This is the first in a series of Ramadan stories I am going to post on my blog. I think a lot of them will be relatable in some sort of way. Some will make you laugh and I’m hoping that others will make you think about your own Ramadan memories. The idea behind this is just to share my experience, and how this month and its meaning has changed and evolved for me personally over the years. Through that I hope to showcase the fact that striving to become a good Muslim is an ongoing process – for every single one of us.
As single stories these little memories maybe won’t meant much but as a whole they will give an insight into how Ramadan has changed my connection with Islam.
I was seven years old and I was keeping my first ever roza. I was so proud of myself for making the decision of fasting because I thought it made me a grown up. I knew I would get lots of praise and that the attention would be on me that night during iftaar. I was sat on the sofa in front of the boxy tv watching Cartoon Network when the phone rang. It was mummaji. She asked me how I was finding the roza and I said it was fine and I was just watching cartoons. Then she said that she was so proud of me and so happy for fasting that she was going to get me a present.
“I’m in Argos right now. Do you know where the Argos catalogue is?” I replied with a yes almost immediately. Of course I knew where it was. I used to not only circle the items I wanted as a hint to mummaji about what I would want for my birthday, but I would also eat the paper. Yes, I’d eat it. I liked the texture. I used to eat kitchen roll, toilet roll, Kleenex and occasionally I’d indulge and eat some cardboard. You don’t need to tell me I was a strange child – I already know.
I ran to get the catalogue and sat there picking out what I wanted. I chose a little pots and pans playset which came with utensils and everything. It wasn’t colourful or anything just solid silvery plastic so it looked very grown up and therefore very fitting as a present for keeping my first proper roza.
I went and jumped back on the sofa elated with the fact that I was getting a present! I was imagining myself sat there playing with the pots and pans and literally having the thought that this toy was going to absolutely change my life. I was just so delighted that absentmindedly, I went into the kitchen and grabbed a cocopops bar from the cupboard and took a big bite. It tasted so good. I walked back into the living room, chewing away, sat on the sofa and thought to myself, “Wow, this tastes so good. Better than ever before. Probably because I’m fasti-“
I spit it out of my mouth and burst out crying. I couldn’t believe it. I broke my first ever proper roza. I rang mummaji and through tears told her that she didn’t need to get me the present because I broke my fast with a cocopops bar. I was looking down at it like it was the most evil thing to ever cross my path. She told me it didn’t matter because it was an accident and when it’s an accident it doesn’t break your fast.
That evening at iftaar we broke our fast, prayed and I received my present. Mummaji and abuji told me they were so proud of me. That was okay but I didn’t feel proud of me. What I felt was guilt. And for the first time that day I started thinking about Allah and whether or not he would be happy with my effort and forgive me or not. But I was scared I might have disappointed him.
I just knew I had to do better. I knew I had to be a good Muslim. It was a very basic thought.
“I have to be a good Muslim.”
“I have to stop eating cocopops bars.”
Please share with me your funny Ramadan stories from when you were a child! I’d love to hear them. Comment below or tweet me them!