Subhan’Allah this Ramadan has been a very different one for me. No Ramadan gift baskets, no iftars (the meal to break the fast) for guests (just one for my parents). No Ramadan cards or Eid cards and not much planning ahead. The long hot days of fasting have meant that I have less energy than usual. This Ramadan also has been about identifying priorities and sacrificing other things that give me pleasure. So every time I have a bit of time I have to make a choice about whether I should blog or read the Quran, whether I would like to do some crafting or spend some extra time in the kitchen planning a healthy meal for my family.
The first week of fasting had me aching and exhausted, probably from suddenly losing high doses of sugar and coffee from my diet, and so I have been taking it easy, doing one thing at a time and trying not to feel guilty about not doing as much as I would like to. A weekend and one more week of fasting later I seem to have found my stride and it almost feels as if this is a much healthier way of being than the normal routine of not fasting and eating whatever, whenever.
I am quite grateful for mum-in-law being here. She wakes us in the morning as both I and hubby have been so exhausted that we sleep right through any alarm (she somehow manages to wake without any alarm).
The poor kids have spent most of the school holidays at home, running around the garden and house causing havoc, having picnics in the garden, hauling all sorts of food outside, creating a “girls” club with the neighbours lovely little girls and generally running rings round their gran. My neighbour claimed she was too tired to take her girls anywhere as well. I will take the week after Ramadan off and take them somewhere special I think.
Aside from that we have had an interesting week with the rioting in London (thank you for your concern E!). Work has been shutting offices early so that people can get home in good time and East London saw sporadic looting and vandalism. Jewellers were looted on the main road that I live off and their windows cleared of expensive Indian gold (empty jewellery display cases strewn along the street). My cousin who lives near Green Street described how looters were chased away with sticks and knives by the local shopkeepers. Now we are hearing lots of attempts at an explanation, from cuts in funding for community activities to lack of youth facilities to lack of jobs. All utter crap of course, because these things can lead reasonably to disquiet and protest, but not reasonably to violence, vandalism, arson, theft and assault of innocent people. I believe that when people are so removed from their fitrah (true nature), when they become so disillusioned, so de-sensitised to the pain of others and believe that there is completely no justice in the world or consequence for their actions then they can do absolutely anything. The young and not so young people involved in the rioting obviously operate in a moral vacuum where there is no right or wrong except what suits them. I believe that nothing can fix this broken society in the way Islam could. May Allah (SWT) bring the peace and beauty of this faith into every heart insh’Allah.
Work is also keeping me super, super busy. The working day starts and is over before I know it. I have been seconded to two very interesting projects, both 2012 Olympics related and I am absolutely loving it. I have been doing performance-related work for two years and had got rather fed up of it before this opportunity came along. I am getting the chance to learn programme and project management skills, about procurement processes, running consultations and undertaking equality assessments, working with a number of firms and consultants and hopefully a university soon. I have been travelling around the borough gathering information for one of the projects which was tough the first (hot!) week of Ramadan, but has been fine since. I also got to visit the Olympic Stadium which was interesting, apart from the bit where we stood in tunnels whilst engineers counted bricks along walls.
I am exhausted again, so am off to bed. I hope everyone is having a blessed Ramadan full of barakah and ibadah (worship) insh’Allah. Ameen.