I seem to have had an unexpected effect of my fasting this year. Most of my adult life, I’ve had issues with dandruff, and none of the remedies seem to help much. Then suddenly, I realize that I haven’t had any issue with dandruff since Ramadan started and I’ve been fasting. Now why is that? What changed in my diet, or is fasting itself just good for dandruff?
My husband didn’t really say anything to me, but I don’t think he expected me to fast, and he has done nothing to really encourage or discourage. A couple of subtle things that he said or did made me feel that he might consider my fast somehow less important than his own because he considers it “optional.” Somehow this didn’t seem quite fair to me, although I can’t argue with the logic. Then again, it could all be in my head.
I decided to look it up, to see if other women feel this way. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything about how other women feel. On the Islamic question answer website (islam-qa.com) I did find the statement that a nursing woman is in fact obliged to fast if she does not fear for herself or her baby, is in good health, and fasting is not difficult for her. That would mean that my fasts are in fact obligatory (so long as I continue finding them easy and my milk supply and baby are unaffected) and are not any less important than my husband’s.
So how do other women feel about this? Have you had that experience?
I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been focusing on Ramadan, which has really been going very well, alhamdillah.
It always amazes me just how much we have during Ramadan and through no effort of our own. It seems to me that Allah really blesses this month, not just spiritually but materially also. Since Ramadan started I’ve only had to cook every couple of days, and we have more food than I know what to do with. It isn’t that we are buying more either.
Of course if you look at it, you realize that you really can’t eat as much during the short night as you can all day, and if you’ve been fasting all day, you get full very quickly also. But still there is so much good food all around us, and our needs are little. Allah really has blessed us abundantly.
I started a post a couple days about moon sighting. I was working on it one-handed with Baby in the other arm for close to an hour too.Then Baby needed a diaper change, and my husband came along, hopped on facebook, and closed my unsaved post. Lesson learned. I should save things. But the last time I saved a draft it seemed like my formatting got changed.
About moon sightings, the people at the masjid say that they have had reports of credible moon sightings throughout the United States, so it is officially Ramadan here. Throughout the United States is a pretty big geographic area. If it was at all possible for anyone to see it, someone was going to. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t local. We looked for the moon last night, but it was far too cloudy to see, so if we were depending on local sightings, I suppose it wouldn’t be Ramadan yet.
I believe in local moon sightings, but it seems like hardly any communities do that. Actually basing the decision on a sighting is preferable to those who do not. The Prophet (s) told us to “fast when you see it, and break your fast when you see it, and if it is cloudy or hidden, count out 30 days.” This seems to me like it should make things simple because if the moon isn’t seen, it is 30 days. Simple.
But people don’t act like it is simple. In fact, it can become very complicated. When I was a new Muslim there was this argument that we couldn’t base it on moon sightings as it would be impossible during certain times of the year (eg. October) to see the moon in the northern hemisphere on the 29th day. So if we can’t see the moon on the 29th day, the month is 30 days. That still doesn’t seem complicated.
Some communities don’t care about sightings at all. They base their decisions on calculations and calendars and can tell you when the month will start and when the eid will be long before it actually comes. I can see the convenience in this, knowing when to take off from work, renting facilities, making plans, but I don’t agree with it.
Other people will accept a moon sighting anywhere in the world or only take the sighting from their home countries.
Probably the majority will look for sightings anywhere in their country. In the “Muslim world” countries will declare the start of Ramadan or eid. The United States is not capable of this due to a lack of a centralized Muslim authority, so each community makes the decision for themselves.
Some people are very bothered by different cities celebrating at different times. Especially in our globalized society they feel like everyone should fast and celebrate the eid on the same day. Traditionally though people in different cities were on different days, and this wasn’t a problem, so I don’t see why it should be now. Honestly, the moon isn’t always visible in different places on the same day. Just because they’ve seen the moon in California or Florida or Saudi Arabia, doesn’t mean we could see it here, but a moon sighting is still better than none at all.
At the masjid, online, just about everywhere, I see suggestions for making the most out of Ramadan, and one of the biggest is not to focus on food. Apparently many Muslims are very elaborate during Ramadan. They spend hours cooking. They have special foods and lavish iftars. Some people even gain weight during Ramadan.
I can’t say as I’ve ever had that problem. I always seem to lose weight, but I must confess I am focusing a little on food this year. My husband and I will both be breaking our fasts and eating suhoor alone most days this Ramadan. We are unlikely to get invited to any iftars, and on workdays, my husband will have to take all of his meals at work.
With the absence of family and friends, I want to make it at least a little bit special by giving good food to break our fasts, but really my main focus is our health. Both of us have physically demanding jobs. I am nursing a baby. He is doing heavy lifting. I need to make sure he has enough food to give him strength and energy for his work. Truthfully I worry about him. For myself I need to make sure that my diet is nutritious and I drink enough to stay hydrated so that I keep producing good milk for my baby.
This is actually difficult because Baby sets the schedule. The one day I thought I might try a practice fast, I set my alarm to get up for suhoor, and baby decided she needed to nurse. I fell asleep nursing her and barely woke up in time to say fajr before the sunrise. This happens far too frequently. Even trying to fit in some extra prayers after isha or before fajr, I barely have the energy for witr, with isha so late, and of course actually waking up for fajr(or suhoor if I’m going to fast) is a priority.
Another suggestion I’ve often seen is not to sleep after fajr. I can see this when fajr is 5 or 6 in the morning, but this time of year it’s not realistic for a lot of us. If we have to get up at 2:30 or 3:00, and we can’t go to bed until 10:30 or 11:00, that’s simply not enough sleep to function and meet our responsibilities. I think we also have to think about other people and not be driving in a sleep deprived state.
I have also seen people who seem to pick tarawih over fajr. If you can only do one, pick the fard.
It is not very long now until Ramadan. I want to prepare myself to make the most out of the month. At the same time I may need to take it easily.
I want to fast this year. I didn’t fast last year. I suppose I worried slightly that it could affect the baby, but the main reason was living with my mom and not wanting that argument. I know people who fasted while pregnant, and their babies turned out just fine. Furthermore, they say it is more difficult when you are nursing. Still it seemed to me better to show my family that Islam was not a harsh, inflexible religion, which obliged pregnant women to fast, something they view as harmful.
Quite honestly, it doesn’t feel much like Ramadan when you aren’t fasting. I feel like I missed a lot of the blessing of it last year. And who wants two months worth of fasts to make up? So this year I want to fast.
I’ve looked into the research. It shouldn’t affect the baby’s health or growth at all. The main thing I have to be careful of is not getting dehydrated because that could affect my milk supply, and my milk supply is very important to me and Baby. I need to make sure I drink plenty of water for iftar and suhoor and in between and take those prenatal vitamins I never remember to take. If I do start getting dehydrated I need to take a break from fasting.
I don’t want to get lethargic. Baby needs a cheerful, energetic Mommy. This is the hardest time of year. The longest, hottest days. Night prayers are wonderful, especially during Ramadan, but isha is already late, and fajr is early, so I shouldn’t overdo it. If I exhaust myself during the night, I can’t make up sleep during the day with baby, and fasting is already wearing.
Ramadan will be demanding for my husband also. He works a physically difficult job, and he will need to take all his meals at work, so I will need to make sure he has lots of food to take for iftar and suhoor.
So that is my plan for Ramadan. Inshallah, I can increase my reading of Quran and say all my dua. Bring my worship back up to what it used to be before Baby.
May Allah give us the special blessings of the month. May he guide us and our beloved children. Ameen.