What do you do all day?
The day begins with Suhoor, which is the Arabic word for the meal before sawm (the Arabic word for fasting). Basically, breakfast.
At Suhoor, a dua (act of supplication) is made before beginning the fast:
This is followed by the Fajr prayer. Fajr means dawn and is the first of the five prayers each day. Today Fajr was 4:07am* in the NY area. The time varies depending on the part of the world.
Then, there is the mid-day prayer, Zuhr (around 1:00pm).
The afternoon prayer, Asr (around 6pm).
At sunset (around 8:30pm today), the adhan (the call to prayer) is heard. This is a signal that 1) the sunset prayer, Magrib, will begin in 15 minutes and 2) it is iftar time!
For iftar, Muslims usually gather at their local mosque or masjid as a community (since Ramadan is about enhancing one’s relationship with Allah and the community) and are then allowed to eat and drink. Usually, there is a serving of a cup of water and a date. It’s a small fare. (This also varies depending on culture, area, and masjid.)
Before drinking and eating, however, another dua is made to break the fast:
After this, Magrib is prayed.
When Magrib is complete, at my masjid, we have dinner. It is usually provided by a family or a group of families who pooled their money. (It can get pretty expensive since they’re feeding the whole congregation for that night – food, plates, cups, napkins, dessert if they’re inclined.)
At my masjid, at the beginning of the month a calendar is posted on the bulletin board and everyone writes their name on whichever day they would like/are available to provide dinner.
(In previous years, the family who provided dinner also provided iftar. But, we ended up getting SO MUCH food that no one was able to eat by the time dinner rolled around and a lot was wasted. So, we’ve been having water and dates for iftar.)
After dinner, you clean up, and some people remain at the masjid for the night prayer, Isha. (My family does). Isha is around 10-10:15pm (again this is NY time).
Muslims are allowed to eat as much as they want between Magrib and Suhoor the next morning and a lot of people eat and drink continuously in that time to store up for the next day. This is how a lot of people end up GAINING weight even though they fasted for 17hours a day for 29 or 30 days.
Ordinarily, that would be the end of prayers until the next day. However, during Ramadan there is an additional prayer called Taraweeh.
What is Taraweeh Prayer?
Taraweeh is a sunnah prayer. Sunnah is an Arabic word that means “habit” or “usual practice” and refers to the words, teachings, habits, and practices instituted by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Essentially, because the Prophet prayed taraweeh during Ramadan, Muslims should too. (However, it is not compulsory.)
Taraweeh is simply additional prayers after Isha each night during the month of Ramadan. It is prayed in pairs of two raka’at (this was difficult for me to explain so see pic below!) with a minimum of 8 raka’at and up to 12 or 20, with a short break taken after every 4 raka’at.
Taraweeh is also a congregational prayer and cannot be prayed alone. The previous prayers can be prayed by oneself, however, taraweeh cannot.
*Specific times can be obtained from calendars distributed, apps that tell you the time in your area or websites that do the same.
**I can do another, or series, of posts on praying if anyone is interested.
*** This post got complicated quickly o.O sorry.
Reader question: Is it cheating to switch your days and nights so that majority of the fasting hours are spent sleeping?
The simple answer is yes, because that time is supposed to be spent being productive, being charitable, reading Qur’an, self-reflecting, etc.
However, it isn’t simple. If you work at night, you’ll wake up to keep your fast, but probably catch up on your sleep during the day. Or, like most people, you work during the day so you CAN’T sleep. Also, when you sleep you usually wake up hungry or thirsty (cotton mouth!!).
My Daily Schedule!
2:30 – Wake up. If I’m up first, I make breakfast. If my dad is up first, he does.
3:30 – finishing eating.
4:00ish – pray fajr.
9:00 – wake up for class (Tudor-Stuart England! :D)
10:15 – 12:20pm – Class
1:00-2:00 – Get home
3:00 – 6:00 – write, sleep, type these posts
6:30 – get dressed to go to masjid
7:15-7:30 – make the rounds to pick up whoever needs a ride
8:00ish – arrive
8:30 – break fast, Magrib
8:45-9:30 – FOOOOOODD. (Ironically, you fill up easily o.O)
10 – 10:15 – Isha
10:30 – 11 – Taraweeh
11:30pm-ish – arrive home
At this point it would make sense for me to sleep, but I’m usually up writing or social networking. Luckily, I don’t have homework for this class, only a paper and two tests.
(if I’m working that day, insert this part to the schedule)
5:30am – wake up
6:45-7am – hop on the bus, to the train, to the train, to the train, to the bus. (And hope there’s no “train traffic ahead”)
9:30am – arrive at work
10 – 12:30/1:00- guided (outside!) tours of the farm museum
12:30 – 1:30 – leave work/travel back
3:30 – 4:30 – arrive home