Last Friday was the Eid Prayer. As you remember, we’ve been attending our little mosque’s Eid Prayer for several years and each year it the attendance keeps getting larger and larger. Why? Well, I think that the community likes to pray behind our Imam. I also think that they like to pray outside. I think that our youth group does a really great job of organizing the event, from parking attendants to entertainment and the food.
This year, the youth, in cooperation with the Imams of 5 of our mosques, organized 1 huge Unified Prayer Event. It was a beautiful thing to be able to pray with all of our friends. The khutba was in English first and Arabic second. There was more than enough room for everyone. We had a parking shuttle, a photo booth and food trucks! I took many pictures, and even a video of the prayer so I could show you. I’m having a difficult time uploading it though, since it is 8 minutes long. If anyone has advise on how to upload a video that size, please share.
How have you been? It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Eid. Does it seem to you that this Ramadan went by pretty fast? I don’t know what happened. It seems like just the other day we were ramping up for the first week and now Poof! Its finished.
I started this post on Monday, and because the days were super busy preparing for Eid weekend, I didn’t get it published until today. GO Figure. I should have stopped time so I could have 1 more hour to upload and tweak my post. Lets still take some time and review what went well this Ramadan and what didn’t work out so great.
Suhoor – I saw this online a few days ago and I thought it was soo true. (Theirs said something about eating Kunafa for breakfast.) Suhoor week 1 – Scrambled eggs with beef, Cheese, Melon, Milk . Suhoor week 4 – Milk & Juice. Today, the last day of fasting, I made beef and duck bacon with pancakes. Only Mr. Fox ate.
Iftar – We are unlike a lot of families in that we don’t really change our eating habits during this month. We don’t cook big, lavish spreads. We eat leftovers. We get takeout. We eat breakfast for supper. The only differences are when we eat Community Iftars and when we invite Mr. and Mrs. Imam over, we cook a lot more dishes.
Community Iftars – Nothing to report. Seriously! Week 1 I took Watergate Salad. Week 2 we took Mango Kunafa and Macaroons. Week 3 we skipped. Week 4 we took Pig Pickin’ Cake. (Google it, I’m not lying.)
Every week, I sat with Mrs. Imam and a bunch of ladies that spoke English. Usually there was a bilingual speaker sitting with us in case Mrs. Imam was missing out on the conversation, but otherwise it was really a nice atmosphere. Last week, I was even asked to help with specific tasks.
Our community Iftars are set up segregated family style. Women on one side of the room, men on the other side and some out in the hall and prayer room. Most of the time Khaled sits in the same room with us. Baby Steps. Right?
I do know that there are community Iftars at the other mosques and even the community center in town, but I’m just now comfortable with our home mosque event. I’m not sure how well it would go if we went someplace else. I don’t want to risk it. Y’no?
Eid Shopping – I ordered abayas before Ramadan even began so we are all set for that. No last-minute shopping. I also got them some small gifts that I knew they would like, and we picked up some books. I’m taking my ladies for Eid Manicures this week as part of their present. We are also going to be doing a bunch of special stuff this weekend so we are super excited.
Decorations – We have our lantern collection out, and I forgot that I picked up some new lanterns when I was shopping over the last year. Plus, we added those sweet Crescent Star lights and some colorful faerie lights we picked up on Christmas clearance.Activities – We kept our activities to a minimum. It wouldn’t seem like it based on my constant driving rotation, but Arabic & Quran class, Guitar, volunteering and exercising. This year we did something new and organized an activity for a bunch of the kids who were fasting. I went to a paint your own pottery place that we often go to that is locally owned and arranged for the kids to cut out crescent moons and stars. Once they were fired, we went back and glazed them and then the next week we picked them up and turned them into garlands. It was a wonderful experience. We basically took over the place. Next year I’m going to arrange it on a day where the studio is closed to the public.
Failures – I ran out of ideas on what to feed everyone. We didn’t invite as many people over as we would have liked. I woke up late one day and everyone had just 10 minutes to chug some drinks. We didn’t listen to Quran before Iftar this year, and didn’t attend any tarweeh. Despite my running everywhere it seems like every day…they were bored. Our off days were filled with reading, games and a few bike rides thrown in for good measure. I kept working and doing what I needed to keep the family comfortable. I know it wasn’t super exciting, but really, there weren’t enough hours in the day to do any more.
How did this Ramadan go for you?
