I realized this morning that I almost never talk about suhoor, the pre-sunrise meal, on this blog. I guess by the time I sit down to write my daily reflections, all the way after dinner, I completely forget about my half-asleep experiences of the mornings. Nonetheless, suhoor is a pretty important part of Ramadan, considering fasting days are the only time anyone would ever wake up right before sunrise to eat.
The routine is always the same: around 40 minutes before sunrise, my dad goes around to all of our rooms waking us up. We groggily brush our teeth and make our way downstairs to eat a meal no one is awake enough to even be hungry for, especially considering we only finished dinner 5-6 hours before. We eat, have those frantic moments when time is almost up to chug our water, and then pray Fajr together and go back to sleep.
For years, pretty much since I started preparing food for myself, I have never had a solid suhoor plan. Every year I eat something different, and I just can’t seem to find that one go-to snack. When we were little my mom would make us French Toast, then we switched to macaroni and different pastas. We even tried the three dates and a glass of water one year, but I got so sick of dates by the end of the month that I just couldn’t do that again. Now that it’s up to me to feed myself, I get lost every year. I remember last year in particular, every single morning I would come into the kitchen completely at a loss of what I should eat.
It is such a struggle, because you want to eat something that will keep you satiated for the longest amount of time, but that isn’t so heavy that you go back to sleep with a bloated stomach. In recent years, even though we are fasting all day, I still try to stay as healthy as possible with my suhoors.
Alhamdulillah though, I think I finally found what I was looking for. For the majority of the month so far, I was having two scrambled eggs and a full water bottle as my suhoor, and in terms of keeping my hunger and thirst at bay, it worked pretty well. However, I have a pretty small stomach. Two eggs and that much water was a lot to ingest in just a half hour.
I was then reminded of the Prophetic saying of filling one-third of your stomach with food, one-third with water, and leaving one-third empty. We are taught not to overeat, so why do we push ourselves to make our stomachs as full as possible during Ramadan mornings?
My new routine, and I’ve only been doing this for the past couple of days so it’s too soon to tell if this will stick, is to have some kind of meat (this morning it was kheema 🙂 ) with a little bit of bread and a bottle of water. Rather than try to eat until I am full, I’m going to try the eating only until you’re satisfied trick. I feel better when I go back to sleep, and since it’s a Prophetic practice, I have faith that God will see my efforts to imitate the Messenger (S) and make the fast bearable.
Being so tired that you feel sick, and trying to eat on top of that…sometimes, I think suhoor is the hardest part of fasting. You wouldn’t expect it, but it’s often true for me. However, every year I have to remind myself not to take suhoor for granted. It is truly a blessing that God allowed us a meal ahead of the fasting, and I need to always be thankful of that.
This post was about suhoor, but my picture above is actually from iftar today. If you were with me during last year’s Ramadan Log, you may have remembered me talking about my Sunday iftars with my Qur’an class. We have since taken a break from the weekly classes, but today we had a reunion iftar and it was probably one of the best iftars of the month for me. I love being with this group and I missed them all so much. It was so nice to finally be back together for a reminiscent iftar.
*Quote of the Day*
Today’s quote again is not from my Companions book. I am making good progress with the book, but some of the chapters are so short that I just can’t find any one thing summed up in a nice quote to share with you all. Instead, I have a message that I found on Facebook recently by Shaykh Omar Suleiman.
“It may be bad to ONLY come to the Masjid in Ramadan, but it’s worse to run someone away from a Masjid EVEN in Ramadan. Don’t be a hindrance to someone else trying to come close to Allah.”
Like I said yesterday, I have my issues with my local mosques. It is just too rare that mosques feel welcoming to younger people, and a lot of times women in particular. It is something that we as a community really need to work on. No matter who it is, unless they could be a harm to the people inside, we shouldn’t make people feel ostracized in a house of God. Prayer is an internal thing, and we shouldn’t be stopping people from trying to strengthen that connection or judging them for what they look like when they do it.