Ramadan Diaries – Part 2

This series is an attempt to explore how Ramadan is undermined and its spirit demonstrated, through the diaries of a typical Nigerian Muslim. It may apply to other Muslims too. Read the previous posts in the series here.

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Fourth day of Ramadan…
I would say today’s fast was moderately difficult. That is I can go for two more hours after the time for breaking, before it breaks me. Trust me, I know. People can be smart in four ways: Book Smart, Skill Smart, Street Smart and Ramadan Smart. I am Ramadan Smart.
We have just “broke” our fast. That reminds me, words of wisdom I should remember to quote during a Ramadan conversation: Break your fast before it breaks you. You have to be Ramadan Smart to know that there is a deeper meaning to my wise saying beyond appearances, which is that Ramadan can make you go broke especially when you host guests for Iftar (fast-breaking). There is a lot of heavenly reward at stake, but being Ramadan Smart also means knowing if you have the capital to venture into that kind of earthly investment with overwhelming heavenly rewards, in multiples!
So, my focus will be on praying a lot instead. And I am utilizing this weekend to offer myself invitation (and acceptance) to Iftars at my friends’ places. That way I save expenses, but I’ll pray more than most of my friends, in Ramadan. That makes us even. If Kenny Rogers was Muslim he would be singing (A Ramadan version of The Gambler):

You never count your Ajar, [Ajar is heavenly rewards]
When you still in Ramada-an,
There’ll be time enough for counting,
When the month is up.
– Muslim Kenny Rogers

Seventh day of Ramadan…
I have accepted another invitation to break fast today, even though it is not a weekend.
I didn’t want to say this yesterday but my theory has been confirmed. I am now more knowledgable in this Ramadan Science. One needs to limit their intake of food at the time of breaking fast, before the 30-60mins prayer (which starts an hour after break-of-fast). That way one may not feel heavy and sleepy, or even sweaty, during the stands and movements. I found out today that you can get mildly sweaty when praying.
Alhamdulillah! I have enjoyed the meal, though not quite full. I need the free space for now, and I’ll get back to my vacant stomach after the long prayer session. We have four Rak’ahs (units) for Isha’, ten for Tarweeh, three for Shaf’/Wutr; therefore we have 4+10+3 = 17 units (Rak’ahs) of prayer. Lets get it on.
We got my friend to lead us; hosts typically lead guests. It’s one thing that gets violated in Ramadan but not today. All that were present voted him to lead. They have a surprising confidence in him.
Talk about speed… I have never prayed this fast, since I was a “whiz kid” whizing my way through my self-led prayers in good time to return to Cartoon Network. The Imam would recite the seven verses of the opening chapter (of Quran)… in a single breath! WhatTheHell! Does he even know what he is reciting?! I can pick out a few words here and there but he sounds like he is chanting rather than reciting. Well may be it doesn’t sound beautiful but we cover more prayer units in less time. And we know, thanks to Ramadan Smart-ness, that a unit of prayer is a unit of prayer, whether it takes an hour or two minutes. It makes for easier calculation of my heavenly rewards because I can multiply my rewards by the number of prayer units (Rak’ahs). And that is subjected to Ramadan’s “multiplier effect”! Ooooo! Talk about making the best of your time.
Until today, when Muslims say performing prayers improves physical fitness, I had thought as in the case of Yoga; you are not really working out, but you are stretching and flexing, and you can later brag that you do exercise. But at today’s speed, it was like aerobics! Its like the difference between going out for a walk and power-walking.
Time doesn’t fly in Ramadan, but prayers certainly do.

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