Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ramadan & Food

This year I decided that during Ramadan I am not going to make as much food as I usually do.

In previous years, we've broken our fast with a feast! Feast for our eyes, feast for our taste buds and for our bellies! Juices, dates, fruit salad, samose, or pakore, or kebab this chutney and that chutney and such. Pray Maghrib, then sit down to a pretty big meal.

This year, I decided all that food wasn't necessary so I've kept it simple. We break our fast with water and a date or two. Pray Maghrib. Then sit down to a small meal. Something we would usually have any other time of the year.
So for example, some grilled chicken, green beans and a salad, or a stir fry. Something simple, and low carb, (I find it so difficult to finish a meal with carbs after fasting the whole day).

Then insha'Allah when Eid comes round, that'll be when our feast happens and we'll all appreciate it more too.

I just keep thinking of all the poor people across the world who won't have any food at all to break their fast with, Muslim or not. So many people will go to sleep feeling hungry tonight, while we get to quench our thirst and satisfy our appetite.

My family in Pakistan were saying that before the floods happened, milk was already difficult to get hold of, and the cost of meat was very high, but since the floods, so many animals have died, they don't know what will happen now.
We are blessed to be living in the west were we have supermarkets and halal meat shops on almost every high street. I don't want my family to take that for granted.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ramadan Mubarak

Its finally Ramadan! Ramadan Mubarak to everyone, May Allah (SWT) make our fasts easy for us, and forgive us for our sins, continue to guide us and draw us closer to His mercy and love for us.
May this month be full of learning, enlightenment and growth, insha'Allah, Ameen.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Rheumatoid Blues

I feel so awful today. I haven't felt this bad in ages now.

I had a million things to do today, I wanted to get so many things done before Ramadan starts, which is only tomorrow! But I just couldn't get up today and resting or sleeping for longer usually helps my joints when they're bad. But today not even that helped. My joints are painful, my cartilage is crunching, I hate that acid like feeling inside the joints, everything hurts, my chest is even more painful than usual today and I'm struggling to stand up straight.

I wanted to finalize all our Eid outfits before Ramadan, I don't want to shop whilst fasting especially as these fasts will be pretty long. Which is why I really have to go to the shops today and tie up a few lose ends on outfits. I also need to make a batch of samose and someone as organized as I am now feels terribly disorganized and that's really bugging me too.

I feel like crawling back into bed but I haven't got time to sleep, but then again, if I don't rest today I may not be well enough to keep a fast tomorrow :-(

I think I'm going to have to rest and just do as much as I can sensibly manage.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Allah knows best

I've recently been thinking a lot about a friend that I haven't spoken with in some years now.

This friend used to be a colleague of mine. We worked in the same office but in completely different departments, we would get chatting over the photocopy machine and that's how our friendship started.

When I got married, she and one other person were the only people I invited from my office to my wedding. I had a small wedding, so each and every person there was very dear and special.

Soon after I got married I changed jobs and my new office was nowhere near the old. But we continued to stay in touch over email, SMS and phone. We met up a few times, and when I was with her I always enjoyed her company, we got on well, understood each other, had a similar sense of humour, made each other laugh a lot.

Soon after that I started wearing hijab. I was a little nervous at how certain people might feel about it, but thought if they are true friends it won't bother them.
The response I got from colleagues was really positive actually. It was a great conversation starter, and people were sincere and interested to hear about my reasons behind it.

People from my office were also friends with people from my old office where I used to work, where my friend still worked.
Gradually I found that every time I texted her, I wouldn't get a reply, if I called, no-one answered, if I left a voicemail no-one returned my call, if I emailed, still no response. This went on for almost a year and then one day I finally got a response to a voicemail, in the form of a text, saying "sorry, manic year, all is well, hope you're ok". That was it, despite more attempts on my part I have not had any other contact from her. And lately, I have been wondering if she had heard about my hijab from someone and maybe that was why she stepped away from me. I know that if that is the case then I should just think that I now know that she isn't a true friend, but I just find that so hard to accept. You have to remember, my wedding was really small, and she came to it because her friendship was really important and valued, how can such an important friendship just vanish like that? I thought she was a friend for life.
So it hurts.

But yesterday when I was reading Qur'an something I've read many times before just clicked something new within me.

I won't go into what it was that I read, as I don't wanted to be quoted out of context later by anyone, so often in the western media verses from the Qur'an are quoted out of context and makes our holy book and Muslims look bad. But the point is that Allah (swt) has given us so much guidance in the Qur'an and He knows best, and even though that has been difficult for me to swallow that I no longer have her friendship, I now feel satisfied and at rest about it since reading that verse, and its something I've read so many times before, but this time, its meaning had something more for me. I love that about the Qur'an no matter how many times you read it, you still learn something new from it.