Journal Your Ramadan – Day #22: Prayer/Free

The last ten days of Ramadan are the most special ones and important ones, particularly because of the opportunities which are given to us to make prayer, ask for forgiveness, give charity and really make the most of worshipping Allah as sincerely as possible. It’s also the best time for us to gain rewards and forgiveness which would not be accessible in the rest of the year.

Throughout Ramadan, my family and I do the best we can to pray and keep remembrance of Allah, whether it’s reading the Holy Quran, with prayer beads, listening to lectures or with prayer and salah itself – something which never fails to give us peace of mind and a sense of belonging. So I’ll describe Prayer today as something like a window – one of opportunity, one to see inside ourselves and our souls, and one which can be used to look outwards too, for a more positive future.

Keep husn adh-dhann bi Allah (good expectations from Allah). When you ask, remember you are asking the Most Generous King. If you hope for the best, He will give you the best. Don’t hold back. Trust in Him, pour out your heart in front of Him, and let no doubt, no barrier, no evil thoughts keep you away from ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem!

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #21: Sky

The garden is blossoming right now (helped along with some scorching sun followed by plenty of rain and thunder), and the part of the greenery we’ve all been enjoying are our neighbour’s heavily-ripe cherry tree, which we’ve all been having fun with. I love the look of trees against an expansive, blue sky, providing an almost romantic silhouette which glows in the sun – so what better than the trees in my gardens against the blue sky for this post? Here’s some of the cherries which we’ve picked, and which we have been enjoying for our iftari too.

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We’re also growing some pears in our garden too, although these aren’t ripe yet and will probably take another month before they’re ready – but in the meantime, the pear tree is growing and providing some nice shade in the garden.

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #20: Grateful for…

…Sisters. I have three of them, and now a sister-in-law who joined the family a few years ago to become one of us.

She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities.
She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway.
She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark.
She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink.
Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.

— Barbara Alpert

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #19: 6 ‘o clock

I’ll be honest. Most days at 6pm, (in Ramadan, that is!) I’m asleep, taking a nap after work, or just lazing on the weekend. The days are long in London, and so are the fasts, so it’s easy to feel a little worn out and in need of a power nap. I don’t have any pictures of me sleeping though, so here’s one of my niece (around 6ish!) asleep in an amazingly relaxed state, arms thrown out and all.

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #18: In My Bag

Like a lot of other people, I carry around a lot of junk in my handbag, half which I hardly use and which should have been thrown out ages ago (I don’t mean half-rotting food though! Mostly receipts and old papers). So this is a peep at the sort of things my handbag normally houses, laid out stylishly so you can see my creams, keys, and purse in full glory.

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #17: Mosque

I couldn’t go down to my local mosque to take photos (and I didn’t think it would look quite right either, a random hijabi hanging around a mosque with a camera at prayer times…maybe not). So here’s a few crystal and glass ornaments of famous mosques in Saudi Arabia that we have at home that we all love, they’re small and pretty and beautifully made.

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And here is my Godzilla-Baby niece messing with my ‘studio’ and showing me how it’s really done!

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #16: Perspective

Perspective. Looking at things from different angles. I suppose this could be applied to Ramadan too, where fasting makes us view food, luxury and privilege in a different way.

I thought I’d post different perspectives of various things I’ve seen to show how conventional things we may be used to can look different when viewed from a different angle (the dandelion one was difficult because I have to crouch down really low to get the camera under the flower!) Perhaps just a reminder that sometimes the best way to look at something isn’t always from the obvious angle.

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A view of a dandelion from the bottom
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An arty bridge that I saw recently
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A picture in Canary Wharf taken a few years ago, I love this picture because of the way the buildings disappear into fog

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #15: ME

So, this is me. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I love photography. I also love a lot of other things. I love books (I read far too much sometimes, I’ll read at work, on the train, on my mobile, on my eReader, my computer, and of course I read a lot more comic books than perhaps I should). I love drawing. Not so great at it, but I try anyway. I also like looking at stupid and funny things on the internet very much, half of the Weekly Links I’ve found are purely by accident, through one of those sessions where you type in ‘jobs in London’ and end up with ‘Dancing cats with bread on their head’.

Ramadan for me is one of those times which feels almost surreal, there’s something in the air which makes it feel all Ramadan-y, perhaps it’s the smell of samosas in the air, but I like to think that it’s more the feeling of unification in Islam, and the fact that our faith feels stronger, purer. Every year it feels like it will be a long month, and consistently, every year the month rushes by so fast that before you know it, it’s Eid. It’s crazy to think that we’re halfway through Ramadan already, we’re just settling in and learning new things we didn’t know about before, and most of all there’s that feeling of appreciation, of our follow Muslims, of the food we have, the lives we lead and the feeling that we are very, very lucky.

So that’s me today, I feel blessed that I’m able to sit here on a laptop and tap away with ease – I could easily be in another country worrying about my next meal or about my safety. In this month we learn not to take what we have for granted too much, and to use our positions to help others less fortunate. I’m hoping to do just one thing this month which will make a difference to someone, whether it’s charity, or sending aid to developing countries. I’d urge you to do the same in this month, if not to help others, then for the reward you’d get for it.

– Harlequin x

day15Props to my sister for letting me take a picture of her face with her sunglasses on!

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #14: Now Playing

I’m not really playing any games at the moment (I do like to play computer games every now and then, or just mobile phone ones), and I’m partial to my board games, but I haven’t really been playing anything recently.

So I thought I would just show a picture of what I would LIKE to be playing, since it’s been years. I used to play chess more often when I was younger (we bought a glass set for my eldest sister years ago because we all played it so much) – I have no idea whether we were playing by the right rules, and we probably cheated a little, but it was still fun.

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Oh, and in case you have tuned in recently and weren’t aware of my Lego obsession, I’ve been having a bit of fun with these as well. Here’s a picture of some Lego, seeing as it’s been a while. These are some Star Wars-themed Lego key rings I bought a while ago, the Darth Vader one is the one I carry around at the moment (and has been nibbled on quite a few times by my niece now), and the Darth Maul one I gave to a friend. There’s something very cool about them both, even though they’re only about three inch high, they’re still mean and proud.

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Journal Your Ramadan – Day #13: In my kitchen

Thought I’d show you a few things that we have in our kitchen, apart from the usual pots and pans and spoons, basically the little pretty and quirky things which make up all the home delights in our kitchen. I won’t mention our chocolate stash in our cupboards, though.

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Some beautifully colourful small bowls that my sister and her husband bought for my Mum from their holiday in Turkey
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Some of our fridge magnets 🙂
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A postcard we have, one of my favourite ones (My mum thought it was a bit strange that I wanted to take a picture of it, but she’s used to me by now!)
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A pickle jar we have on our windowsill
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My mum’s amazing tea collection, she’s been collecting these for years