In conversations with friends, it’s become pretty apparent that not having enough food is definitely not the biggest complaint in Ramadan. We get hungry, sure, but it’s something we do every year, and it’s bearable. (Plus, one of the facets of fasting is to know how it feels to not eat food. It makes us more sympathetic to those who don’t have the same availability of food, and it won’t do to complain about that.)
No, the biggest complaint I’ve heard — and have myself — is lack of time and lack of sleep. This Ramadan has been EXHAUSTING.
For those of us in America, sunset, when we break our fast, is steadily moving further back every year. And, if you’re like me, there comes a point in the day when you’re just simply not productive anymore. I know many people who are lucky enough to work a 9 to 5 job try to take naps after getting home so that they’re a little more refreshed for when they can eat again. But, that means, in Chicago, you have time to do everything you need to do after 8 p.m. And if you attend taraweeh, the night prayers, that time is cut drastically short. And, to top it all off, you have to get up again at 3:30 a.m. or so to eat before daybreak.
It’s a long day, and there aren’t many moments to catch sleep. Plus, it’s not the best time for the Olympics. As much as I try to limit my TV consumption during Ramadan, I always want to catch up on at least a few Olympic events during the day. And, if you’re used to having your cup of coffee in the morning to make you alert for the day, Ramadan is a rude wake-up call to a non-caffeinated life.
But, please don’t think of this as a long list of complaints against Ramadan. It definitely isn’t. It’s just a practical look at the fact that time is an issue during the month.
So, what can be done about it?
First, sacrificing sleep for your faith can be a great thing. It’s a matter of recognizing your priorities.
Second, time management is a great skill to work on in Ramadan. We all feel there simply isn’t enough time to do everything. So, we have to figure out what’s most important to us. And, hopefully, that’s a lesson that will stick with us for the rest of the year as well.
Are you guys facing the same dilemma during Ramadan? What are you doing about it?
Pop Culture Hijabi is a weekly column by Nadia Malik. Malik is a former newspaper reporter based in Chicago who’s now making her way as a freelancer. She spends entirely too much time watching TV and reading pop culture, fashion and TV blogs. She also occasionally consumes serious books and news. No, really. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org with “pop culture hijabi” in the subject line, follow her at www.twitter.com/nadiamalik or simply leave a comment below.