I got the idea from MPAC's Young Leaders Summit coordinator Yasmin Hussein to keep a blog about my experience this Ramadan. A bunch of the attendees of the three summits got the conversation rolling via e-mail, and we've decided to keep an American Muslim blog (with maybe a Canadian or two (;) about our experience during this holy month. Every year the site www.boston.com puts out a photo article called The Big Picture covering Ramadan around the world. I always saw these as beautiful photos and I was thankful that Islam was being shown around the world, but it was brought to my attention that the stories of Muslims aren't being told by Muslims. Where do you read about the American Muslims? I was featured in a local newspaper last year about my experience, but I don't feel like we were represented as well as we could have been (article). So our objective was to share our personal stories of how we fast. Each of us are from different parts of the US, and we each experience the days of Ramadan differently. To tell our story as best as we can, Yasmin divided the days amongst us, and we will be blogging throughout the month (link can be found via MPAC site).
Another initiative to share stories about our experiences is Breakfast at Night. Upload personal photos that you've taken during Ramadan and create new traditions amongst fellow Muslims. This is actually a really cool project, and I think that it's as beneficial for Muslims as it is for everyone else! It's like a looking glass into our world, which is -believe it or not- a very curious thing to someone who is unfamiliar with Islam.
Anyway, those are two cool things going on this month, among many others I'm sure.
I haven't done this before, but I intend on blogging about my experiences and new things that I come across. I plan on spending my days in reflection and really getting the most out of this holy month as I can. I don't think I talk about religion on my blog that often, but this is something personal that I would like to do, and inshaAllah we can all take something from it! I will be spending most of the month away from home, which as unfortunate as it is to be away from family, I really feel like I can get a lot out of it by being productive in reading and learning on my own. This is my first fall semester with a car on campus, so I plan on driving out to the not-so-local Masjid and praying Taraweeh every night! I think that's the thing that I'm most excited about. Ramadan feels so strange when you have no way of getting to a mosque to pray among other Muslims who spend their days fasting like you do.
EDIT: I also found some cool sites that offer some guidance during the month:
- Quran with spoken English translation. I like when the translation is audio, that way I can listen and understand and I don't have to be right in front of the computer the entire time, pausing the Arabic audio to read the English translation.
- Muslim Matters posts relevant lectures and good reads throughout the year, but they offer a special Ramadan series, as well as interesting opinion articles such as the recent one on the Dark Knight Dilemma.
- Youtube. There are about a billion videos about Ramadan and spiritual guidance. Always verify the reputability of the speaker, though. You don't want to waste your time, and you don't want to leave with false facts.
"As helpful as the internet is, it could be just as hurtful when you don't check your sources" - Abraham Lincoln (SEE!?! You never know!)
- Blogs. There are one and a half + billion Muslims, and it's always nice to hear each others' stories and know that we're all working on the same thing. It's a great way to give and receive support. Plus, blogs are cute and fun. Check out one of my new favorites, Ramadan Rendezvous. Look through archives of older blogs to see advice or articles from last year's Ramadan. Ramadan lectures are almost always recyclable :)