Sunday, August 19, 2012


I got up early today and didnt eat breakfast right away.  I had coffee and did some stretching.  It rained all night and into the early morning.  It stopped as I got ready to go Eid prayer.  I had been worried that I might get wet walking over to the convention center near my home.

It was about a mile walking over.  There was no rain.  The walk felt really wonderful.  I got there and sat up front on the fourth row.  First, there was takbeerat which is repeating 'allahu akbar' over and over by different people.  This took about an hour. 

Then there was the eid prayer itself.  Which was only two rakats and then some short speeches. 
They actually had to repeat the prayer because people got stuck in traffic.  There were so many people there.  Must have been thousands.  I was hanging around after the prayer and I ran into someone I see in the prayer room at work.  It was nice to see a familiar face.  Then later I met
someone else I knew.  I got his phone number.  He is the guy that does the adhan at jumah.
I am glad I made contact with another muslim.  I would like to have some more muslim friends.

I walked home, this time it was raining but I didnt mind at all.  It wasnt raining too hard and I
enjoyed getting to walk to a place where I could pray with thousands of other muslims.

Peace and blessings to all

Saturday, August 18, 2012

ramadan day 30

I made it!  Ramadan has come and gone.  30 days of fasting.  After the first day, I didnt think I would get through fasting for an entire month.  I have been feeling a lot of gratitude today.  I'm grateful for the special friends that I have, that support and encourage me.  I am grateful that my ex wife and I have a good friendship.  I am grateful that I am not doing the insane things that I was doing 2 years ago. 

I will enjoy my exta hour of sleep tomorrow and lunch!  I will most likely go to Eid Salat tomorrow.  It's near enough that I can walk there.  I'm so tired though, the though of sleeping after fajr until noon sounds tempting.

Anyway, I am proud of myself for taking on fasting during this ramadan.  Just to reflect on what I did:
I fast the entire 30 days.
I started attending the class for new muslims again
I attended iftar at the mosque.
I almost finished reading the quran. 
I learned more about taqwa.

I hope this is just the start of my spiritual journey, inshallah. 

Peace and blessings to all

Friday, August 17, 2012

ramadan day 29

I feel exhausted today.  I slept some but still feel tired.  That has been the overwhelming feeling during ramadan. Part of me wants to skip Eid prayer altogether and sleep until noon on sunday.
I hope to get some rest tomorrow afternoon.

I havent completed reading the quran for today.  I read some this afternoon but I got so tired I just went to sleep. 

As I was leaving the mosque after jumah today, I felt really lonely.   I wonder if I will ever have friends or feel a part of the muslim community here.  It's times like this where I start to doubt myself. Like, maybe being a muslim is a bad idea for me or I will never belong.  I dont know.  I feel closer to Allah so that's great.

Peace and blessings to all

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ramadan day 28

Today was last day of fasting while in the office.  Next week, I will be back to emptying out the water cooler. :)  Once again, I got to the end of the day, and didnt realize right away that it was time to break my fast.  I wasnt in a big rush to drink water.  I just had a little juice and some raisins and walnuts and then went to do magrib.

I had my third interview with the company in Singapore.  Another hour long technical interview.  Last week, I was upset and felt like a loser.  At the end of tonight's call I just was glad to have it be
over.  I would love to live somewhere overseas but I'm not sure this is the place for me.  I'll just turn it over to Allah. 

I feel tired still.  I took a nap before breaking fast but I still feel tired.  I was trying to finish my quran reading for the day and I just couldnt get my brain to process anymore.  I still have some to do before sleeping.

Peace and blessings to all

ramadan day 27

I have gotten so used to my fasting pattern, it's hard to imagine what I did before.  I will appreciate the extra hour of sleep and being able to drink water when I'm thirsty.  I don't know if I feel any more pure after fasting during ramadan.  But I did learn that I can live without even water for long periods. 

I have kept up with my quran reading.  I will be happy to have completed it on saturday.  I guess something always seems to bother me about Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) is
the need to threaten people with hell.  Or I should say it is certainly brought up a lot. 

I have my third interview for the Singapore job.  I keep debating whether I really want to go or not. 
I can stay here and continue to go through life as a closet muslim with no real muslim friends but
still comfortable.  Or I could go to Singapore.  I could really start life over there.  But I would be
far from home, I dont know if I will like the job, and I dont know anyone really. 

I pray that Allah will guide me in the right direction.

Peace and blessings to all

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

ramadan day 26

I was doing laundry late last night and didnt get to bed until midnight.  Then, having to get up at 4am to cook suhoor and do my cardio exercise was brutal.  I was so tired all day.  Some times I would be sitting at my desk, close my eyes for a second and could almost feel myself going to sleep.  I made it through the day came home and immediately took  a nap.  I have pretty much adjusted to fasting and being without food and drink.  The lack of sleep really does me in still. 

I know that other muslims will stay at the mosque to pray on the odd numbered nights in order to hit the night of power.  When I was there sunday, I saw sleeping bags in the back of the prayer hall in the mosque.  I dont know if I could do that if I was working during the day at the same time. 

