This was quite an interesting Ramadan for me, and one that has personally affected me in a number of ways. What follows is a compendium of sorts of some of my personal thoughts, observations, and reflections of the month that has now passed. May Allah (swt) accept our good deeds from this month, forgive our bad deeds, and give us life to see another Ramadan and take better advantage of it.

The thoughts below are extremely random, and in no particular order. I hope this makes reading this post a bit easier despite its jumping around between subjects and positive and negative reflections.

*Qur'an should always be finished in the 29th night for Taraweeh. When it is finished earlier, it gives a false sense of the end of Ramadan and makes it harder to dedicate yourself in ibaadah in the night. However, it is far easier for the Imams leading salah once it is done.

* There needs to be more focus on the actual recitation of Qur'an and not just the actual 'finishing' of it. Does anyone else feel uncomfortable with the almost party-like atmosphere on the night the Qur'an is finished being recited?

*Is there anything cuter than 1-2 year old children lining up and trying to pray taraweeh? May Allah(swt) bless all the Muslim children and make them leaders of the muttaqoon.

*How much hope do we have for our ummah when people must be separated after almost coming to blows over breaking fast at one calendar's time as opposed to another which was 3 minutes later?

*How much hope do we have in our masjid administrations when people are still easily angered and yell and scream even when the Shayateen are locked up?

*Where do we stand in light of the above, and when we bicker in Ramadan over whether or not we should cooperate with our brothers and sisters on major issues facing our Ummah in the West (for example, the fact that people don't even want to see us go to Six Flags for Eid) while disagreeing respectfully on issues that we differ on?

*How do we respond to adults who did not start practicing until their 30's that prevent kids from playing basketball during night prayers?

*Ramadan requires a special financial planning seminar. How do you determine which charity to donate to and how much? Should you give a little to everyone who asks, or save up and give 'full force' to one that you believe in the strongest?

*Is it wrong to feel proud about losing weight from fasting? And was it a result of the one-plate pledge?

*Why do we resolve to do all these good things after Ramadan, yet (myself included) we revert back to our pre-Ramadan habits even within the last 1-2 days of Ramadan?

*How much thought and effort do we put into Eid gifts for our families? What a great, sunnah-endorsed, way to increase your family ties and bring happiness to those closest to you. And for all the fanatics out there, they don't always have to be religious gifts like, Eid Mubarak I got you 15 hours of Tafseer on CD to study! Some of us might dig that, but it doesn't hurt to get your siblings or parents some nice clothes or perfume or something.

*Is there anything on earth that can motivate you more to memorize Qur'an than Ramadan and seeing all the huffaadh?

*Why do dates taste so much better in Ramadan – and I don't mean just at iftar time

*Same goes for milk with Rooh Afzah

*Why must the month of worship almost always end on a note of celebratory disobedience for so many people?

*Am I the only person who thinks it would just be great if masjids randomly prayed different numbers of rak'at for Taraweeh every night, 8 one night, 12 on another, 22 on another?

*I like the convenience of the 'local' Eid salah, but I prefer the environment of the 'big' city-wide. Is convenience the only reason many masajid opt for the former?

*Is the Eid Khutbah the hardest one to deliver? I've never given one but I can't imagine trying to advise people who are staring at you as if every second you continue to speak is like another stab wound preventing them from getting their party on.

SO…how was your Ramadan?

25 Responses

  1. SaqibSaab

    Nice. For me:

    29th Night Finish
    Our masjid community changed to finishing on the 29th night for the first time ever this year. We always use to finish on the 27th, which led to an embarrassingly low turnout on the following few nights. This year, however, we had a packed house all the way up to the 29th. Alhumdulillah :) Ramadan was no longer over after the 27th night! Although, it was funny because a number of people showed up decked out on the 27th expecting a khatm cuz they didn’t hear word of the change. =P

    Anger and Yelling
    On that khatm night, there were oodles of kids making noise during Salah. One uncle, after the end of one of the Salah, literally *yelled* at the kid. Like, screamed; the entire masjid and sisters section heard him. “BAHAR JAOW YA HAAN SE! YAAN NAMAZ HORI HAIN!!!” (Leave from here! Prayer is going on here!) SubhanAllah, my friend said, “way to welcome the kids to the masjid. They’ll *definitely* want to come back when they grow older.” =( Whatever happened to the example of the Prophet (SAW) correcting the Bedouin who urinated in the masjid?

