Now the real test starts for me. One of my absolute favorite K-pop groups released a new music video yesterday. Everyone is talking about it. Everyone is saying how amazing it is.
But I promised myself. I promised myself that I wouldn’t get into music this month. Even if it’s just one video, once I open that door, I might as well say goodbye to all of my Ramadan habits. Ya Allah give me patience and allow me to detach from the material world.
I keep talking about my “Ramadan goals” and “Ramadan habits” but guess I haven’t really been clear to you about what those exactly are. Fasting every day and praying all five prayers are a given. My extra habits are the following:
(1) Refrain from watching TV shows/movies/online videos purely for entertainment. I do have a few exceptions to this rule, namely soccer games and anything Islamic or instructional. I have slipped a few times already by watching a few videos my friends share with me, but I’m really just trying to keep myself from spending all day watching comedy sketches, Kpop-related videos, and fictional TV shows. Those three I’m rigidly avoiding.
(2) Refrain from listening to any and all American music, K-pop (Korean pop) music, and any other music that is not sung by a Muslim artist. Sometimes I break this rule in the car, but at home I keep my iPod stored away and I haven’t been listening to any new songs that have come out (and it’s killing me! But hey, no pain, no gain).
(3) Read the entire Qur’an in Arabic by the end of the month.
Those first two are definitely the most difficult for me. We all have our little time-wasting activities that we indulge in, and music and Korean entertainment are mine. That is why I really need this month to mentally cleanse myself and become less attached to those things that are probably not very beneficial.
Referencing the list of goals I made yesterday, no, I didn’t go to the store or make dinner tonight, but I did complete the third goal: I picked a book to read! I started reading a bit of it today and I know for sure that this the one. It is called Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources by Martin Lings. It’s around 350 pages and as the title says, tells the story of the life of Islam’s final Prophet, Muhammad (S). (For those who don’t know, the “S” I put after Muhammad’s name stands for sallallahu alayhi wassallam which means “Peace and blessings upon him”)
I am about 15 pages in and I can already tell that this is going to be a good read. The book may be about a historical figure, but it reads like a novel. While I do know the general story of the Prophet’s (S) life, the depth and detail put into this book is more than I could have imagined. It is full of detail, but it isn’t dense like a history textbook. The details bring the story to life.
I love that Lings begins the book from before the Prophet (S) was born, really giving us the full story and context of the Prophet’s life. He actually starts with Ibrahim (Abraham) and his sons. The part that I’m at right now is about Muhammad’s grandfather, Abd Al-Muttalib.
Here is a perfect example of the details the book includes that taught me something totally new. I learned way back in Kindergarten who Abd Al-Muttalib was. What I never knew is that “Abd Al-Muttalib” isn’t his actual name; it’s a nickname, given to him when he was a kid. When he was born, his mother, Salma, named him Shaybah. Shaybah’s uncle was named Al-Muttalib, and once when Shaybah and Al-Muttalib were traveling together, some people passing by mistook Shaybah as “Abd Al-Muttalib” or “Al-Muttalib’s slave.” After Al-Muttalib corrects them, saying that the boy is not his slave, but his nephew,
The laughter with which his words were greeted was but a prelude to the merriment that was caused throughout the city as the story of the blunder that ran from mouth to mouth; and from that day the youth was affectionately known as ‘Abd al-Muttalib.
That’s one of those cute, fun little stories that they don’t bother telling you in Sunday School. We all learned the “Muhammad grew up an orphan,” “the Qur’an was revealed to him,” “his wife was his first follower” stories, but I personally have always found it very hard to connect to the Prophet (S) as an historical figure. When I read about the Prophet (S) as a human who was given the incredibly difficult task of spreading the word of God, then I really feel the love and closeness that we are told we “should” feel by our teachers. I’m hoping that this book can give me that.
So, if you’re looking for something interesting to read, I highly suggest this book! I mean, I can’t really judge it since I just started today, but others have told me that it is a really good read, in addition to being informative about the most influential person in Islamic history.
*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*