You may have figured out by now that I’m a lists-operated robot. My life is basically a to-do list and I enjoy checking things off it very much.
Ramadan is a key occasion for Muslims and everyone living in the UAE. We have shorter working hours, which means a lot of time at hand that most of you like to spend chilling (read: wasting).
What I think though is that you whether you’re Muslim or not, this is a terrific opportunity for you to get back on track (remember New Year’s resolutions?). Being the overly organized person that I am, I also broke down my Ramadan into simple tasks that will leave me feeling a little (a lot) better about myself as a Muslim, a daughter, a friend and a person in general. Usually, my Ramadan is about three things; being generous, improving self and spirituality.
These goals are for my personal record but I also hope to inspire anyone reading this to come up with their own simple goals and return as a better person once Ramadan is over. So, here we go.
A Dirham a Day
My mom encourages us to drop a coin in charity every day before leaving the house – it’s some kind of religious or cultural thing she was raised doing so she taught us as well. We have a box at the entrance where I drop a coin before I leave but only when I remember. Even if it’s a Dirham, I think it’s a good way to get into the habit of giving. Not like I don’t donate otherwise, but the concept of a Dirham a day is pretty cool.
Smile every day
I know negative thoughts come without notice so making up your mind to tackle them when they do come is a good first step. I want to make this my resolution because I’m ungrateful 60% of the time. Smiling every day is difficult especially when you’re hungry and you have to commute through traffic to get to an office where everyone is already sulking because of hunger. But things don’t happen for me until I turn them into resolutions/to-dos so here it is.
Third year in a row no swearing is on my Ramadan resolutions list. Expletives are an integral part of my daily vocabulary so much so that I rely on them to describe people, things, situations even though I was educated in proper English. I hate having a dirty mouth and I hate using “this shit that shit” in the name of English.
I want to use Ramadan as an opportunity to get rid of that habit and speak English even when I’m angry. From my previous experiences, not using swearwords is quite challenging but worthwhile because it helps me identify why I’m angry (as opposed to f***k that shit) and then tackle it accordingly.
Host friends for one Iftar
I love Iftar parties with my little social circle in the comfort of my home (talk about ambiversion). All of us wearing fancy Desi clothes, talking good things about good people, praying together, eating lots of food and making plans for Eid. This Ramadan, I want to learn how to host friends for dinner without mom’s help. It’s challenging but this is a real adult skill that I’m lacking.
Wash Iftar dishes
So I started washing the dishes after Iftar last Ramadan to help my mom while I’m home. I’m still surprised at how incredibly gratifying that was. This may be a stupid resolution for some because they already do chores, but I don’t move a limb at home so it’s a big deal shush. Point is to encourage myself to do these little things that I don’t normally do to a) maximize Ramadan blessings and b) practice being a better human being
Finish the Quran
A standard Ramadan resolution for any Muslim. Pretty simple, no? Yes, if there weren’t ten other things I had to squeeze into my day and month. The Quran has 30 chapters and reading one chapter takes me about 45 minutes. But there are several barriers such as work, commute and my period, that slow down progress and I end up 10 chapters short at the end of the month.
Understand the meaning of 3 Surahs
I’ve been reading the Quran since the age of 4 and I’ve read it over a hundred times now. It’s a shame I can’t explain the meaning of any Surah. So this Ramadan, I thought I will read not just the Quran, but also make some time to listen to the translation of 3 Surahs that interest me most, particularly the one on women. 3 is a good target, right?
Most of my Ramadan goals have been on the list for over 5 years now. Although I successfully achieve my goals every year, almost all of the good habits I pick up in that month eventually evaporate until next year. But I try not to be too hard on myself about that. Some of the habits actually stick so here’s a pat on my back from me.