Thursday, 11 September 2008

Exercising Refrain .....

.... no..... not from tatting, but from bodily needs of food and water .... he..he..he.....
It is now the month of Ramadhan and is the fasting month for Muslims around the world. It is the 11th day today and thankfully everything is going great.

The day starts with a very early morning meal, or sahur as we here call it. I usually wake up at 4.30am to prepare the food. My family like a light sahur, so I don't have to prepare much, either heat up the leftovers from the previous night or fry some paratha (flatbread) which is taken with light curry or dhall, and hot tea. I find that by taking hot drink for sahur I don't feel thirsty much during the day.

The end of sahur is around 5.40am, at which time we have to stop eating until it is time for the breaking of fast which is at dusk. For countries in the tropics like Malaysia, the fasting duration is about 14 hours or so. The time varies throughout the year depending on the season. Currently, the time for breaking of fast is around 7.18pm. I stayed in England for five years once, and during one of those years I had to fast during summer, almost 18 hours, but I did not feel any adverse effect, thankfully.

For the breaking of fast, we are encouraged to take something sweet and the best would be to eat dates, as what our Holy Prophet did. Besides that, there'll be some other sweet and savoury food as well. This is usually followed by a slightly heavier meal. It may look kind of funny, like having desserts before the main course. Tempting as it is, after a whole day without drinking, I don't take iced/cold drink during breaking of fast. Instead I take a cup of tea, again. I feel more tired if I take a cold drink.

There is a culture in Malaysia where every Ramadhan, there will be bazaars set up across the country, selling all kind of foods to be taken for breaking of fast. The stalls open for business in late afternoon. It will be bustling as evening approaches as people stopped at these bazaars on their way home from work to buy the food for breaking of fast. In a way it is a convenience to these workers because it saves them having to prepare the food in time for the breaking of fast. Yeah, I should know because there had been time when I had to break fast in the car because it was time but I was driving and still stuck in the traffic.

But Ramadhan is more than just not eating or drinking.

Ramadhan is special
  • The first verse of the holy Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Ramadhan. To remember this, all abled Muslims are encourage to recite the Qur'an, whether in groups or individually. As there are 30 juzuk (chapters) of the Qur'an it would be a great achievement if we can recite one juzuk for each day of the fasting month.
  • Ramadhan is the month of giving. Every Muslims are encouraged to perform good deeds of giving sincerely to others who are more in need. But do not expect instant gratification, but rather be committed that Allah sees all that we do and is upon Him to reward as fit.
  • Ramadhan is the month for special prayers that is not found in any other months. During this month Allah's blessings and mercy are at His utmost. Muslims will take this opportunity to seek forgiveness and pray with fervour that Allah will fulfill what is asked.
  • Ramadhan holds one special night, the Night of Lailatul Qadr which is better than a thousand months. The actual night is not given, except that it is one of the nights during the last 10 days of Ramadhan.
There are many more beautiful things about Ramadhan. It is the month that is waited for in earnest and to let it go with lots of sadness.

Wishing all Muslims a very blessed Ramadhan ul Mubarak.

For the tatting bit, the pattern for this doily has been added to my Patterns Page. Click the link in sidebar to go there.


  1. Thank you Jon for your explanation. It must be a hard month for you. I wish you a blessed Ramadhan.

  2. Jon - this is one of the best journal about the month. Thank you for sharing to the world. (You don't have to publish this but have you received the mail re the books - it has finally arrived)

  3. I once had a copain (adult boyfriend..? I never know what to call them) who kept Ramadhan. I was really impressed that he could work all day with not even a drink.
    It was wierd because the rest of the year he was a rather poor Muslim...perhaps he hoped it would work out if he tried very hard for this one special time.
    I imagine it was really difficult for you in England wjth their culture of "hot food all day"!
    best wishes, dear Jon.

  4. Thank you for sharing a precious part of your culture. The doily is very beautiful.

  5. Very educational, well written post! You have described your traditions in a way that enables a person of a different faith to gain some insight into the meaning of the outward practices.

    Beautiful doily, too!

  6. sweet foods play a part in many cultures/religions; I remember my mother making "tsimmes" - prunes and honey - for the Jewish New Year. I suppose it is a sensible choice of food to break a long fast, as it would very quickly raise your blood sugar levels and give a boost of instant energy.

    And, as far as the tatting part of the post goes - this is one of your most beautiful patterns, but I say that about all of them!

  7. Thank you for the comments.

    Fasting gets easier as we get older because we are trained early. Children as early as six or seven are already taught about fasting, starting with half-a-day until they are able to complete one whole day. Of course the promise of rewards for each completed full day does help to get them going, :-)

    Then, there is the celebration to look forward to on completion of Ramadhan - with joyous festivities, new clothes and gifts for the kids.

    As for the adults, Ramadhan is about getting close to the Creator and doing the best that we can to live up to the meaning what the month is all about.

  8. Hi Faizon, thanks for your explanation... :) Now then I know what Puasa really means.... :)

  9. The local Muslim Students Association usually schedules an Awareness Week the first full week of Ramadhan. They have a booth with quotes from Q'uran, prayer rugs, and people to answer questions and talk about what Islam means. It's pretty neat. They also have the 'fun' bits of 'have your name written in Arabic,' etc.


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