(I hope you read that like Love in the time of Cholera!)
I’m a little late but Ramadan Mubarak! 🙌🏽We are on the 9th fast, a third of the way in and it has flown byyyy!
I haven’t kept all my fasts ever since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s over 8 years ago. My consultants would never give me the green light and the maximum number of fasts I kept a few years ago was 15 by fasting every other day.
This year I was hoping to keep all my fasts and I was so looking forward to it. Then Ms Rona came along and said nah sis, not todayyy! As someone with an autoimmune disease and on immunosuppressants, I’m already considered to be in the ‘at risk’ group with regards to corona. The Muslim Medical Association then went ahead and released guidelines of people who shouldn’t fast this year which included Crohn’s for this exact reason.
As first I was like YOLO, I’m here for a good time not a long timeeee but then decided I need to chill. Allah has outlined exemptions which I’ve abided by in previous years as disappointing as it is for me.
If you have Crohn’s and do want to fast, try and take it day by day. Don’t force yourself especially if you notice it’s making you feel unwell. Maybe take a gap, so fast every other day or fast for a few days and then take a day off. Also be mindful of potential risk of dehydration if you have a stoma bag. Be sensible and just listen to your body, you know it better than anyone else.
I wouldn’t recommend fasting if your disease is active and you’re in a flare. There’s really no point in putting your body through undue stress esp with the added risk of corona this year. I know it can be frustrating because I’ve always felt I’ve missed out on that spiritual high that fasting gives you but it is better to be safe.
So as a result, the point of this post is to talk about some of the ways I’ve been chasing that Ramadan high!
- Obvious one is reading Qu’ran. I’m not the most confident reader so to take the pressure off this year, I’ve decided to just read for as long as I can every day. I’ll try to read as many pages as I can after my salah at least 2/3x a day.
- Tarawee! I’ve been reading this with my sister and I’ve purposely invested in my room this year to make it feel extra nice. I’ve got a vase full of flowers, been lighting candles, turning the lights off and getting into a zone. This is making my evenings a little more relaxing and routine to enable better sleep.
- Podcasts! There’s so many available but my favourite so far has been listening to Omar Suleiman on Spotify. You can listen to this while your cleaning or doing chores or your daily walk instead of music.
- Brushing up on my tajweed. As I mentioned, I’ve never been a confident Arabic reader and really struggled as a child. I had a home teacher who taught in that traditional Pakistani style. I would always ask to go to the toilet during our hourly classes and fall asleep sitting on the bathroom floor! As soon as I would hear the door close, I’d literally jump up, somehow wide awake and settle down to watch the Simpsons at 7pm! Anyway lol theres a lot of unlearning to do and I’m usually a procrastinator but this year I’m trying to fix an obvious insecurity of mine and help make reading God’s words more enjoyable.
- In a bid to appeal to the family’s competitive nature, we have a competition on of who can memorise as many of Allah’s 99 names inc English translation! This is hard cos my memory is absolutely pants but the Hadith that says ‘Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever memorises them will enter Paradise.’ [Bukhari 2736] is a great incentive!
- Learn some basic dua’s such as bathroom entering and leaving, changing your clothes and dua’s I need for everyday life. I’m going to write these on post-it notes and stick them around my room.
- Read some books! I posted a little book stack on @thecandidbookclub on Instagram or check out www.thecandidbookclub.com. I’d also recommend Martin Ling’s The life of the prophet. Such a great Seerah of his life!
- I’ve stopped listening to music this month (apart from whatever I hear on tiktok! Even that I’m trying to avoid!) and aim to continue this after ramadan. I’ve also massively reduced what I’m watching on tv. Netflix, prime and Disney+ is on hold and I just watch the occasional episode(s) of Say Yes to the Dress (guilty pleasure!) or Tipping point (showing my age here!😬) when having my morning coffee! This is giving me more time to do other things or even just rest.
- Helping out with cleaning and cooking a little more to ease the burden on my sisters who are fasting. It is really tiring but every little helps, word to Tesco!
- I’ve also put limits on my social media apps and put on the downtime feature on my phone in a bid to help me reduce my screen time. It’s so easy to get lost scrolling mindlessly for hoursss. I know since my weekly screen report pre-lockdown would tell me I was averaging 9 hours a day! Thats a whole full-time job!! I won’t pretend I haven’t been ignoring the time limit and giving myself an extra 15 minutes every so often on twitter! Fave social media app everrrr!
Anyway I hope the rest of Ramadan gives you that boost in Iman and spiritual reset we all need!🤲🏽
Let me know what you guys are doing to stay productive and I hope Allah makes it easy for you all! Insha’Allah I’m hoping to sit Iti’kaaf this year and maybe keep a few fasts in the last 10 days if I feel okay. Stay safe all! Much love alwaysss!