Religions and Spirituality

A Personal Ramadan Diary: Week 2

Mona Mostafa, right, takes a selfie with friend Magie, who was also the the co-director/organizer of the camp. Credits: Submitted photo
South Brunswick resident Mona Mostafa brings goodies to an overnight camp at the Islamic Society of Central Jersey in Monmouth Junction. Credits: Submitted photo

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – “Don't count the days but make the days count.” -Another quote I found on Pinterest that I just had to share.

Ramadan isn't just about refraining from food and water and counting down the minutes and hours until we can eat again.

It's about using that time away from food and water to focus on beautifying our character and giving to others.

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One key factor I didn't mention in my last article is the concept of having patience.

Patience means everything this time of year.

If I was constantly complaining that I was hungry and telling everyone including myself that I wanted to eat something and couldn't wait until sundown, then that would be taking away from the true meaning of why I'm fasting in the first place.

As I mentioned in part one of my “Ramadan Diaries,” we fast to appreciate the blessings around us as others are not as fortunate to have food all year round the way many of us are.

Sometimes I think to myself how selfish I would be to complain about being without food or water for a few hours when some people around the world don't have access to that for days.

Patience is a key concept in our religion in general.

Our Holy Quran states that those who are patient will be greatly rewarded. And being patient is especially important during this holy month.

For example, our temper is something we should try to control during the month of Ramadan.

We should be kind to others regardless of whether or not they are kind to us. We should speak well of people and speak humbly of ourselves.

This is what I (and many others) like to call “Ramadan Resolutions.”

We've all heard of New Years Resolutions where we think of something we'd like to change for the upcoming year.

“Ramadan resolutions” are things we choose to change for the month of Ramadan if not afterwards as well.

For example, one of my resolutions this Ramadan is not to listen to music on my way to or from work so that I don't risk hearing songs with foul lyrics.

It may sound extreme to some, but this is a holy month and I feel like listening to music would be taking away from that.

Instead, I use the time to recite Quran to myself or just think.

Think about my day, the things I've said to people, how I've reacted to certain situations or statements.

As I mentioned above, Ramadan is a time to work on and beautify your character.

It’s not just about refraining from food and water. Self-reflecting and trying to increase our good deeds is also essential.

In Islam, a good deed is anything from smiling at someone to giving someone a compliment to helping the needy.

I sometimes say to myself, if I didn't do a good deed today, then it was a waste of a day.

Our religion teaches us to be kind to others, regardless of how they may treat us.

This is especially important during Ramadan because being unkind or unjust to someone may eliminate the benefits of our fast.

Therefore, we should speak politely, treat kindly, speak honestly and donate generously during this beautiful month.

And again, we need to focus on not counting the minutes and hours, but making those minutes and hours count.

Editor's Note: Mona Mostafa is a South Brunswick resident writing a four-part series of her personal journey through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

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