Journal Entry 1
It is the night before Ramadan. Just a few minutes ago, I was sitting with my three children, and we discussed the importance and the blessing of the holy month that was going to start in the next few hours. In the middle of our discussion, my 3 year old daughter spoke up and exclaimed, “I want to go to Ramadan too mama, can you take me there?” Smiling from my heart, I explained to her that Ramadan is not a place we can go to, but it is a month in which there are many blessings. Obviously, I didn’t do a good job explaining because her next question was, ” Okay then, can I have a Ramadan, I really want it!”
Journal Entry 2
The first day of Ramadan is extra special for our family this year, because it is also my 6 year old daughter’s first time fasting, Masha’Allah! She ate her ‘Suhoor’ at 8 AM which included her favorite homemade banana bread! I made sure she knew that she was free to eat whenever she felt hungry. Masha’Allah, I was quite impressed with my daughter; looking at her, I would not have guessed she was fasting at all- 6 hours went by and she was still full of energy!
She played with her younger brother and sister, I read her some stories of the prophets ( may peace and blessings be upon them ), and we even did an online Islamic jigsaw puzzle together…well sort of. Okay…actually I did majority of it- but it wasn’t intentional! You see, she wanted help with one piece, for it was taking her a long time to figure out where to put it, so she asked me for assistance. Being the kind and considerate mom that I am, I decided to help her with a few more pieces, and a few more, and a few more…before I knew it, I had completed the whole puzzle for her – oops!
By 6 PM, Hafsah was holding her tummy tight. I knew this was an indication for her to break her fast, so I asked her if I should prepare her Iftar for her. Still holding her stomach out of hunger, she agreed it was time, even though she really wanted to have Iftar with her father and I. Masha’Allah, she ate 4 dates upon opening her fast, I had to stop her from eating any more!
Journal Entry 3
This week, our local library had three children programs, and I was able to take the kids to two of them. Today was the third program, a puppet show, and we had plans to go…however a much needed nap decided to take the place of the puppet show. When the kids woke up from their nap and realized we had missed the puppet show, they were quite upset.
That’s when I suggested we put on our own puppet show. Hafsah and I went to her room and found some socks to slip over our hands, and with that we started our very own puppet show! We decided since it was Ramadan, we would have the puppets fasting and ask the puppets what their favorite food for Iftar was. All the puppets proudly announced their favorite foods, and when it came time for my puppet to share its favorite food, I said it was noses! Suddenly my sock puppet went around and pinched each child’s nose, at this point all the kids were laughing!
Journal Entry 4
Today was a difficult day of fasting, my feet felt like they were burning and I felt like I had no energy to do anything. I was completely exhausted half way through my fast. Then I remembered something my husband told me just before Ramadan:
It is reported in the Hadith of ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (Radi Allahu Anhu) who said that Fatimah (Radi Allahu Anha) came to the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and asked him for a servant. He said, “Shall I not tell you of something that is better for you than that? When you go to sleep, say ‘Subhan’Allah’ thirty-three times, ‘Allhumdulillah’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty four times.” (Bukhari).
I decided to give this a try, and I found instant peace upon recitation of these words, Subhan’Allah.
Journal Entry 5
This Ramadan has been different from others, not only is it because Hafsah had her first fast, but because this year my husband was able to take some time off of work and be home for the first three weeks of Ramadan. It has been nice and we all have been benefitting- The kids are spending more quality time with their father and learning a lot in regards to Islam, and my benefit has been my husband preparing Iftar for me, and I have to admit, I look forward to his tea and the way he cuts up the fruit for the fruit salad.
Journal Entry 6
I open my social media accounts to find pictures, and videos of the horrific state of Palestine. It breaks my heart, but what hurts more is that the West is not only ignoring the murdering of Palestinians, but they are supporting the Israeli’s evil acts! My mind is full of rage and my heart is full of sadness!
Journal Entry 7
I see this on my friend’s Facebook wall:
“Srebrenica, Bosnia 1995 – A young woman of 22 was on the refugee bus, with her two-year-old daughter. The child cried a lot, probably of hunger or thirst. Eventually a soldier came to tell her he’ll get her something to stop the child crying. He took the little one and brought her later back to the mum. Saying “she won’t cry anymore now” . He didn’t feed the child, he slit her throat, returning the limp bloody child, covered in blood to her mother. Just one story of a mother losing her child, there are literally thousands more. Never ever forget the Serbian genocide on Bosnian Muslims.”
My heart is aching and I’am left speechless. I have no words.
Journal entry 8
My sister from France calls and informs me of the tragedy that is taking place in Burma: People, families, and CHILDREN are dying due to starvation. How can this be happening? What’s going on?! Has this world gone mad?!
