focusing on my spiritual growth. It was still busy with MSDI being created, shooting a video for Mosquers, helping plan CIMAP, and preparing for a new role at work. Thinking back, I don't know how I cranked out 30 blog entries that month, I must have had a sick amount of energy (or else the crazies).

Going into Ramadan this year, Asif and I knew we were in for it. Having arrived back from an adventurous 2-week stint in Turkey just 2 days before the holy month started, we were jet-lagged and now had to fast 17.5 hours a day...while setting up an apartment...while catching up with family...while I prepared for summer camp for 50 kids the following week...while running errands to Ikea or Walmart pretty much everyday. It was insane. But it caused me to shift in how I saw Ramadan (as adapting worship and remembrance on the go!) and how Asif and I became more solid of a team during those initial days.

Thinking back to last year's Ramadan, I would say it was more about action, whereas this year, Ramadan became more about a state of being for us. While I attended Taraweeh prayers last year, was actively engaged in community work, and delved deeper into Islamic reflection and practice, this Ramadan didn't afford me the chance to do this. Rather, Asif and I focused more on being the Islamic wife and husband to one another that we had been waiting to be. That is WHEN we had time together, since between my two weeks of camp and Asif's field school the next two weeks after that, it felt like we lived in parallel but not quite in sync with one another! I've been craving a normal routine and we'll soon be rewarded with that InshaAllah!

So as we had our final Iftar, I reflected on the past month and feel that it was the longest month I'd ever endured. It wasn't the fasting itself that was challenging, it was everything else that went on. While I am hard on myself for not perhaps living up to the standard I set last Ramadan, I also think (God knows) that my situation this year was a lot different. And so I am trying to come to terms with accepting that I did the best that I could.

And also, Asif had a good point that our good deeds and prayers should continue beyond Ramadan. Which is true. It is unfortunate if one spends Ramadan on their best Islamic behaviour and then decides that this is enough for the rest of the year!

On the newly married side of things, there's a steep learning curve in almost every department, but it's amazing how fast you learn and adapt! And now that I think of how much we thankfully learned and grew as a couple during Ramadan, the struggles we faced were worth it. My biggest "tip" from the past 8-ish weeks that we've lived together is to never let the small things overshadow the bigger picture of your blessed marriage. It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day routine. And another tip I have is that quality time between spouses does not include spending time with one's family. As important as family is, a husband and wife need time to themselves. And that means laptops and remotes are tucked away and phones are on vibrate and out of sight! Seriously...sit down and have a face to face conversation. Joke around. Be lighthearted and cherish the love that has been placed between the two of you.

And THAT my friends is what I look forward to experiencing every day :)

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