Friday, August 5, 2011

My Ramadan Challenge


I am planning that Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, this year will be different. I am planning to go by what Mohammad (PBUH) tried to instill in his people and that is working on the struggles within us. He called it the greater jihad... 

In my point of view, the word jihad has been hijacked by fundamentalist groups whom I do not wish to talk about as it would lead to a ten paged post about how I believe they have destroyed the image of the true word of Mohammad. I will just explain what jihad and Ramadan mean to me, the moderate humanitarian spiritual person. 

Jihad means the struggle within us whereby we exert our best effort to achieve something and improve upon ourselves....It is the struggle to win (God's) good pleasure and to work on the attributes within us which would help improve our behavior, our peace of mind, our will to help others thereby creating a better living condition for everyone, every living thing and the world as a whole. 

When I am stressed and tired I usually feel down, agitated, nervous and have the ability to snap at anyone in an instant and even though I am usually very patient, that all changes when I am stressed out of my wits. It is a habit I have grown up with and have not been too actively involved in improving. I am usually a bubbly person who cracks jokes and can easily get along with anyone. However, I let my guard down with my loved ones and if I am stressed, I can easily blurt something out that I know I would regret after it exits my system. 

And therefore, I have decided to take Ramadan as the first step to helping me focus on improving that attribute which I am not very proud of. I am aware that I will need to continue working on this attribute throughout the year but I need a push... some encouragement and results... I need to prove to myself that if I could do it for the whole month of Ramadan, then I am capable of doing it for two months... then three and so on until I can go a whole year without snapping at anyone because I am stressed. 

The first day of Ramadan started on Monday, August 1st, and today is the 5th... so far I am doing much better than I ever did. I am stressed at the moment due to lack of sleep, as my daughter continues to wake up asking for me to sleep with her (which I do), I am working at a new school where I am experiencing information overload, I am spending around an hour and a bit in a taxi just to get home from work, and so on and so forth. However the real challenge begins when I stop eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. I am not fasting now because of my lunar cycle (I am not required to exhaust my body any further).

Wish me luck!!! 

Have you ever worked on improving an attribute, trait or a part of yourself which has proven to be a challenge but you are much better off now having done so?

7 comments:

Judy Croome said...

Wishing you well over the fast of Ramadan and strength in achieving your jihad.

My cross to bear - my inner struggle - is to control my struggle with food (I have binge eating disorder.) At the moment not doing very well because of stress, but in the greater scheme of things I'm gaining ground in very small but significant shifts of attitude.

Ramadan kareem!

Judy, South Africa

Mary ♥ Mur said...


Oh, nice post.)) Love your blog!!!.))))))

I need your help ... Soon I am flying to Greece and I will have a two-day shopping in Athens .. You were there ever? If yes, what places you advise?

Tabouleh said...

Thank you Judy...you are so kind... I guess we all have something we need to work on and it takes time... I think when we are ready we will be able to improve... just when we re ready...

As for you Mary.... not sure if this is the right place really... yes I have been to Greece but not to Athens... I would not go there for the shopping but for the historical and archaeological places... so I do not think i can help you.

paula devi said...

Ah Lana, you are always at the heart of things.
“Ramadan Mubarak!"

"Kul 'am wa enta bi-khair!"

In honor of Ramadan, I have been reading about Sufi meditation and with that statement I will answer your questions about what has helped me personally in connecting my awareness to helping me travel the challenging road that helps us to reflect the teaching of God. My beginning was meditation. Also a big challenge. But this practice has given me many blessings and improved my character and spontaneous behavior.
Have you ever tried meditation? If you google Sufi meditation it may help you. The techniques are the same but it may help for you to have an important Arabic word or phrase to chant silently or out loud to hrlp you with your concentration. You can also make your own, like maybe "Allah give me courage" (just an example.
You can start with just five minutes a day in the quiet of your own room or where ever it is good for you.
This is the practice that I credit with having changed my life.
I have been teaching meditation for many years. I am happy to be your guide. I would be honored.

May your sawm be easy and fruitful.

Tabouleh said...

Be my guide Paula? really? I would be honored for you to be my teacher... YES! when I need something and send it out into the universe it responds...that is exactly what i need... I started meditation after Reiki but I was not sure how to go about doing it... so I just sat that in silence observing my thoughts and concentrating on my breathing... after ten minutes, I would open my eyes and feel calmer and somewhat like i was in a trance... but honestly, I was not disciplined and so did not stick with it... as I was not sure of what exactly I was supposed to be getting out of it... but with your guidance, wisdom, caring and love, i know that I will get a lot more out of it... so I am jumping on this opportunity to be your student.. THANK YOU! i do not know how to thank you... I will check out a site for Sufi practices... I had a book on Sufi and Islam but I did not get around to reading it and it is in Jordan now... packed in a box...
Much love and sunshine to you!

Jan said...

Thank you for this lesson on Ramadan and Jihad. Though I know a little already, it is good to understand the true meaning of Jihad. As you say it has been distorted. I wish you strength with your stuggle at this special time and as you go onwards. I am interested in how self-compassion comes into Islam, ie., when you stumble in your struggle how do the teachings of Islam guide you through this? Having a little knowledge of Buddhism and Christianity, I am interested to compare and find commonalities.

As for my own struggles...they are many. As you know my current struggle is to balance my shadow and my light. To allow my light to shine in the world instead of hiding it away in shame - to find ways to bring joy and love, instead of feeling such a bad person that I cannot act in the world.

Tabouleh said...

Hi lovely Jan... i love your phrase "To allow my light to shine in the world instead of hiding it away in shame' It is just beautiful... and one that everyone should follow... I agree with you... we must all show what we are truly made of as we are all special and unique in our own way...
As for your other question... I have my own interpretations of things and so maybe I won't answer your questions well... it might be spiced with my thoughts and if I wanted to give you a proper answer it might not be fair... so I have a website that I love reading over and over again just to remind me of how every religion has so much in common and that there is no need to fight over nothing really... this article was written in such an original way and I love it...
have a read and let me know what you think....
http://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/gprophet.htm
Lots of love and sunshine coming your way.