A Muslim mom's road to Ramadan 2017
We love learning and being able to share information with others. The requirements of motherhood differ vastly according to religion, environment, country, financial status, physical ability, you name it, there is a different set of demands on it. As 1.6 billion Muslims prepare to celebrate Ramadan, we were honored to have one, share her experience as it pertains to motherhood. Iman is a very active mother of the adorable Mansa Musa, and can be found @thefreshhotel.
To wean or not to wean, that is the question. My first year of Motherhood has come to a close and The Holy Month of Ramadan stares me down with this very very tough question...
As Muslims we say "...Ramadan always comes right on time." Not necessarily because we're in such a rush to avoid food and drink or sex with our marital spouses during the daylight hours, but because it always seems to arrive at a time when a cleansing or purging shall I say is -exactly what's in order!
It's a month filled with blessings! Yet It always seems to feel like the gym session you dread up until you push through then feel all the mental and physical benefits immediately!
However, the very next day you dread the workout all over again...
Ramadan is exactly that- A spiritual and mental exercise! Mentally my brain tells my body it's time to identify with those without. Those who cannot eat whenever they desire... It's time to redirect my daily focus toward my creator and time to show myself just how strong my mind can be. Discipline. I've learned that Discipline is an exercise that must be practiced over and over and is a rarity many take for granted.
For myself, discipline is a major key to life. After all, isn't that the point? To discover keys to a enlightened place? Sure fasting is a physical occurrence or denial I'd say, in that you're hungry and thirsty but oddly enough that's the last lesson to be learned. So much so that, The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Many of men will get nothing from their fast but hunger and thirst..." Meaning the brief denial of your physical urges for the pleasure and reconnection with your Lord is the major goal. You may lose a few Lbs (who couldn't stand that) but It's a time for digging deep and soul searching. Everything in life needs a time for reflection or cleansing. Without that, you're just on a diet.
This year I'm Personally torn. I've been breastfeeding my one year old since the minute he entered the world and our bond is strong. He receives much comfort and immunity benefits from my milk and I'm just not emotionally ready to let go. He definitely is not, however I just can't imagine maintaining a milk supply on two meals per day. In fact it's impossible. The breastfeeding struggle is real and those out there who know can feel my pain.
There is no pressure to fast. In fact the Quran clearly states "...there's no compulsion in Religion". Moreover there are things you can do such as feed the poor in place of the fast, which I happily did last year right after the birth of our Son. I realize there are concessions allowed in that Allah has no intent of hardship for you. Yet I enjoy observing the fast with the 1.6 Billion Muslims around the world. The camaraderie in prayers, the nightly breaking of the fast called Iftar and the overall spirit of the community! It means the world to me!
Alas, I believe I've made my decision. I'm grateful for the time spent and connection with my first born child, but as we're taught, Fasting is for God. I mean who else knows whether or not I've snuck a sip of water or a cracker... and who else is more deserving of my gratitude at this time? My Son is healthy and amazingly spirited and I am honored to have been chosen as his Mother. For the Muslim, every stomach rumble is a physical reminder of the one sacrifice God has required of us to make during this holy month per year. You feel a sense of accomplishment by the close of Ramadan. I need it and I crave it. A beautiful tradeoff.
While it takes great commitment and discipline to complete the fast, most importantly I've learned, it requires a pure heart. If your heart desires the goal, God will not deny you the benefit. Ah The beauty of Al-Islam!
Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn Self-restraint " (Q 2:183)
"Ramadan is the (month) in which the Holy Qur'an was revealed as a guide to humankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in Fasting. But if anyone is ill or on a journey - the prescribed number of other days should be made up. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Allah in that He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful." (HQ 2:185)
Ramadan Mubarak 2017!!!!(Blessed Ramadan to you)
Peace be upon you all,
Iman Ramadan Aka Mansa Musa's Mom