So you can’t / don’t fast. You don’t pray tarawih. You’re not going to read a juz – much less 30 of them – of the Quran. But you’re a Muslim – regardless of what THEY may say – and you have some sort of connection to Ramadan.
What are some ways YOU can mark Ramadan? Here’s a few of my ideas.
1. Put up decorations – for yourself or your kids. More and more places are offering Ramadan decorations – I think Party City has them this year.
2. Eat some delicious madjool dates at breakfast.
3. Listen to some nasheeds, if you’re into that.
4. Cook and clean for your family and friends who are fasting, so that you might lighten the load for them. This is especially important if you are still living with your parents or your parents live nearby. Think of how often your mother was cleaning the house and cooking some feast with labor intensive foods while she was fasting. Maybe you yourself were in that position once, caring for children, cleaning, and then cooking the special dishes. If you’re not fasting, why not do this for your mother/family/friends?
5. Charity – get involved with a local non-profit – Islamic or otherwise – and give of your time. If you can’t do this, then give money to a worthy cause, especially if the cause is related to hunger and food insecurity. There are far too many people right in your own town who don’t have enough to eat. Your local food bank is a great place to start.
6. If you don’t read the Quran, you might turn to poetry instead. Hafiz, Yunus Emre, Rumi, and so on. Read and reflect on a poem, journal what meaning you find in it.
7. Do nothing. For a lot of ex or agnostic Muslims, Ramadan carries traumatic or painful memories. Don’t feel obligated to mark Ramadan because you still have a hold on the culture of Islam. I didn’t mark Ramadan or the Eids in any way at all for many, many years. Ramadan reminded me of all the years I had to carry on the drudgery of being a housewife and mother and working full time while not eating anything, and not feeling that I was allowed to indulge in the spirituality that many men were able to. You know, b/c they weren’t cooking and cleaning after working all day. It’s only with a lot of distance and thought that I’m trying to find a new way to approach Ramadan.