Reflecting on Ramadan in the Bay
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s my favorite time of the year!
It’s the most blessed month of the year!
Yes, you’re right— – it’s the month of Ramadan. And it’s around the corner. Alhamdulillah! Today, I want to share my typical day during Ramadan in the Bay Area. But first, let me describe what Ramadan means to me.
Ramadan is a time of great beauty, both in its rituals and in its spirit. It is a time to focus on one’s faith, deepen one’s connection with Allah SWT, and practice kindness and compassion towards others. One of the things that makes Ramadan so special is the sense of community that it creates. Muslims all over the world come together to break their fasts and pray together. The beauty of Ramadan is not only limited to its spiritual aspects, but it is also reflected in the physical world. The ambiance and atmosphere during Ramadan are some things that cannot be described in words. The lively streets, the mosques with the sound of prayers, the aroma of food, and the sight of people coming together to break their fasts are a sight to behold. The reflection of the moon on the water and the sight of the stars in the sky create a serene and peaceful environment that is truly beautiful. I can endlessly write a lot about Ramadan and why I love it so much.
Let’s talk about what my typical day looks like during Ramadan. I work as a DevOps Engineer at a SaaS company and live far away from my family. I have been living in the Bay Area for almost six years now and find it blessed with wide and diverse Muslim communities. You have a vast variety of places to go for iftar and pray taraweeh. Isn’t that a blessing?!!!
We all know how important our intentions are in our faith, and the same is true for Ramadan. You need to set clear intentions about how you want to spend this month, as every second is blessed. Have clear intentions and a game plan for what you want to achieve and take out from this blessed month. For the last couple of years, I’ve started fasting a week before Ramadan. It helps me adjust and prepare my body so I don’t feel dizzy during the first week of Ramadan and can focus on Ramadan rituals from day one. My day starts with:
- Tahajjud: – It’s one of the best bonuses I get during Ramadan. I wake up before Fajr prayer for suhoor, so why not pray two rakaahs of tahajjud!
- Suhoor: – It’s an essential part of my day, and I almost never miss it. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: “Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is a blessing.” Just a small tip on not missing suhoor— – don’t fill your stomach too much at iftar, and don’t eat before going to sleep. Trust me, your stomach will wake you up better than your phone alarm. Usually, after I finish suhoor, I have 10-15 minutes before Fajr. I spend them reading the Quran or duas. I go back to sleep after Fajr and wake up at 8:30 am.
- Work: – My job runs from 9 to 5 and requires a lot of focus and energy. To recharge, I take a 30-40 minute nap after the Zuhr prayer before continuing my work.
- Walk/Jog: – After finishing work, I go for a 40-minute walk or jog. This is like my second recharge before the Taraweeh prayer. After my walk, I get ready for my favorite part of the day.
- Iftar event: – I think everyone’s favorite part of the day is the iftar when families and friends gather together around the table. Alhamdulliah, there are so many iftar events in the Bay Area. I am so grateful for the amazing people and communities in my life who almost every day invite me to iftars with tables filled with dishes from all over the world. I love our talks while we eat about our experiences during Ramadan and the things that we learn. I feel a sense of community and belonging as if they are all part of my family.
- Taraweeh: – Taraweeh has a special place in my heart. It’s the highlight of my day. The mosque is filled with people, young and old, all eager to perform this special prayer. As the Imam begins to recite the Quran, you feel a sense of peace and tranquility that you have never felt before. Your soul is purified with every word of the Quran that is recited. Alhamdulillah, I live very close to MCA and can experience the magical vibe there during Ramadan. Last year I met so many amazing sisters during Taraweeh, and received adorable presents from people I didn’t know. This is one of the blessings of Ramadan when people rush to make good deeds for the sake of Allah SWT. I even had a sister with whom we prayed together next to each other the entire month. We called each other “taraweeh buddy.”. It’s a beautiful feeling to share with someone who also strives to fill one’s heart with the love of Allah SWT.
Here are Some practical tips that help me be more efficient duringon Ramadan:
- Recite daily zikrs, (supplications between prayers)
- Read Quran daily
- Make small regular donations
- Drink plenty of water after iftar and during taraweeh, not during suhoor
- Don’t eat after taraweeh
- Do 5-10 mins breathing exercises throughout a day
In conclusion, the beauty of Ramadan lies in its message of love, compassion, connection with Allah SWT, and self-improvement to appreciate the blessings of life. May Allah SWT give everyone the opportunity to experience the blessings of Ramadan and feel its beauty.