City of Brass

City of Brass


Running To Stand Still

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Aamer H. Jamali.

Full Sturgeon Moon - August 2012

Halfway. What an incredibly loaded word. On the one hand, it emobdies a sense of accomplishment as we realize that it is all downhill from here. On the other hand, we look back at all we’ve done in the past two weeks, and realize… you mean, I have to do the same thing again?!

This Ramadan has been a tougher one than usual. In addition to the heat and the long days, summer Ramadan brings with it other challenges as well. Late sunsets mean late prayers, and late iftaar. Followed in short course by late sleeping. Throw in an early suhoor, and you have two large meals separated by a short period of time (which is spent mostly sleeping). Finally, in the United States at least, there is no adjustment for the morning start time of work or school. The upshot of this confluence of events is a long fast, occurring on hot days and associated with very little sleep and two large, closely spaced meals with very little time for exercise. Needless to say, this is not a recipe for health or happiness.

Another challenge with summer Ramadan is the opportunity cost of fasting. With the nation’s kids off from school, summer is the natural time for family vacations. Of course, with Islamic restrictions against travelling during the fast as well as the necessarily decreased energy levels of the adults during Ramadan, summer vacations for most Muslim families have been abbreviated or cut out altogether this year. In addition, we are often left “minding the shop” and covering for co-workers who are on vacation, hence actually working harder during the fast. All of this combines to lead to bored children being dragged to the mosque every night, and tired parents working overtime.

Challenges should not be confused with excuses. This is Ramadan after all, and an opportunity which we are given only one month out of the year. And most importantly, our actions are a direct result of our own choices. As the Quran reminds us, there is no compulsion in religion.

Unfortunately, however, the challenges above do have a real effect on my ability to observe Ramadan the way that I would want. While I have been fortunate to keep every fast so far, my ability to read the Quran as much as I would like has been limited, and my ability to attend the masjid for regular group prayers (imamat) has been limited to only a fraction of my potential. Even my usual goals of Quranic memorization have been relegated to polishing up those surahs I have already learned. This Ramadan, for me, seems more about surviving than excelling.

More difficult to bear than the pangs of hunger during Ramadan is the feeling that all of my efforts serve merely to keep me treading water–achieving the bare minimum of what I would ask of myself, or what Allah (SWT) would ask of me. But even these types of years have their place in the arc of my life– the disappointment I feel will serve as a fuel for next year, insha-Allah. For this year, I will endeavor to stay in shape by running to stand still.

Aamer H. Jamali, MD, FACC is a cardiologist in Los Angeles, and blogs at Notes from the Heart.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment insiyah jamali

    Dear Doctor;I bet Allah subhanu also chuckled when he read your recent blog. Being human is very difficult but being an angel is very easy. And our maker knows it better than all of us. Look at the evidence in “The Earthquake”which says “that day mankind will issue forth in scattered groups to be shown their deeds. And those whoso doth good an atom’s weight will see it then, and whoso doth ill an atom’s weight will see it then.”How much does an atom weigh? So run and go figure now.

    Love your perspectives though.

Previous Posts

Video: (muslim) Mehdi Hasan interviews (atheist) Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union
This is an excellent debate between the most emphatic atheist of our time, Richard Dawkins, and political journalist Mehdi Hasan. Hasan is brilliantly prepared for the debate and treats Dawkins with utmost respect, but methodically defends belief and religion as a force for good. https://www.you

posted 11:46:28am Apr. 08, 2014 | read full post »

Two Bohras come to aid of Frenchwoman attacked in Mumbai
In the past two months I've traveled to India three times, to attend the funeral and other events after the passing of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (ra). This quite shocking story happened in the Fort area of Mumbai, which is quite close to where I spent much of my time and is considered one of the b

posted 6:20:59pm Mar. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Amidst the grief, solace in the succession of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani The forty day period of mourning has now elapsed, but the profound sadness at the loss of the beloved head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a spiritual mo

posted 9:48:33am Mar. 16, 2014 | read full post »

NYPD's illegal spying on Muslims was legal, says legal system
This is profoundly disappointing but not entirely unexpected: In a decision filed Thursday in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismisse

posted 12:44:10pm Feb. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Valentine's Day and Islam - the virtues of mohabbat (love)
Happy Valentine's Day! I am biased towards appreciating Valentine's Day not just for it's Gujarati origins but also because it's my birthday. However, not all Muslims share my appreciation. Here's a typical example: In its official Friday sermon text distributed to mosques in the Muslim-major

posted 6:04:27am Feb. 14, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.