The month of Ramadan is coming up. It starts around June 28th/29th according to the Islamic calendar, which follows a lunar cycle with each new month beginning and ending with the sighting of a new moon.*
Sometimes, Ramadan does this thing where it creeps up. Then there’s that last minute, trying to get your head in the game thing to gear up for all that one does in Ramadan: not eating/drinking from dawn to sunset, maybe less sleep in order to fit in extra prayers, and all the other rituals one does on an individual level during Ramadan. I’m trying for it to not be like that this year.
On my Facebook timeline the other day, an Imam who I am friends had a status update about the start of Sha’ban this past Friday. Sha’ban is the month on the Islamic calendar right before Ramadan. Because all of us here in the west go by the Gregorian calendar, it’s easy to forget about the other months of the Islamic Calendar until Ramadan rolls around because it is with Ramadan that the start and end of the month are crucial as it signifies when we start and end our fasting and celebrate the holiday.
Okay fine maybe I shouldn’t speak for everyone – sometimes it’s easy for me to not be as cognizant about the other months. The problem with that mentality is that many months hold their own significance and even if they are not as grand or holy as Ramadan, they each deserve their place.
Every year, I try to think about all I want to accomplish during Ramadan, whether it’s increasing certain devotional practices or trying to get rid of a bad habit. I think I’ve been going about it the wrong way though. Instead of focusing just what I need to do during Ramadan, I really need to get better about preparing for it in the months that precede it and then continuing the momentum in the months that follow. And then maybe one day InshAllah I’ll get to that point where I’m actually at the level I strive to be during Ramadan all year round.
For me, being more aware of the months in general outside of Ramadan is a start. I’ve got about four weeks now to properly, um, “train” I suppose for the month of fasting. The key then after that will not to just resume life “as-is” after Ramadan but really try to take away from it and continue to be more mindful of spiritual practices. Like everything else in my life, this will always be a work in progress.
I have to be patient enough to realize I won’t be where I need to be right away. That’s always the hardest part for me – to understand that I can’t automatically become the person that I’ve always wanted to be in an instant.
It’s all about the journey though, right? I’ll just keep telling myself that :)
Have a great day everyone and I hope we can all have a beneficial Ramadan, InshAllah.
*No, this doesn’t mean we worship the moon. On a related note, check out my blog post about 5 Common Myths about Muslims.