Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear Signs for guidance and judgment between right and wrong. So every one of you who is present at his home during that month should spend it in fasting.
Ramadan is easily my favorite time of the year. As a mom, I often cook a warm breakfast for our family but preparing suhur during the month of Ramadan brings a special joy, even after the initial excitement of first few days of fasting has ebbed. My sister and I often prepare suhur together which is another part of Ramadan that I look forward to. We help to wake each other up every morning as we gather all of the ingredients that we will need, and between the two of us, we keep a close eye on the clock so that we have finished cooking with enough time to not have to rush through wudu for fajr.
As we sit down to eat and to prepare for the day’s fasting, there is often a sense of appreciation that is not always tangible for regular meals. Whether it’s warm scrambled eggs and bagels or cold cereal and milk, somehow knowing that it will be the only meal for the day gives it a special significance.
After suhur, I like to secretly watch with a smile as my son and my niece shuffle sleepily towards the bathrooms to make wudu, grateful that they are creating these memories of fasting and prayer during their childhood.
Once everyone has completed wudu, we lay out a clean sheet upon our living room carpet that’s big enough to fit us all for prayer. My son lines up in front beside his Dad as my sister, my niece and I line up behind them. After fajr, we sometimes go back to sleep for a few more hours but most of the time we start the day’s reading of the Quran to try and make sure that we do not fall behind. Our days are filled with listening to Quran recitation or reading and everyone seems to look forward to each of the salaats that arise throughout the day more than usual.
I have so many wonderful memories of Ramadan that it is hard to select one year as a favorite month of fasting over another. There was the year when Ramadan coincided with the Christmas holiday season and my parents, who are Christian, were thrilled to be able to give my son and my niece their Eid presents right after Christmas. And another year, while my mother-in-law (who is also Christian) was visiting, she would sit in for the fajr and magrib prayers and her presence alone seemed to bring our family closer together.
There is a hadith that I read in Sahih Bukhari that says: Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened." (Volume 3, Book 31, Number 122) When I visualize the words of this hadith I cannot help but reflect upon the grace and blessings of Allah Ta’aala. I will be forever grateful for having been guided to this beautiful deen.