Ramadhan 2021 — the body’s demands

Ramadhan Kareem!!! [Have a blessed Ramadhan]

Yet another self-isolated Ramadhan, and this year again, I will not fast. Last year, due to pregnancy, and this year as I’m still breastfeeding.

It had me thinking: how do I commemorate this month with non-Muslim family members, potential for infection making mosque attendance too risky, and being exempt from fasting itself?

Last year, I tried (and failed) to have the meditation/prayer room cleared in time for Ramadan. We eventually cleared it and converted it to a meditation/prayer AND PLAY ROOM for my son but I must admit that I have not used it for prayer in a long time.

This year, I am choosing to contemplate my own interest in Ramadhan — see, I fasted Ramadan before I even became Muslim and fell in love with the practice, less because of faith in Islam itself but rather because fasting forced me to be aware of my body. Of its needs in hunger and thirst, but also its resiliency, its capacity to withstand hunger and thirst, and my own mental ability to control my impulses.

I know pregnancy and childbirth have definitely been catalysts for this reflection, but I do want to spend the month of Ramadhan thinking about and improving upon the my body’s strength both physically and mentally. I don’t have a well-formed plan on how to go about this, but I do think it will include writing, memorizing Qu’ran, and ritual prayer [salaat].

As I remove myself from the literal experience of hunger and thirst, I want to contemplate the metaphorical ways in I fulfill my desires and needs to improve upon my mental health and physical fitness. I know I can survive without food or water during daylight hours during long Canadian summer days, and I know I’ve survived childbirth wearing a surgical mask at a hospital during a pandemic.

I also know I’ve survived the first 9 months of motherhood and that much more is to come. Hopefully, this month of contemplation will provide me with a better understanding and care of the ways by which I satisfy my desires and needs.

A blessed Ramadhan!

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