It's just not good for me emotionally or physically when I'm sleep deprived.  I get upset much more easily and worse I get really absent minded.

I heard from the recruiter in Singapore this morning.  The company definitely is interested in me and wants to do a third interview.  It's another technical interview, which is all of the fun of having your teeth pulled I imagine.   See how it goes.

ramadan day 25

I recited the quran instead of reading it.  I learned in class on sunday that they are two different things. It's good to know these things I guess.  Reciting means reading aloud.  I read aloud but very softly since I read in my office during lunch.

I found out that the company in Singapore wants a third interview despite the fact that I didnt do well last time.  I still have mixed feelings about it.  Mostly, I like the idea of moving to Singapore more than I like this particular company.  It would give me a chance to have a fresh start on life.  I can be openly muslim without the baggage of past relationships. 

Iftar consisted of leftover pizza and asparagus while doing my laundry and watching star trek. :)

Peace and blessings to all

Sunday, August 12, 2012

ramadan day 24

Wow! It's actually the last sunday of ramadan.  Next sunday is Eid.  Not sure if I'm thinking more about the prayer service or what I'll eat for lunch. :)

Taqwa.  I have been thinking about that quite a bit this past week.  It's something I have had on my mind during this ramadan.  I wanted my experience this month to be more than just fasting, even though fasting is quite an accomplishment since I have never given myself completely to it.  But in my class for new muslims, we were taught that taqwa is happiness that means between hope and fear.

I can get the hope part.  I have lots of hopes for my spirituality.  That I can be closer to Allah.  That I can remember Him more often than I do now. 

Fear I didnt understand at first.  Christians and muslims both talk about being God-fearing.  I guess
I never really understood that.  I feel that Allah loves humans very much.  I dont know, maybe it's the
whole thing about going to hell.  But I heard another definition of fear regarding Allah.  Not that you fear some great punishment but that if you were standing before Allah, you would be awestruck.
Just how magnificent Allah is.  I can get that. 

For me, the fear part is more like an overwhelming feeling.  I had the feeling after salat this afternoon. Like I could not say thank you enough to Allah for all the blessings that I have.
Just the fact that I'm alive,  the human body has to have so many things operate correctly
just to stay living. 

Peace and blessings to all

Saturday, August 11, 2012

ramadan day 23

Today was another day of fasting and reading the quran.  Heading into the last week of ramadan, I dont know that I feel significantly different than before.  I have fasted the each day, but I dont know
that I feel any closer to achieving taqwa now.  I havent been diligent in performing a self evaluation
before breaking fast.  I havent done anything as egregious as sex, blatantly gossiping or lying.  I have
used some foul language though.  I try to limit myself but when I get upset, certain words end up coming out. 

I thought about going to iftar again at the mosque but decided against it.  I had a lot of errands to run including taking care of my cat, making sure he gets all of his meds.  Probably a pretty lame excuse but that's what happened. 

Peace and blessings to all

Friday, August 10, 2012

ramadan day 22

I went to jumah today.  I really liked the khutbah.  He talked about how despite how muslims are treated by other people, we should still care about others.  Really, we have no idea what non-muslim today might be taking shahada tomorrow.  It's pretty much how I feel about all people.  Yes, I understand the concept of an ummah and that all muslims are together.  But, I feel that Islam was created for all of humanity.  I care and love all people, non-muslim or muslim.  

I paid my zakat al fitr after jumah today.  I'm looking forward to Eid Salat.  It's near where I live.  It would also be nice to eat lunch again. :) 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

ramadan day 21

I was so tired today.  Three weeks of getting up early is getting to me.  But, it's the best way I know how to exercise, and eat before fajr.  I get up at 4am.  Start making breakfast, put on the workout video and go.  It's pretty intense which is why I do it before fasting.  I want to be able to drink water.

I think I did poorly on my second interview for the Singapore job.  It was a technical interview and there were questions I could not answer.  Oh well.

I appreciate that it's ramadan but not being around other muslims, I can't say that I really feel any special way about it. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

ramadan day 20

I actually contacted a sufi order that meets here in Houston.  I will go check out their meditation session next thursday.  I'll see how it goes.

I got an email today giving me information about the eid prayer service in Houston.  It's actually going to be not too far from where I live so I can probably walk over there.

Tomorrow will be busy I think.  I have a second interview for the job in Singapore.  I dont feel
excited about it now.  It's a technical interview, so it's basically an oral exam.  It's at 8:30 so I'm
not sure when or how I'm going to be able to break fast.

Oh well. 

Peace and blessings to all

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ramadan day 19

Today I had a meeting at work for the entire division.  It was to introduce the new division head.  The bad part about it was that there were refreshments served.  Fruit, pastries, coffee, and juice.  It was hard not to go get something, especially when my co workers were asking me why I didnt.  But, I just sat there without getting anything.  I didnt really explain myself either, so I havent had the courage to tell people that I'm a muslim.

I have found that fasting has gotten easier the last few weeks.  The problem now has been the lack of sleep from getting up early for Suhoor.  I was so tired this afternoon, I put my head down on my desk and I was almost out completely.  I came home after work, went to get some medicine for my cat, came back home and crashed for a couple hours until sun down. 