    One-Plate Pledge
    I took this pledge and it was AWESOME! I’ve never had a more beneficial Ramadan, physically (which helps out other aspects, too). Sure, I may have eaten a second serving on two or three nights, but I can testify that this is thee best Ramadan diet out there.

    Giving Eid Gifts
    I totally agree that it brings a great amount of love and increased family ties amongst those who you’re closest, too. And yeah, you don’t have to make every gift an Usul al-Fiqh CD set or something. Shirts/sweaters, jewelry, household items; it’s all good in the hood. (Hint guys: jewelry = huge. Doesn’t have to be expensive, just tasteful). This is the first time I’ve given Eid gifts to my family (since it’s my first Ramadan married and my wife pushed me to, hehe but props to her for that).

    Eid Salah Location
    Not only is it the Sunnah, nothing beats going to a big far out location for Eid Salah. It gives the Salah which comes just twice a year feel more important, and does the same for the day of Eid, too. I hope all masjid communities move to hold Eid outside of the masjid if they can.

    Eid Khutbah
    I think the best would be to give a khutbah that is like a pure Eman skyrocketer. Like a Yasir Qadhi main session speech or something, the kind that make you feel absolutely proud to be Muslim. Also, community focus is solid, as well. One of the best Eid Khutbahs I’ve heard was for Eid ul-Ftir in 1423/2002 by Dr. Sherman Jackson. He spoke about issues of the community, particularly the problem of divorce and backbiting about families that go through it. I liked that; the community was all gathered right there and be brought attention to a problem that needed to be addressed.

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  2. zfnd

    great reflections

    lol party atmosphere on the 27th. So true. We had zip lock bags with laddos passed out.

    “Am I the only person who thinks it would just be great if masjids randomly prayed different numbers of rak’at for Taraweeh every night, 8 one night, 12 on another, 22 on another?”

    LOL. Oh, how the uncles would love this one.

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  3. zaynab

    *Is the Eid Khutbah the hardest one to deliver?

    This breaks my heart every year. The most beautiful brother gives the khutbah in my community, and since there is a barrier, a lot of women (mostly younger girls) just completely ignore him – which is only compounded by the kids running around.

    One thing that always amazes me is the spirit of sisterhood/brotherhood that comes over pple.
    – This year I did Eid with my family, and then did some small volunteering at the salaat for pple doing it on Saturday. While waiting for the bus home, it was raining a little, and a sister with her 2 young brothers pulled up and offered me a ride to my bus station.
    – Last year, I went to taraweeh in the main masjid across town on a really cold night. While I was walking to the train, a brother pulled over across the street and said he and his wife would like to give me a ride home. Ma sha’Allah he was so respectful and didn’t make his wife get out of the car to ask me. (not many pple could approach a strange female at night without sending her into a panic lol)

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  4. Omar Mumtaz

    Alhamdulillah, Ramadan is my favorite month for more reasons than I can think of!
    But am I the only one who thinks Ramadan has been passing by faster and faster each year?

    One major change for me, just like SaqibSaab, was that this was my first Ramadan when I’m married. And my advice to the single and able brothers: Get married before the next Ramadan, insha’Allah.

    I completely agree about the gifts idea. Don’t take being close to your family for granted. My family lives overseas and I totally miss the gift exchange tradition I grew up with when I was with them.

    On a good note, after spending the month of Ramadan at home in California, I went to spend the Eid Weekend in El Paso, TX with my wife’s family. The Eid khutba was great, and thanks to Shaykh Yaser, I got to taste THE BEST ZA’TAR BREAD EVER before leaving the masjid. And even though I went out for a big breakfast with family afterwards, there was nothing on the menu to take my mind (and taste buds) off of what I had tasted at the masjid!

    Alright, I shall now conclude my random thoughts and wish you all a very happy Eid Mubarak. Taqqabal Allahu minna wa minkum.

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  5. ruth nasrullah

    Asalaamu alaikum. Br. Ibnabeeomar, you said: “How much hope do we have in our Masjid administrations when people are still easily angered and yell and scream even when the Shayateen are locked up?”

    You were at that meeting too, huh?

    I say that in jest but actually it’s one of the things (as I mentioned on AnonyMouse’s eid party post) that made me sad about the masjid and about Muslims in general. A couple years ago the screaming and pounding fists on tables was so horrifying it actually brought a new convert, a 17 year old girl, to tears, saying “I didn’t think this was how Muslims were!” At the last screaming and yelling match masquerading as an administrative meeting, the director’s teenage granddaughter was present and I took her out of the room so she wouldn’t have to witness that (although you could hear it all up and down the hallways).

