Ariel Burton, 2012 Summer Intern at JCUA
Several weeks before the first day of Ramadan had even popped up on my iPhone’s Islamic calendar, I had begun arduously preparing for the month of Ramadan. I took a “divide and conquer” approach to the laundry list of tasks I felt needed completion before Ramadan started to make my fast a smooth and steady one. I cleaned and organized my house, went food shopping for vegan Iftar foods, found a masjid on the south side of Chicago I could attend every Friday for Jummah (congregational prayer), organized my books on Qura’nic scholarship and Islamic studies, and even ordered a couple of new titles that would teach me about performing Taraweeh (special night prayers performed during the month of Ramadan) correctly.
Once I had completed the pre-Ramadan list I began writing my spiritual goals for Ramadan, setting the intentions to pray more, meditate, and read the Qu’ran. I even signed up for Productive Ramadan emails to keep me spiritually and physically active during the month of Ramadan, a daily email service which sends out suggestions to help make the most of one’s Ramadan. At the time I saw it as a way of reminding me Ramadan is not only about the spiritual journey of study but the building and strengthening of community.