City of Brass

City of Brass


teaching the message of Ramadan by example – at 3:40am

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Fatema Baldiwala.

Three oclock

“Aw, mom, I cant get up says my younger son, snuggling more deeply into his blanket, shielding his eyes from the bright light. “Its too hard”, mumbles my elder son, as he defiantly turns his head away, refusing to get up.

Its 3.40 am in the morning. I need my kids up in time for sihori the mandatory morning meal before sunrise, so that they have energy to fast throughout the day.My first reaction is to yell, shake them up, I had prepared them before putting them to bed that we would be getting up early for sihori, yet here they were refusing and time was running out…..tea was percolating, the special breakfast that I had so painstakingly prepared was getting cold.

The month is Ramadan. This is a month dedicated to fasting, prayers and for spiritual and mental growth. Spiritually, mentally it is a month of restraint and striving. Striving to be a better individual, striving to be purer and more charitable in your thoughts as well your deeds.

And charity and good deeds begins first at home.

Many view Ramadan as the month where emphasis is on the needs of the body, but that is like seeing a picture incompletely. Ramadan means not only being aware of your body’s needs but also it is a month dedicated to mental and spiritual needs.

My kids like most people view Ramadan as just needs of the body being deprived. they grumble about the hunger they feel when fasting, or the lack of sleep because of the long nightly prayers, but Ramadan is much more than that. It is month when you strive mentally and spiritually to be a better person. But how do you get this message across to kids?

I have tried by picking on every teachable moment. Those moments when you see your kids acting like they normally do, arguing about petty things, like who gets the bigger slice of pizza, or who gets to sit where in the car. their constant dodging of household/school chores, their wanting to spend the entire day playing video games or watching T.V. All those present teachable moments, to talk about doing the right thing, making the right choices, even if that choice is more difficult and it is easier to just give up, or just give in. As a mom you need to pick and choose your battles, and yet there are times when they win, and you are left exhausted and defeated.

Its summer. Kids feel entitled to what they term their “break” away from school work. A day is full of these moments. Those moments when you want to pull out your hair in frustration because they just don’t get it, that is not the way to act or talk.

Yet, it is Ramdaan You have made a promise to be more patient, more kind in your interactions with your kids, less bossy, less “because I say so” and more “this is the reason…. while ensuring your tone is gentle.

I tried being “mean, bossy mom” to no avail. it just made my kids more defiant, more aggressive in their collective and natural tendency to do the opposite of what I want them to do. I tried “bribing” and giving points but that only reinforced their greed.

The message of Ramadan is to strive for what is right, even if it is hard. it is 3:40 am in the morning. Not exactly the best time of day to be kind, patient, understanding…

Yet it is moment I can use to teach them the message of Ramadan, where I can teach by example. Because however much I try to deny it, if my daily actions were put under a microscope, how would I fare? Would I be able to live up to what I tell them is the right way to act and speak?

As a mom, with little eyes watching your every move, seeing if you are practicing what you preach, in this month especially, the question haunts me, how do I make the conscious effort to practice what I preach.

With a sigh, yet a new determination, I bend down gently to wake-up my kids.

Fatima Baldiwala is a writer and a mother in Los Angeles.

Related: Ramadan, the month of Jihad



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Quaid

    fatema,you are doing good.
    nicely written.

  • http://ulr nafisa thahirally

    East or West the mont of Ramazan brings new hope and faith. A time of reflection redemption and renewal.

Previous Posts

Proud to an American, proud to be a Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Can atheism drive someone to murder? #muslimlivesmatter #chapelhillshooting
Like everyone else, I am in shock at the horrible tragedy in North Carolina last night, where three young Muslim Americans were brutally executed. The police are investigating and the murderer is in custody and cooperating. The family of the victims will hold a press conference soon, until then I am

posted 4:21:58pm Feb. 11, 2015 | read full post »

Halal Italian and Mexican catering in Chicago
This is a guest post by Whitney Gaspar. I am not Muslim. I am not any religion, really. I was baptized as a Catholic to please my grandma and raised as an atheist by my mother. I am spiritual and I believe in God. But that is not why I eat halal. I eat halal because it is logical. It simpl

posted 11:09:45am Feb. 09, 2015 | 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.