    “Is it always like this?” she asked me. I told her the truth – not always, but often.

    Shame on them. They behave like animals.

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  6. ibn wadud

    My thoughts are all the same as yours subhanallah!!

    What I did differently this year is go to as many masajid here in yorkshire, england as possible. what a liberating way to pray salaatul taraweeh. majority prayed twenty, some prayed 12, some 8. One mosque had 40 on offer! But by god didnt i get a telling off by the uncles – “you have to stick to 1 masjid argument etc etc” – i felt i handled these situation quite well but im not known to hide this dissapoint on my face too well (never did play poker!) (alhandulillah!)

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  7. khaled

    I agree with MR what a great reflection of ramadan and eid. therfore i should add something my masjid did for the month of ramadan. The admin setup 2 different halls in which 1 hall does the regular 20 rakat taraweeh finishing on the 27 and another hall praying 20 rakat and have khatm every 10 days. This is something i never seen before but was very interesting.

    salam aleykum

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  8. Yus from the Nati

    “*Am I the only person who thinks it would just be great if masjids randomly prayed different numbers of rak’at for Taraweeh every night, 8 one night, 12 on another, 22 on another?”

    You are definitely not the only one broham!

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  9. AnonyMouse

    “Is there anything cuter than 1-2 year old children lining up and trying to pray taraweeh? May Allah(swt) bless all the Muslim children and make them leaders of the muttaqoon.”

    Agreed, and ameen!
    However, I personally love the older ones (8-10) who, despite the more lenient attitude towards them, still line up with us and pray most/ all of the Taraweeh. Masha’Allah!

    “How much hope do we have for our ummah when people must be separated after almost coming to blows over breaking fast at one calendar’s time as opposed to another which was 3 minutes later?”

    Yikes! :O

    “How much thought and effort do we put into Eid gifts for our families?”

    A few years ago, my little brothers and I decided to save up all our spending money for the year and pool it together so that, come Ramadhaan, we’d make an “Eid gift list” for our family and close friends. Al-Hamdulillaah, it’s been going strong for around three years now and we love seeing the expression on people’s face when we surprise them with something they certainly didn’t expect!

    “Is the Eid Khutbah the hardest one to deliver?”

    I think so. I felt really bad for my dad, who stayed up ’till 3 in the morning preparing his khutbah, only to be totally ignored and have everyone (read: women) get up and start socializing the moment he opened his mouth to speak.
    Grrr!

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  10. H. Ahmed

    I love this post. Great thoughts & observations. Your site is actually one of the few blogs i try to keep up with nowadays.

    And i completely second that notion about the big city-wide eid salats. I remember back in the day when Eid was in the spring, we’d have thousands of muslims across new york city and long island gather in flushing meadows park for eid salat. I dont know who organized that back in the day (ICNA maybe?) but they really aught to bring that back!!!

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  11. Hazem Talha

    Great article mashallah. I have actually had most of those same experiences, lol.

    As far as what you were saying about the “financial planning before ramadan”..

    I heard a brother saying that famous story where the prophet (SAW) asked who would donate for the upcoming war (I think it was Tabuk) and Uthmaan (RA) stood up and said he would give x amount in camels and goods.

    Then the prophet asked again who would give and again Uthmaan stood up and said he would donate 2x.

    This happened a third time also and Uthmaan gave an even greater amount of camels and goods. Then the Prophet proclaimed loudly (aw kama qaal): Uthmaan has nothing to worry about after today i.e. he is forgiven all his sins and is guaranteed paradise.

    So the brother who was speaking mentioned that narrtive and was saying don’t let the fact that you gave yesterday stop you from giving again today for another worthy cause, Which I thought made alot of sense, particularly because we WERE in the month of Ramadan.

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  12. Amad

    asalamalikum… nice!

    You know i was talking about this same thing with a friend and I absolutely agree that the “khatma” (finishing of Quran) should be postponed till the 29th… atleast you’ll get the majority of the crowd to come on the 28/29th!

    Also, another fascinating thing… a small sign of Allah’s Infinite Wisdom is that He ordained the last 10 nights of Ramadan to be special as opposed to the first or the middle. As we consider our own examples.. spirits and energies are up for the first 10 days for sure… they start waning towards the end of the next 10 and then Allah gives us this whole new way to rejuvenate and refresh ourselves for this last push. Imagine if the best 10 nights were the first 10 nights— I think you’d find the masajids half empty in the last 10 nights… subhanAllah, everything is so amazing in our deen!