I have also found that when I break fast, I'm not in a big rush to eat a ton of food either.  I'm thirsty and I drink maybe 3 glasses of water.  But, tonight for example, I only had a salad with some chicken, some soup, and a chicken wrap.  I was tempted to go buy ice cream but decided against it.  I just dont feel the need to stuff myself even though I havent eaten all day.  Maybe that's part of the point of fasting.  To see that we don't actually need the things we think we need.

Peace and blessings to all

Monday, August 6, 2012

ramadan day 18

I had today off which was good because I was extremely tired.  More tired than I thought.  I did get up early for suhoor and fajr, and exercise as well.   But a few hours later, I was in bed and I slept until 1pm.  I had intended to not sleep that long.  I had some errands to run and ended up not getting them done.

But, it was another day of fasting, and reading the quran.  I read through the part of the quran that talks about guarding one's modesty and lowering your gaze around the opposite gender.  It's interesting that people like to mention about women wearing hijab and dressing appropriately.
The thing I found interesting is that the quran addresses men first.  That men should guard their modesty and that they are to lower their gaze around women.  In An-nur, verse 27:
"Enjoin the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty..."

I broke my fast with lemonade and barbeque tonight.  I wonder if I have the strangest iftars.  
I have a second interview set for thursday night for the Singapore job.  I am having second thoughts about it.  The recruiter was telling me how it's very demanding, ie. I will have to work long hours.
Not sure if that's what I want.  Oh well.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

ramadan day 17

I went skating today and I probably pushed myself too hard considering I'm fasting.  I wanted
water so badly.  I made it through though.

I went to the main center mosque today for the class for new muslims.  One of the other students was
giving his own talk on fasting and taqwa.  Again, the teacher emphasized doing self evaluation before breaking fast each night.  I havent been diligent about the time but I try to do it every night. 

I had a phone interview for the job in Singapore.  Because of the time different, I ended up having it at 8pm which meant I broke fast while I was still doing the interview. 

My favorite part of the day was listening to the rain fall while sitting peacefully in the mosque reading the quran.  I did this after the class, I sat and read while waiting for asr.

Peace and blessings to all

ramadan day 16

Today was a 'normal' day I suppose.  I got up ate suhoor, started fasting, then broke fast at sundown. 
It's interesting how humans adapt to different things. Looking at it a few weeks ago, I didnt think I would be able to fast for an entire month.  Now, I still feel urges to grab get a drink of water or grab a snack every now and then, but I'm used to going without food or water. 

I have a phone interview for a job in Singapore tomorrow.  I have mixed feelings about it.  It would be very exciting to live in a different country.  On the other hand, I really like my job now.  I'm worried that I wont like my job over there.  Maybe, I wont get a chance to pray at work, or I'm expected to work really long hours.  But, if I stay, where am I going with my life?  Do I live out my life in Houston?  I guess I will turn it over to Allah.  I hate not knowing what the future brings, but certainty is just an illusion anyway.  Really, I dont know what will happen tomorrow or next year.

Peace and blessings to all

Friday, August 3, 2012

ramadan day 15

Half way through ramadan.  I went to jumah today at the nearby mosque.  This one is closer, but I think I like the main mosque better.  The closer one seems to have more Arabs in it I guess.  Much more of the khutbah was in arabic.  Even the announcements at the end were in arabic before giving them in english.  even the adhan is better at the main mosque.  actually, it's just one guy at the main mosque that's really good, the others i've heard are not as good.

my jaw is sore today.  i took a nap and apparently was grinding my teeth really hard.  I usually wear a mouth piece when i sleep at night to keep from grinding my teeth.  I didnt think I would need it for a short nap.  Oh well, lesson learned.

I have almost finished reading my sufism book.  It's really good. I have hesitated in exploring sufism and further than reading about it though.

Peace and blessings to all

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ramadan day 14

I broke fast with some water and watermelon today.  It's interesting that I don't feel the urge to gulp down water after fasting all day.  In the evenings now, I feel at peace and calm.  I look forward to eating but it's not that big a deal.  I dont know how I'm supposed to feel about ramadan.  I can appreciate fasting now.  I notice how automatic eating and drinking is.  Before, I would just snack on something or grab something to drink without thinking much about it.  Now, I still have a thought to get something to eat or water to drink but then I remember that I'm on fast.  The fast is more important to me. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ramadan day 13

I'm finding that the hunger from fasting doesnt bother me as much.  The thing I struggle with is the lack of sleep from getting up early to make suhoor.  I find myself trying to catch a nap whenever I can.  Today it was lunch then again after work.

I went to iftar at the masjid tonight.  I was early so I went in, and read some quran.  I had already finished my juz for the day, so I started into tomorrow's.  Everyone gathered and broke fast with some water and fruit.  Then, we did maghrib.  Then it was time to eat.  There wasnt enough chairs, but eventually i found one and sat by myself.  The food was quite good.  I didnt know anyone and didnt meet anyone there so I felt lonely being there.  I didnt stay for isha and left after eating.  I enjoyed the meal but definitely would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had a friend to share it with.

Peace and blessings to all