Ramadan Diaries – Part 4 (Shawwal Special)

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: Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3.

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Twenty Fifth Day of Ramadan…
9:00am Looking forward to tonight, which is an odd-night of Ramadan; the night of of the twenty fifth.
01:00pm Shehu keeps “discussing” his tahajjud last night, with anyone who didn’t care to stop him. Should I shut him up by telling him that he is bragging about praying tahajjud on an even-night? nah let him carry on, I don’t want to rub it in his face, like he would. God forgive his Riyaa (Ostentation of virtues)
06:10pm Awaiting Iftar and gisting with siblings to while away the time. Told them about my preparation for tonight, being an odd-night. What! my younger one just corrected me. Tonight is actually an even-night. I forgot that nights come before days in Islamic Calendar. So Shehu was right all along. I’m glad it is not the night of the 27th yet; that would be tomorrow.
Note to self: night of the 27th is actually the night BEFORE the 27th day of fast. Cant wait for this Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power)

Twenty Sixth Day of Ramadan…
Ready to pull an all nighter tonight. Applied for casual leave from work tomorrow to enable my night worship but got denied. Crap! I guess tomorrow will be a slow day at work coz I ain’t cutting my worship on Laylatul Qadr for no office work.

Twenty Ninth Day of Ramadan…
Time to reflect on my achievements – I mean my progress – this Ramadan. I got Laylatul Qadr! I don’t want to raise my hopes too high but man, on the night of the 27th, I gave it my all. Laylatul Qadrs is better than a thousand months. BETTER I say… actually the Qur’an says. For calculation purposes, lets say it’s even just One thousand months, and let’s say there are 29 days in a month, then that is like better than 29,000 nights of worship. Ma Sha Allah!

Wait! this whole Laylatul Qadr thing is a bit confusing. Not the calculation. I mean, it is not necessarily the night of the 27th, it could be any of the last ten nights, or any of the last-ten odd nights. 27th seems to be the most deserving based on some Hadiths (reports from the Prophet).
But then not all Muslims start Ramadan on the same day. Does that mean the night of the 27th for me is actually the night of the 26th for others, or even 25th. Too bad for them I guess.
What about if others start their Ramadan on a different day from mine, and they happen to be correct. That would mean that I should have prayed my “Laylatul Qadr” on the night of the 26th or the 28th? Oh dear!
Perhaps everyone’s Laylatul Qadr is actually relative. So that even if we start on different days we all have our own nights of the 27th, and that would be our different Laylatul Qadrs. Hmmmm… So there could be many Laylatul Qadrs. I can hear Mal Aminu refuting this theory using grammar; saying that the Arabic word “Laylatu” is singular and so cannot – and can NEVER – mean more than one night. But who is right and who is wrong, on the date of starting Ramadan?
There is a bigger problem here. Since Muslims use the lunar calendar, how come the only controversy around beginning of months is around Ramadan (for fasting) and Shawwal… that’s an issue for another day
Now that I think about it, may be it is simply advisable to do Laylatul Qadr for the entire last ten days of Ramadan. Saves one from all these complications. And for 29,000 nights of worship, its worth it.
Oh Allah, give me the rewards of this year’s Laylatul Qadr, I promise to commit the entire last ten days next year. Thank you. I mean Aameen!

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…… A month later

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Twenty Eighth Day of Shawwal… 
I utilised time more in Ramadan. The hours are the same but for some reasons, I found it difficult to even keep up with my diary entries. What has changed? Do I spend a lot of time having meals… or could it be that the devils that were locked are now taking up my time? It must be them. No wonder the fasts of Shawwal seem harder. I only finished my six-of-Shawwal (Sitta-sh-Shawwal) two weeks ago. Two weeks for six fasts?! Curse those devils.
Anyway, I was not the last to compete my six at home or at the office. In fact I was among the first few to finish in the office. And that saved me from unceasing victory-sermons on the virtues of sitta-sh-Shawwal. This is how it works:

Someone asks you how many fasts you have done. If you have done more than them, they praise you at this point and remark how they want to catch up to you. If (unfortunately for you) you have done less than them, then you are in for something. They kickstart a lecture about how you must not allow this opportunity to pass you (as if you were not already subscribed). Then they conclude either by telling you how many they have done (which is more than yours) or more commonly they tell you how long since they finished theirs. Just rubbing it in you face.

I was saved from some of these lectures, but not all. Next year, I’ll finish in the first week InShaAllah, if only to make the lecture shorter (not so that they can conclude our conversation by praising me).

Looking forward to next Ramadan! InShaAllah!

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