My first Ramadan as a mother came as a surprise to me. Before the month started, I was aware that my productivity levels during the month will be lower than previous ones. Nevertheless, I did not envision the month to be like it was. I had no free time to dedicate to extra prayers and reciting the Quran, the exhaustion from the night before (with an infant) made it too difficult to wake from my slumber for suhoor, and I was forced to be absent from iftar every evening because I felt compelled to stick to my son’s bedtime routine.
I did realise and value that taking care of a baby is also considered a form of worship; however, I still felt like I missed out on experiencing Ramadan to the fullest last year.
I have now had a chance to reflect on last year’s Ramadan; there are practices that I will bring forward and capitalise on during Ramadan 2022 and aspects that I hope to do differently this year.
Below are my intentions for Ramadan 2022:
- Wake up for suhoor: anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a breakfast person; I simply cannot function without breakfast. I also love the atmosphere and peace experienced during this time of morning, especially in Ramadan.
- Continue to be absent from iftar: the time of iftar will again fall during my son’s bedtime routine. This year however, I will not allow it to be a source of disappointment or sadness for me. I understand that there will be many years to come when I will be able to open my fast with my family again. However, for now I would rather have a calm, sleeping baby than an overtired, cranky one after a day of fasting.
- Reconsider my approach to connecting with the Quran during Ramadan: since I was old enough to fast and understand the significance of the month of Ramadan, I have tried ardently to complete a full recitation of the Quran during Ramadan. Therefore, last year I tried to do the same, but in all honesty, I can’t even remember if I was able to do it. This shows me that in my heart and mind, I do not consider this practice to be weighty and of much benefit to me spiritually. Therefore, this year, I hope to deepen my relationship with the Quran by focusing more on its meaning, understanding its words, and how they apply to my everyday life, rather than just on its recitation.
- Take advantage of my hearing: last year during Ramadan, I started listening to Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s Ramadan Ruminations and The Jewels of the Qur’an. These lecture series helped deepen my connection with Allah through increasing my knowledge about the Quran. I know that this year will be much like last, in terms of the little time and effort that I will have to dedicate to extra prayers. Nevertheless, listening to Islamic talks and the recitation of the Quran are acts that I can do whilst I look after my toddler during the day and at the end of the day, when I feel too exhausted to do much more.
- Take in Ramadan content: this can be content in the form of Ramadan vlogs and blogs by content creators. This can be somewhat controversial depending on what you consider as productive and what you consider as time wasted. For me, I do not consider Ramadan content created by influencers to be fruitless. I found that during the difficult periods of Ramadan last year, I found comfort and inspiration when watching and reading about other people’s experience of Ramadan.
These are some of my reflections on my first Ramadan as a mother and how I intend to make the most of the month this year. Nevertheless, as I write this, I am aware that this year’s Ramadan will also present its own unique challenges, as I continue to manage my new role as a Muslim proofreader and copyeditor.
I am slowly beginning to learn that we as humans are rarely stagnant; we experience a myriad of different seasons during our lifetime; thus, our traditions and practices will naturally adapt to able us to thrive in life.