Journal Entry 9
Today is a day of reflection. I sit on the couch thinking of my children, and those children that are suffering around the world. When Hafsah was going through her first fast, I vividly remember her holding her stomach in hunger. Alhumdulilah, I was able to give her food for Iftar, which caused her to forget all about her hunger pains. But what about the children that are dying of hunger? Often times, these children hold their stomachs out of hunger and in pain until they take their precious last breath on this earth.
I think back to last Ramadan, when my then 14 month old son was experiencing separation anxiety, leading me to carry him on my hip all day, and rocking him in an infant rocker all night. But what about the children that are so badly injured that no matter what they can’t be comforted even by their parents? Or worse yet, what about those children who have no one to comfort them at all because their loved ones have been taken away from them in the most brutal form. I was there for my son, but these children have nothing that will ease their pain. My heart is breaking, my soul is crying, my mind is racing, my tears are flowing, my hands are shaking. Prior to Ramadan, my goal was to find peace in the holy month of Ramadan, however Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) had other plans for me and our Ummah. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) clearly wanted us to find truth; to see the reality of what’s really going on, and what has been occurring in certain parts of the world. Our history is full of bloodshed, and so is our present…will our future be the same?
Journal Entry 10
I feel emotionally drained due to what’s happening in this world. To raise three young children, and to take note of the devastations of this world is truly tearing me apart – will I ever be whole again?
Journal Entry 11
I have a confession: I’ve become obsessed with social media. Yes, social media. Before Ramadan started, I told myself I wasn’t going to go on social media that often, but I can’t help it after seeing what’s happening in Palestine. My heart and soul are drawn to every image of a hurting or murdered child of Palestine. I feel the need to immediately share every video or status that exposes the truth of what really is going on in Palestine and to ‘like’ every picture on Instagram that is related to the devastating state of this country. But you know what? It’s not fair to my kids. I need to remember to be there for my kids, but instead I’m glued to my iPad. I need to realize that I have done all that I could; I have signed the petitions, I have shared many pictures of the truth, and most importantly I have made sincere dua. Although I will continue to participate in these acts, I do need to remind myself that my children need me and they are my priority.
Journal Entry 12
It’s been a very tough week for both my children and I. To make up for the lack of attention I have been giving my children, I decide that it would be best to do some family crafting. Here are the links to some of Islamic crafts we did as a family:
DIY Islamic Dolls & Prayer Mats
99 Names of Allah, Flowers in a Pot
DIY Kaaba Box of Knowledge
Journal Entry 13
Subhan’Allah it is raining quite heavily today! I decide to pray by the open window: as the wind blows through my hijab while I am in prayer, I feel absolute peace and comfort. The sound of the roaring winds is muted by the holy words of Salaah, and this is how my heart finds rest. In this chaotic place, which is defined as the world, it is easy to get caught up in the noise, in the mess, and in the troubles; but when you think of the final destination there is a calmness that washes over your entire body from within. Tonight, I’am showered in this calmness, Subhan’Allah. I finish my prayers whilst being intertwined in the waves of peace and I thank Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for allowing me to find what I was looking for this Ramadan: Peace.
Journal Entry 14
Today is the start of the last week of Ramadan; it is also the first day my husband goes back to work. Reality is settling in: Ramadan will end soon.
Journal Entry 15
I’am grateful. Just grateful. Alhumdulillah for everything.
Journal Entry 16
This Ramadan has been like no other in so many ways. There were many positives such as my daughter’s first fast and my husband being home during Ramadan for the first time since we have been married. However, this Ramadan also differs from all previous one’s because of the heartache. The heartache that has been caused by knowing that there are those around the world suffering while we sit comfortably in our homes. This Ramadan, my goal was to find peace, however that goal was obstructed by images of tiny bodies being buried in dirt and covered in blood, and by the terrifying videos of bombs going off.
Although, these images and videos threw me further away from the peace I was searching for, in the end these very images and videos drew me closer to the peace that was not initially within my reach. I found this peace by remembering that those that are destroyed by the hands of cruelty and injustice will get revenge on the day of judgement; Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will punish those that have murdered innocent families, and He will give paradise to the precious children that were brutally taken from this world.
Journal Entry 17
Eid day- As I kiss my child’s forehead, I can’t help it but think of those mothers that are unable to. The Palestinian mothers who have buried their dead children as a result of war, the mothers of Burma who have no children due to starvation. And what about those Syrian orphans who have no mother to kiss them, for their mothers have been brutally taken away from this world. On this blessed day of Eid, I thank Allah for everything, and I pray for those families that are grieving. Ya Allah, please give these families sabr (patience) and strength!
*Published in 2014