by Duriba Khan
This post was originally published on beingduriba.weebly.com.
It’s THAT time of the year folks. Over spiced fruit salad, lights lined along the staircase, familiar faces every night, that tingly feeling after a night of praying… it’s Ramadan. Along with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan arrives the need for major adjustments to our daily lives: replacing Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” on your iPod with Zain Bhika’s “Give Thanks to Allah,” ditching your morning black coffee for a 4 a.m. glass of chaah, and praying on a Tuesday night instead of watching the newest “Pretty Little Liars” episode.
Change adds a dynamical element to our daily lives. It switches things up, and makes life interesting. It allows us to enter an atmosphere of uncertainty, which, whether we like it or not, that is exigent in order for us to healthily function.
Before I begin my list of resolutions, let it be known that these are my personal resolutions; opportunities to improve myself. If you agree with some of the things I have mentioned, awesome! If you do not agree with them, awesome (except a little bit less awesome). I don’t mean to send hate, harm, or large cherry pies at anyone, their egos or personal goals.
1. Pray all five times a day. On time. Including sunnah (the recommended as opposed to obligatory).
As basic as this sounds, das’ rite. I always try to pray all daily prayers, but sometimes it slips my mind, or procrastination strikes. (ex: “I’ll pray after I clean my room” or “I’ll pray after I feed my sheep, Bob Billy Bob Billy!”) During and after this Ramadan, I’m going to try and “git all dem deeds” by praying as soon as the Sheikh that lives in my iPhone opens his throat.
2. Becoming an overall better person.
The hardest part of Ramadan for me isn’t fasting, or even not listening to music. It’s second to waking up for suhoor; following the actual meaning of Ramadan, which is to overall become a better person who is patient enough to wait in line at Forever 21 on Black Friday, and to be a respectful, compassionate, and kind. Although typed out that sounds as easy, breezy, and beautiful as Cover Girl, but they are no doubt the hardest in practice. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s what Ramadan is for: improving your character, behavior and moral system along with knowing how much you can possibly fit into your stomach in 15 minutes.
3. Understanding the meaning of the Quran.
If you’re standing in taraweeh (extra night prayers) for two hours every night with the comprehension ability of a one year old kid in Arabia as to what the Imam is reiterating…welcome to the club. Going to an Islamic school for 99.9% of my life (the other .1% was spent in the womb) has taught me a lot, including a handful of Arabic vocabulary words such as worship (ibaadah), mercy (rahma), women (nisaa), door (baab), and booger (barboora), and for this I’m blessed, but there is always room for improvement. I’m going to spend more of this Ramadan understanding the Quran opposed to blindly trying to finish reading it. Don’t get me wrong, if you are trying to finish reading Quran, that truly does take a load of persistence, but try to get to know what you are reading so you don’t end up forcing yourself to cry during the duaa (not judging).
4. Pay attention during salah (prayer).
Of all the resolutions listed above, this is most definitely the hardest, mainly because I have the attention span of a three month old. Whenever I pray, study, or try to sleep on time, my mind always seems to wander to the most random things. This especially happens in prayer; from noticing how cute the shalwar kameez of the aunty before me is to mentally suffocating the screaming child behind me. Starting now, I’m going to focus more on paying attention in salah and try to heavily prevent my mind from wandering…SQUIRREL!
5. Not over stuff myself during Iftaar.
You’ve been waiting for this moment all day. You’ve replayed the scene of you biting into a steamy, flakey, crunchy chicken patty with crumbs falling all over your dupatta hundreds of times. You’ve imagined the sweet, silky sound of Ruh Afza splashing across the dark abyss that is your mouth. Clearly, iftaar is a joyous time for us Muslims but the issue with iftaar is when you simply can’t get enough. You fill your stomach with heaps of colorful fruit chaat, dozens of spring rolls, and mountains of dahi baraay, and even though your stomach is full, your heart continues to long for more. We’ve all been there, and it is truly a pulchritudinous place. The question still remains…how do you get out? It’s clearly not healthy, and the only option is limiting your portions. You should practice restricting yourself when it comes to food for two reasons: firstly, because moderation is a key aspect of Islam, and secondly, because…that way, there’s more for me.
Duriba Khan is an aspiring medical student and hand model for McDonalds (we need more brown hands depicting milkshakes, yeah?). She writes to express her views, discuss shortcomings of others, ramblings, simply share her varied opinions with the world, and enlighten ignorant folk with “a piece of her mind.” Duriba is the founder and CEO of Duriba Khan Films on YouTube and has a passion for cake. She is a film geek who laughs too loud, eats too much and once had a build-a-bear koala named Joe who was secretly a surfer and starred as a junior artist in Toy Story 1, 2, and 3. A lover of God, family, and mushy blueberries, she is often described as a hippie and once had a staring contest with a giraffe at the Indiana State Zoo. She also feels uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person.