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The Ramadan Diaries: Week 1 [MUSE]

Ayaan Nadeem

Ramadan Day 1 (March 23, 2023):

It’s the first day of Ramadan! As a Muslim, I am always looking forward to this month for many reasons. To start, it is a month of spirituality and self reflection. It allows me to really look back at the past year and see what improvements I can make. I have decided to document my Ramadan journey this year through these “diaries.” So, you might be asking, what is Ramadan? Ramadan is a month where Muslims abstain from drinking or eating from sunrise to sunset. It is also a month where Muslims believe that the devil or “Shaytan” is locked up. We try to improve in our faith during this month by reading the holy book, the Quran, doing extra prayers and more. Now, let’s dive into my personal experience with this year’s Ramadan.

I woke up at around 5:50 a.m. to pray the Tahajjud, which is an optional night prayer. From there, I ate Sehri, which is the morning meal that we eat before our fast begins. Today, the fast would start at 6:28 a.m., so we have to drink all the water we can before then. Once the fast began, I prayed Fajr, which is a obligatory prayer all Muslims pray at sunrise. I tried to go back to sleep for another hour, but unfortunately I was not able to.

I started off my school day with Spanish. The person who sat across from me brought in my favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids, and was sharing it with everyone. Although it was torturous, I survived. However, during Spanish class we ended up going outside for a walk around the school building. This was not very fun for me, as it only made me more thirsty. The rest of my school day went relatively well. It was during third period, that I started to feel the real effects of the fast. I had very little energy to participate in class. I sat in the library for lunch, and watching my friends eat was not really an issue for me since I have gotten used to it over the years. In between 3rd and 4th period, I went to small room in the library to pray my obligatory prayer of Dhuhr. During fourth period I finished the first Juz, or first section, of the Quran. My goal this Ramadan is to finish the entire Quran during this month. By the time I got home, I had almost no energy.

From around 5 to 6 p.m., I laid in my bed with no energy to complete assignments. At around 6 p.m., I prayed another obligatory prayer, Asr, and took a Quran lesson. In these lessons, I am focusing on memorizing Surah Al-Kahf, which is a very long chapter of the Quran to memorize. After this, I attended a Zoom meeting for my local Mosque, Al Salam Foundation, where we discussed event planning, volunteering, logistics and Ramadan iftars we will be hosting. Finally, after procrastinating all day, I sat down and completed my assignments for that day.

At around 7:30 p.m. my family and I drove to the Al-Huda Mosque in Fishers, where we had been invited to break our fast. At around 8 p.m., the sun finally set, and I broke my fast for the day with water and a date. It is customary that we break our fast with a date, as that is what our Prophet Muhammad did.

Helena Wang

We then all prayed the sunset prayer of Maghrib and ate some delicious food. I ended my day by praying the night prayer of Isha, and the optional prayer of Taraweeh. This is a prayer that is very long, and can last around one to two hours. While today was hard, I think that this Ramadan might be one of the best Ramadan yet.

Ramadan Day 2 (March 24, 2023):

I made it to the second day of Ramadan! Today is a Friday, which is a very sacred day for Muslims, as we pray the Jummah Prayer, which is mandated prayer that we pray on Fridays. Since it is also Ramadan, that makes today a very special day.

Since the time that our fast begins gets earlier every day, I had to wake up earlier and eat faster. Today, I was able to fall back asleep for another hour before school started. Compared to the previous day, the hunger and thirst made my day harder. In years prior, I have learned that once you get into a routine, then the fasts don’t feel as bad anymore. I survived the school day with a good amount of energy.

Then, I went to the Jummah Prayer at Al Salam after school where I saw a bunch of my Muslim friends. We listened to the Khutbah, or sermon, which was about paradise and how we can use this month to achieve it. Once I got home, I immediately crashed onto my bed, and took a nap until 6:30 p.m. Napping is a really easy way to get through the fast.

At around 7 p.m., I went to the Al Salam masjid to set up for our iftar that we were hosting. I was leading the youth volunteers today; we set out the tarps, tables and more. A few minutes before the fast opened, all of the volunteers passed out dates and water. Finally, I broke my fast. Today, we had amazing food, as it was a potluck so everyone brought something and it was delicious. It is really fun to have community gatherings in Ramadan, where everyone can come together and celebrate this blessed month.

After we cleaned everything up, we prayed the nightly prayers. I prayed Taraweeh again today, and my feet are very sore from standing for so long. At least, it is finally the weekend!

