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Ramadhan: Day 1... Ramadhan Reruns

Alhamdulillah, the first day of fasting began and ended brilliantly! It was 24 hours of utter ecstasy. Wow. A religious experience in itself from replacing temporary cravings of food and technology with joys of spiritual fulfilment that only true faith could bring! Subhan'Allah! Wohoo! ... yayy, *sigh*...hmmm.

Well, I think the ramadhan-fever got me good. What really happened was far from this eutopian bliss. Suhoor* time arrived before I could even begin to enter rem-mode and the food wasn't the feast that visitors from muslim countries and friends keep depicting. I didn't wake up ready to pray with energy, or alert enough to eat pakistani pakorey, indonesian delights or even last night's left-over fish. I ate Rice Krispies. Half of them ended around my mouth instead of in it.

The day had with it so many challenges too that I forgot my 3-ramadhan-weapons 1. Patience 2. Perseverance 3. Humility. Perseverance ran out first when the assignment I'm working on wouldn't look on paper as it did in my mind. Humility turned to crumble when someone asked me for help with learning ayat-ul-kursi: 'No, I know it, honest, I swear I do - listen to me! OI! don't go...COME BACK NOW!' And when family members told me to run some errands when they clearly knew I had deadlines to meet; patience went out of the window. Pfft.

Although that was part of the day, I must humbly admit, the remaining day went awesome-ly, Alhamdulillah for that, and the Rice Krispies, glorious as they were. I forget each year that ramadhan brings with it a natural awe, and it takes time to feel this or see it. It's not your 'that's awesome!' cliche but true awe when looking at the whole universe. After fajr, watching the sunrise and trying to count the stars brought to heart the magnitude of Allah's ability and how easy it is for him to make something so complicated, beautiful. Later, when pangs of hunger got me a-moaning I looked at the charity leaflets laying around my workspace of the Somali people who survive on 50p a day, which amounts to 2 bags of flour and barley and one large bottle of water. This and all for a family of 7. Subhan'Allah, I was glad to feel hungry. Opening the fast would be all the more pleasurable for going through this tiny hardship, and it was. The food I have, the clothes, family, house, everything I have, the oxygen I breath - it belongs to Allah, so when it's taken away, I should understand that it will come back because they are all gifts. Dates & water have become my reminders too. Fasting is definitely taking on the form of that spiritual journey... Thing is, I feel like I've been here before. A 1-mnth ramadhan needs extending. I shall ask Allah in my next dua for 'every day to be like ramadhan'. [http://www.thenasheedshop.com/prod.php?pc=DW-003]

On a lighter note, to celebrate the first fast and keep the charitable acts aflowing, I made cupcakes to give to neighbours and family. Ramadhan-cakes! Yum. Here is the recipe if anyone wants to follow along. This makes a batch of 24 large muffins. Another merry ramadhan and let me know how day-1 went for you!

1. Cream together 6oz white sugar & 6oz softened unsalted butter. [Rule - for every 1 egg, double the quantity of other raw ingredients. For a 20cm sq. cake, 2eggs plus 4oz of everything else needed]

2. The mixure should be light like whipping cream and creamy coloured. Sugar should be completely dissolved - but that isn't that important for decent cupcakes.

3. Whisk 3 eggs separately and combine into mixture a small amount at a time to prevent curdling. Keep that whisk going! Then stop.

4. Sift in again 6oz of self-raising flour...

5. ...And combine with a metal spoon making number "8" shapes with the flat of the spoon: Around, cutting across and around again. Mix till no flour left and mixture is smooth.

6. I made chocolate & cinnamon cakes - add to mixture as required. The more, the better, but don't go nuts.

7. Mix till mixture smooth again. I've found that a tablespoon of warm water (cooled after boiled) mixed in helps to smoothen the consistency and makes it lighter.

8. Spoon into cupcakes using 2 spoons, not your fingers. :P Here we have chocolate & cinnamon.

9. Baked @ 180 degrees (c) for approx 12 mins until the cakes are firm to touch and a fork poked to the bottom of a cake comes out clean.

And there you go, enjoy them with Bismillah*. Masha'Allah, I'm gonna go stuff my face with the rest before suhoor*.
Peace be with you.

*Bismillah, Muslim phrase meaning 'beginning in God's name'.

*Suhoor: the time before fajr, used to take a light meal preparing the body for that day's fasting, during Ramadhan.

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