On Monday, I received this letter from M:
I recently got engaged to an Arabic muslim man, he was born in Jordan but came to Canada when he was just 5 years old, he basically grew up here, however I can see that he has Arabic culture strongly rooted in him. I myself come from Mexico and just came to canada 7 years ago. Although Canada is a multicultural place mexico is a very Catholic rooted country. I am not extremely religious, I have seen a lot of injustice happening in the Catholic Church so I don’t really believe in the institution of religion but I am an spiritual person and I do believe in God. I met him at work and right from the bat we started having these discussions about his beliefs and my beliefs and where do we stand because I didn’t really want to be wasting my time with someone that I could not see my self having a future.He is a more liberal muslim, he has had pre marital relations before, he drinks, parties and all this. He was a little bit of a party boy and a flirt with girls. Although I am not very religious in the sense of going to church and all that I have very strong morals and I am more on the conservative side. And I believe that is one of the main things that he found attractive in me, that I am a caring loving person, more conservative etc. We knew each other for a year as simply friends and started dating a year and a half ago, we moved in together last October and recently got engaged. I have already meet all his friends and family, actually this happened 6 months in the relationship. The parents doesn’t know we live together but they know me and I have spent time with them, they call me from time to time, and they welcomed me to their family. He has also known my family etc so in those terms we are Ok.Where I need advice is to understand more about the religion and culture, there are things that I fully don’t approve of or fully understand, and some things that do make me uncomfortable.. i do not approve wearing the hijab because the way I have been exposed to it all my life has been as a way to diminish women, so I wanted to understand your views on that. I do not believe you need to cover your hair to be close to god, I am more on the idea that being a good person will bring you close to god but not being as strict and covering your hair. He has told me he would never expect me to do it obviously as well as he would never ask me to convert or anything like that, his mom does wears it and as much as I try to respect it it still feels a little uncomfortable knowing that if I ever have girls they could be immerse into wearing that which I really don’t like. So from a woman’s perspective I wanted to understand what is your view on that.Secondly the Ramadan festivities I have a hard time understanding them as well, since my views are that it’s unhealthy to not eat or drink for over 15 hours. Which is what is happening now, he is fasting and here in canada the sunrise is at 4 am and gets dark around 9pm. He told me he would never ask me to fast but i am just overall having a hard time understanding it and in my mind it feels very unhealthy. Also as a latin person I do need to feel contact to feel loved and appreciated so not being able to have a good morning kiss or goodnight kiss before going to work or when we come back from work really annoys me, because having some acknowledgement and a reminder that we love each other is very important to me. I am not asking to make out but just as a show of care..
Wow! There has been a lot going on this last 5 days. A lot of stuff publicly, and a lot of stuff at home. Some that has everything to do with Ramadan, and some that has nothing to do with Ramadan other than being distracting. :-) You know how life gets in the way sometimes?
Last week both of my contributions to Interfaith Ramadan were published back to back. On Tuesday, June 23rd, my post, ‘Fasting for Faith’ was shared. I knew that it was going to happen, but it was still surprising. There was quite a lot of positive feedback. I won’t repost the entire piece here, but here is a sample, and you can click the link.
Since last Ramadan, I’ve been searching for a way to bring that meditative focus into my life. As a non-Muslim, non-practicing Christian, I don’t have a spiritual family to turn to as a guide. I find inspiration from different sources and incorporate them into my daily communion with God.
On June 24th, the second of my contributions was compiled in a panel response to the question, “What can I do if I’m not Fasting?” When Sarah asked for responses to this topic, she suggested 200 – 300 words. I drafted my response and was well over that range. I did end up editing quite a bit, but I still had much to say on the topic.
Every year Khaled tells me the same thing. “It doesn’t make sense for you to fast Ramadan. It makes you sick, and you are not required to fast. Take care of yourself so you can take care of us.”So, that’s what I do now. I am the support staff, the keeper of schedules and maker of meals.
My co-panelists Gayla and Jillian Pikora approached this question quite differently than I did. Gayla told about her monetary donation in place of fasting, and Jillian shared with us her journey of being able to fast, and then not being able to and how she creatively substituted spiritual practice.
I’ve been sharing articles every day over on Facebook at the MyIslamicLife page and through my own page, Kristina ElSayed. I’m much more active there, so if you like, follow me. It won’t be stalker-ish. Promise.
Over last weekend, I went to the community iftar with my family. It was the second one of this Ramadan. It went fairly well. No big issues, really. The first Saturday, we took Watergate Salad (aka Green Fluff) and last weekend, we took Khaled’s newest dessert creation. It was layered with kunafeh, cheesecake and mango.
That plate was clean when we retrieved it to go home! I also made coconut macaroons. We sat, both days, with Mrs. Imam and some of my friends. Its kinda funny and a little sweet/awkward though. We all want to sit together so we can talk and not feel isolated in a sea of Arabic chatter, but securing enough seats at one table is difficult when you don’t know who is going to be there, and you run the risk of shunning another attendee just because you were trying to include everyone.
Last Saturday, while talking during dinner, I shared with my friend that we had this cooking for Ramadan thing worked out. One day for take out, one day for breakfast and one day for community iftar. She had it All Locked Down though! She only cooks 3 nights a week for Iftar, going to other community meals when we are choosing to stay home. It’s all good though. I’m glad she has it worked out that way. I hope that everyone can figure out a cooking schedule that works well for their family and doesn’t burden any one person too much.
The two tips I have to share with you this week are this.
1-Melatonin tablets are a wonderful way to nudge yourself towards sleep when you would rather be awake.
2-Wheat Grass shots give you an amazing amount of energy.
My contribution for the My Mosque, My Story series this Ramadan sponsored by Side Entrance is ready to be edited. I can’t remember exactly when it will be published, but I’ll share it on Facebook, Twitter and here!