Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ramadan day 12

I think I have gotten a pattern down for fasting.  I do get tired of eating oatmeal, which I've eaten everyday except sundays for suhoor.  I drink plenty of water, which only means that I'm going to the bathroom constantly after fajr.

I read the quran today.  I don't recall the exact surah/ayat but it says to do formal prayer 3 times a day, not five times.  I think the 5 time a day prayer came from a hadith.  I still pray 5 times a day.  It doesnt seem like a big burden for me, and I always feel better for it.  I know there's people called quranists I think that strictly follow the quran and not sunnah.  I am still learning so it's all new to me.  I try to pick up on what the ahadith are, but I dont follow every one.

I think tomorrow I will try to make it to iftar at the mosque.

Peace and blessings to all

Monday, July 30, 2012

ramadan day 11

I kept the things I had learned about taqwa yesterday in mind.  Especially, the spiritual obligations of fasting: according to the teacher they are fasting of the tongue, ear, eyes, limbs.

I have noticed that I feel better at the end of fasting then I do in the middle.  Maybe, it's just knowing that I have an hour or two to go.  I dont know, I just feel more spiritually connected in the evening.

In addition to reading a section (juz) of the quran each day, I have been reading another book, Sufism, The Transformation of the Heart by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.  I have read other sufism books before but I really like this one.  It affirmed something that I have been thinking about for awhile, that 'la ilaha illa llah', has a more profound meaning than simple 'there is no God but God'.  Something more than just there is only one God, but that there is nothing but Allah.  That all of the material things, and worries, and concerns, and stresses are illusion, there is only really Allah.  I can't quite say it as eloquently as he did.

Well, I guess I'm still searching for something more.  I sometimes feel lost, wandering in some lonely desert.  I am not even sure what I'm looking for.

On a lighter note, grocery shopping is much cheaper when fasting. :)

Peace and blessings to all

Sunday, July 29, 2012

ramadan day 10

It's last so this will be a quick post.  I went to the new muslim class at a mosque nearby.  It was the same new muslim class that I took shahada at 2 years ago.  The teacher was talking about Taqwa, what it is and how you achieve it.  Basically, it means there's more to fasting than not eating or drinking.  It also means watching what you say, see, and even hear.  One thing I liked was that one of the steps was doing a self evaluation at the end of each fast each day. 

Peace and blessings to all

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ramadan day 9

I feel so sleepy today.  I got up early and did my usualy routine.  That is, prepare suhoor, do exercise, eat suhoor, wudu, then fajr.  I do the exercise before fajr because I'm worried that I will be too dehydrated the rest of the day if I do it after the fast starts.  I took a nap right around noon.  I got up and went grocery shopping later right before asr.  I surprised to see lots of muslims at the store, the only reason I believe they were muslims is because the women wore hijabs. :)  anyway, i guess they are buying food for iftar tonight. 

I feel somewhat lonely today.  seeing the families in the store, I think of what it might be like to not be secretive about being a muslim.  I might still be just as lonely.  I think I'm good at being a muslim in one sense, that, in spite of no one knowing or seeing me, I continue to pray salat, give zakat, and fast.  But, on the other hand, I continue to carry it as a secret.  I havent told any friends or family since the whole mess with my ex wife happened.

Tomorrow, inshallah, I plan to attend the new muslim class, that I did shahada in 2 years ago.  I have not been back since then.  I hope that I can meet some people there. 

Peace and blessings to all

Friday, July 27, 2012

ramadan day 8

Friday has come around again.  One week into ramadan.  I went to jumah today.  I wasnt clear about what the entire khutbah was about, for example, the speaker talked about 3 levels of muslims but I wasnt clear about what they were.  But, what I did hear was the highest level was something like those people that not only believe but carry through in all their actions, good deeds.  These people were godly people.  It's really hard for me to see myself as godly, but whatever I do, I want my actions to be 'good' (whatever that means).  For me, it means having thought and caring for others.
When I pray, I ask Allah to be a servant, to provide what is needed for others.  I dont know if I could ever be a perfect muslim, reciting the quran in arabic, following every hadith, etc.  But, I do hope
that I can love everyone, treat them with respect, and show little acts of kindness so that others know someone is thinking of them. 

Peace and blessings to all

ramadan days 1 - 7

I entered this ramadan wanting to really take part in it.  By that, I mean fasting, not just skipping lunch but the entire day.  This year, I have gone through divorce and moved out.  The last 2 years have been a time when I have questioned myself about my faith and what is correct.  It still burdens me, can Islam be right for me, if I came to it in such as bad way (through cheating on my wife). 
For me, this ramadan is about a journey that I'm taking to find myself and to be closer to Allah (God).

So, as I've said before day 1 was a struggle, especially the last 4 hours before sun down.  I had a terrible headache and felt like I would be sick.  I thought that watching a movie during this time would be good since I wouldnt be moving around too much.  Still, it was not a good experience.
That night, I really questioned whether being a muslim was right for me.  I didnt think I could go
through another 29 days of nearly being sick like this.  I wondered if other muslims went through this
or if I just didnt have what it takes. 

Day 2 was much different.  It was saturday so I got to take a nap in the afternoon.  In the late afternoon, I went grocery shopping and did things I would normally do.  I felt fine.  Day 3 was the
same.  So, once getting over day 1 things have gone better.  I dont have the terrible headache or feel sick.  I do feel hungry of course and my mouth feels dry and my lips stick to my teeth.  But, strangely, I feel better at the end of the day before breaking fast.  I feel more clear, more at peace.

Breaking my fast has been very unusual in that I am not around other muslims and havent told anyone what I'm doing.  So, on wednesday, iftar was a chili cheese dog (beef) at an astros game.
Thursday night, day 7, was just whatever leftovers I could dig out of the refrigerator. 

I do intend to go to iftar at the masjid, next week inshallah.  But for now, I guess I will continue my strange adventure.  I want to tell the people in my life that I'm muslim, I'm really tired of carrying secrets.  It's destroyed so much of my life already.  I pray that I will have the courage to do it.

Peace and blessings to all

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Ramadan is here.  Actually, this is day 6 of 30.  Since converting 2 years ago, I have never properly fasted during ramadan.  I might have skipped lunch or just forgot it altogether.  This is the first ramadan that I have actually fasted from fajr to maghrib.  The first day was the worst.  It started with a headache and then i started to feel really sick towards the end.  I survived it and made it to sundown.  The days since then have not been too bad at all.

On sunday, I went to the masjid and prayed asr.  It was my first time to pray in the masjid that wasnt for jumah.  Oh, yeah, I have been going to jumah for the last month or so.  I do enjoy going to pray there.  The only time I have been in congregation before that was when I go to the prayer room at my work for dhuhur.

Also, I have been reading the quran during ramadan as well.

Despite this, I feel like I'm still missing out on something more.  Other muslims seem really excited about this time of year yet even with fasting and reading the quran, it doesnt feel as meaningful.  I think it's because I dont come from a family of muslims.  I dont get up and share my suhoor with anyone.  There's no iftar with my family.  I think for them, ramadan is more like christmas.  I dont really feel that right now.  It's more of a spiritual time for me.  The cultural holiday festive event part is missing.

As an update, I am now divorced.  I now have my own apartment.  I still own my condo though.  My ex wife and ex mother in law live there for now.  We are all on good terms.  My cat is still in the condo as well.