Ramadan Reflections, Day Twenty-nine: Sadness, and Elation

This morning…

I woke up this with sadness commingled with excitement: this could be the last day of Ramadan. As I write this, the announcements are coming in that for the majority of countries, Eid-ul-Fitr (the day of celebration which marks the end of Ramadan) will be tomorrow, Sunday. I read something which described Ramadan as ‘our beloved guest’, to which we bid a sad farewell. It is a beautiful and fitting description, although I wonder whether Ramadan hosts us rather than the other way around.

This afternoon…

I battle the traffic (with generosity and patience! Having my mother with me also helped) to shop ahead of tomorrow, in case it’s Eid. Everywhere is busy, and the halal meat counter is bustling with activity. I am connected to this feeling that a number of us are preparing for something tomorrow, and there is anticipation and excitement as we store our goods in our trolleys.

This evening…

A perfect sunset, and I can’t help but admire the beauty of everything as the fading blaze of orange, purple, pink and yellow fall on every building, tree and streetlight on my way to Euston. My final distribution of food for Ramadan, but not forever. With minutes to go before sunset, I walk up the concourse steps and into a group of people I have come to know, albeit in a very loose sense, over the past few weeks. They have done me the privilege of accepting what I had to offer them, and today, one of the group called me a ‘beautiful person’. That was lovely to hear, but not as uplifting as the feeling of being able to give something to some people who needed it. My bag of provisions was rapidly emptied, and flapping happily in my hand. I looked at my watch; it was time to end my fast and say farewell to Ramadan. I skipped down the steps and ran to my car. There could not be a more perfect end to this month.

If anybody was walking down a small side street near Euston station just after sunset, and peered into a car to find a woman with her face crumpled up in her hands, trying not to cry beyond a couple of tears, don’t worry. That was me, a little overwhelmed by gratitude and the month just passed.

It is now Eid, and to all those celebrating I wish you a joyous and blessed Eid Mubarak, and peace to all.


Note: Islam follows a lunar calendar, and the start and end of the months are determined by the phases of the moon, specifically the appearance of the new moon. It is traditionally believed by a large body of scholars that the new moon has to be seen or ‘witnessed’ with the human eye – rather than calculating it scientifically – to confirm the start/end of a month. This is why there is always a lot of anticipation – and heated discussion! – about whether the new moon has been sighted to mark the beginning of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan); Muslims often won’t know until late in the evening whether it is Eid or not. I had planned to write a blog post on this to try and explain all the principles and considerations around this, but it didn’t happen today! I will do so soon (iA).


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