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  13. Amad

    On the 8 vs 20.. what I find interesting is that many of the uncles that insist on 20 usually are no where to be found after 8 :)

    Also, the majority of our masajid attendees left after 8, NOT because of religious reasons but because they were tired…

    I think they should have the April-October 8-rule and November-March 20-rule. Shorter days you pray 20, longer days you pray 8! A 15-year compromise :) Our tarawih used to end at 1045PM or so… when we reach June timings, we’ll be there till midnight+.

    Finally, I loved the way Sh. Waleed did it in our masjid back in Houston… vote! Democracy in tarawih! :)

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  14. Alaa

    “Quran should always be finished in the 29th night for Taraweeh. When it is finished earlier, it gives a false sense of the end of Ramadan ….”

    SubhaAllah, this is very true! i remember i was going to taraweeh the night after and people were like “didn’t they finish the quraan last night, why are you going again?”!!

    “….Does anyone else feel uncomfortable with the almost party-like atmosphere on the night the Quran is finished being recited?

    I do! i’m alomost tempted not to pray at the masjid on that night!

    “Why must the month of worship almost always end on a note of celebratory disobedience for so many people?”

    SubhanAllah…very true!

    “Is the Eid Khutbah the hardest one to deliver? I’ve never given one but I can’t imagine trying to advise people who are staring at you as if every second you continue to speak is like another stab wound preventing them from getting their party on.”

    Very True, yet soo sad :(

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  15. Moiez

    Personally this ramadan went faster than mouse being chased by a cat, subhanallah the difference in speed between last year and this year was like the difference between a horse and a car.

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  16. Tarannum

    Our Eid prayers were outside in 40degree weather! So I couldn’t go since the kids would get sick sitting there for 1-2hrs., but my Husband got to go and the Khutbah wasn’t uplifting or motivational he said! I wish we can have more khutbah givers who are from here as they have a better command of the language like Dr. Sherman Jackson and I pray they would directly address the problems of the coomunity as brother Saqib said.

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  17. Moiez

    Haha I didnt realize I said mouse, mouse.
    I like the idea of long days 8 raka and short days 20 raka, thats sounds beautiful and easy yet it is going to cause more controversey no doubt.

    Had anyones eyes opened up to the fact that alot of people have not gone through the tarbia of islamic manners, I mean I felt like some of the sahaba when they were at war with the romans I think and people were being called from all over the arabian peninsula and they havnt gone through the tarbia that the sahaba have and the ashab were getting a little fed up until Abu Bakr(RA) told them to be patient because they have not gone through the tarbia that most of us have thanks to the Prophet(SA), I mean people were still joking, laughing, and talking around during the khutba, the guys were going to the ladies side and begining conversations with the convertable top hijab girls, leaving trash around thinking we have a clean up crew to pick them up. And critizing things at the masjid without coming to the masjid regularly. And these are not just at the eid prayers.

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  18. SrAnonymous

    In our local masjid the khatm was on the Saturday, the 25th night. Very few women were there on the 27th night…husn udh dhan maybe they were all planning to attend the late night tahajjud.
    I also want to give props to noorart.com for their latest audio cd “Quran for little Muslims part 3″. After hearing the story of the kids who stayed up all night with their parents for Laylatul Qadr, my children wanted to do the same.
    They were really sleepy, but they managed to stay up for a bit. I also threw in some chocolate brownies, strawberries n whipped cream all washed down by some mango lassi.
    We also wrote down some of our Ramadan experiences and placed them in a yogurt container (how desi is that?) that we called the Ramadan Time Capsule to be opened next year.

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  19. Abu Bakr

    Assalamu Alaykum

    Last Ramadan I did the “half-plate pledge”. I used to split my plate with another brother. Also, they would give a piece of pizza with each plate. Neither of us would eat the pizza, we would give it to someone else.

    That helped alot in worship. However, this Ramadan, I wasn’t in my hometown so no br. Khalid around and so I ended up eating a full plate myself. At the masjid where I was at, that was ALOT. Even when I would specifically ask for less, they would pile it on.

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  20. Ibrahim

    Assalamu alikum

    This one or half plate works much if you are doing your iftars at a masjid. Where I’ve lived the community is not big enough so except a day there is no iftar….at home, it’s more difficult to control and even more difficult if you have a family (someone to cook for you)

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