Ramadan Day 3 & 4 (March 25 and 26, 2023):

As I mentioned earlier, routine is key to Ramadan. For the past two days, I had gotten used to fasting through school. When the weekend came, however, my routine got thrown out the window. Fasting at school suddenly seemed so much easier. When you are productive and have something to do, then it keeps your mind off of the fast. Over the weekend, that all changed. The fast feels so much longer, and sometimes you have nothing to keep you occupied. These two fasts have definitely been the hardest so far. It was impossible for me to find the energy to get up, sit down and study for the three tests I have next week. I felt incredibly sluggish and tired throughout the day. My legs began to cramp because of dehydration, and I just could not get out of bed.

On Saturday, I went to an iftar that a member of our community hosted. While the food was excellent, it took everyone a while to get food and water, so we ended up waiting much longer than we should have. After iftar, I quickly went home to get changed and then we went to the mosque for Taraweeh. Once I got home I finally had the energy I needed and was able to do some work that I should have done throughout the day.

On Sunday, we finally got to eat and make iftar at home. I went to the grocery story with my mom, which was torturous because of all of the smell of food, and we got everything we needed. We went home and I started making some brownies for dessert. However, because I was fasting, I messed up the recipe and had to make everything all over again. I had more energy today, so I was able to also do some work throughout the day. Today, I did not go to Taraweeh because of all of my tests I needed to prepare for. This is okay because Taraweeh is an optional prayer.

Ramadan Day 5 (March 27, 2023):

I woke up for Sehri today super tired. I had two tests to take today and I was so tired, I knew I would not be able to do well. When I went to sleep after Sehri, I was super stressed out. I was very shocked to see the time when I woke up at 10 a.m. I had slept through my alarm, but I was confused as to why my mom or someone in my family had not woken me up. Then I saw that it was an e-learning day. My heart was filled with joy. I thanked Allah so much, because I knew I would not do well on my tests today.

I actually was able to have a very productive day today. I did not feel the fact that I was fasting until very late into the day. I completed all of my assignments and studied very hard for all of my tests. I read some Quran as well. Once I completed all of my work, I listened to an Islamic lecture about paradise. After that I scrolled on my phone watching different cooking videos. I do this almost every Ramadan, as watching cooking videos, in some ways, is able to make me feel less hungry throughout the day.

After constantly sending my mom different recipes, at around 6 p.m., I was actually able to take a nap and go to sleep. This is rare for me, as I have trouble sleeping during the day. We were having iftar at home today, and my favorite part about Ramadan is that my mom makes the most delicious food. Once we broke our fast, I prayed and helped my family clean up the kitchen. I did not go to Taraweeh today, as I wanted to get more sleep for my tests. However, after my tests were over, I want to go to Taraweeh every day of the week.

Ramadan Day 6 (March 28, 2023):

Today was a pretty normal day. During fourth period, however, I walked in the Walk of Champions. This is a walk that goes around the school to celebrate state and national winners. I had participated last semester and it was really fun, so I thought it would be this year as well. What I failed to take into account was the fact that I was fasting. So far during this Ramadan, I have not done much extensive physical activity. So, having to walk around the whole school was very exhausting. During the middle of the walk, my legs began cramping due to dehydration.

By the time we got done, I was incredibly tired and in a lot of pain. Since I had not had water since 6 a.m., my whole body felt weak. Every time I moved, it was painful for me. I made it onto the bus, but was not in a very good condition. When I got home, I threw myself onto my bed and immediately fell asleep just from pure exhaustion.

My mom woke me up a few hours later, when it was time to break our fast. I could not believe I had slept through the whole evening. I had so much work to complete for all of my classes as well as two big tests tomorrow that I still needed to do more review for. In the end, I decided to study at night, and was actually doing work until around 11 p.m. I was not too tired though, since I was able to take such a long nap during the day.

Ramadan Day 7 (March 29, 2023):

Today was the day I had been dreading for the past week. I had two major tests today. I started off in first period, where we got to make tortillas in Spanish since it was the last class period before spring break. I placed mine in a bag for me to eat when I got home later. I then made my way to chemistry, where I had my first test of the day.

As I was taking the test, I started to blank on some major concepts. I was trying really hard, but unfortunately, I knew in the back of my head that I did not study hard enough. As I was taking the test, I said a silent prayer, hoping for a miracle. I turned in the test, and although I did not do as well as I would have hoped, I tried my best.

After that, I walked up to the third floor of the A rooms to my math class. This was the test I was stressing the most about, as it was the one I needed to do really well in. It was as this point that I started to feel the fact that I was fasting as well, so that added to my stress. After doing some quick last minute review, I got the test. Despite how tired and hungry I was feeling, I felt confident and crushed the test. Although I do not have my score yet, I felt that I had really done well. I went to lunch feeling very accomplished and happy with myself.

I went home, and was extremely excited because I didn’t have to study for any more tests. I watched some TV before starting to do the small amount of homework I had for Thursday. Although I did not do as well as I had hoped on one of my tests, I still felt proud of myself for powering through, despite my fasts.

More diary entries available here.

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.  

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