Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Preparing for Ramadan 2016

Ramadan is nearly here, this year it’ll start on either Monday or Tuesday, depending on which night the crescent Moon is sighted. That means it’s time to start preparing for this year’s fast.

For those of you not familiar with my blog I’m not Muslim but for the last six years I have been doing the Ramadan fast. It’s a great way to keep yourself on the same time as the rest of the country (stay up late, have a nap in the afternoon, have meals around the same time) and it’s one of those things that allows you to experience what most people here are experiencing, a way to help integrate into Qatar better.

For the past week I’ve been weaning myself off of the caffeine, I’m now down to one coffee and one tea a day. By Monday I should be down to 1-2 teas a day, something that’s easy to stop without caffeine withdrawal. Caffeine withdrawal really sucks and there’s no way I think I could get through a day both fasting and having splitting headaches.

Got a lot of my shopping done: dates, olives, whole wheat pastas and breads, lentils, nuts, soup. Picked up three kinds of dates including my favourite type, Ajwa al Madinah (I taste-tested a bunch of different varieties of dates a few years ago, you can find that blog post here). Ajwas are really expensive though, typically 3-4 times the price of other varieties, so I also bought some cheaper varieties and I’ll mix them when I break my fast with dates.

I also have my reading material picked out. Every Ramadan I try to read something related to Islam in order to understand it better. One year the Qur’an, other years hadiths, and one year a book on Islamic jurisprudence. This year I’ll dig into something that I purchased at the Book Exhibition a while back.

A collection of hadiths called the Sunan Abu Dawud, after the man who compiled them (Abu Dawud, “Dawud” is Arabic for “David”). It is considered by Sunni Muslims as one of the six authentic collections of hadiths, but it is of lesser importance than the Al-Bukhari hadiths and the Al-Muslim hadiths, which I already own a summary of. This set of Abu Dawud hadiths is five volumes so it’s huge. It’ll take a while for me to go through it, finding hadiths that interest me and shine a window into Muslim culture and practices.

Less than a week to go, I think I’ll go out for a nice dinner this weekend before the fasting sets in.

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