#Ramadaan2016 with Aaisha Dadi Patel: Day 1


Day 1.

Ramadan 1437 is here! Iâ€m most looking forward to getting a damn grip on myself.

One of my favourite Quran verses is from Surah Takwir, (81:26)

فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ

The rough translation of this verse is “So where are you going?”

It’s a verse that I like to think informs everything I do, but lately I feel like I’ve grown negligent of its guidance. And it’s reflecting in my life as well. I’m a very busy girl: I’m doing my masters in media studies, working at The Daily Vox, and up until yesterday I was tutoring two subjects at Wits that come with truckloads of marking. I’ve already decided to drop my tutoring commitments. But itâ€s not only academic and professional commitments I must balance. I’ve also got four little sisters and too many best friends (no, seriously), and in the midst of all of this, I sometimes lose focus.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying on social media how excited they are for Ramadan to save them. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to time to reflect, and to figure out how to reset myself somehow. I want to become accountable, and responsible, and to do this I know I need to take stock of myself and then evaluate what needs to change.

I had a beautiful Ramadan last year. I felt so at peace, and developed some good habits that I like to think I carried forward this past year, so I’m really looking forward to discovering what this year’s Ramadan holds for me.

I don’t want it to be a month of drudgery before an opportunity to feast on Eid.

When my 11-year-old cousin said he just can’t wait for Eid, I had to intervene.

“Make the most out of your Ramadan. Don’t just see it as the thing standing in between you and Eid. This is time when you get a chance to really just think – what am I doing in my life? Am I living in a way that if I die tomorrow, Allah will be pleased with me? It sounds scary but that’s what it is! It’s not just about skipping lunch, having smelly breath, being in a bad mood, having too many samoosas or getting tired during taraweeh [additional prayers] – it’s about just sitting and thinking more deeply about your life and trying to improve yourself in the areas you feel you have room for improvement. Make the most of this time. Shaytaan [the devil] is locked away so if you get up to shit it means he’s in you (JK) (Not really),” I said.

This will be a space where I’ll share my experiences, reflections, musings and ideas over the course of this holy month, and keep you updated about how my pledge to not get angry at people who say stupid things on social media is going. Keep checking in for updates on it all, and let me know what you’re thinking in the comments, or tweet me if you like @aaishadadipatel.

Featured image via Pixabay 


  1. Do you think over the course of this month you could spare one article for one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world? POC ex-Muslims and apostates, as the majority are closeted out of genuine fear of ostracisation and have to starve themselves for a month for something they donâ€t believe in anymore all to keep face.

    So although Ramadan may be a thing of beauty to you, some intersectionality need be practiced on how this “holy month” is absolute torture for others from different life experiences. As a POC woman yourself, you have to deal with the abhorrent institutionalized patriarchy we live under, and the racist anti-brown/muslim bigots on the mostly white right, and it is truly a worthwhile battle to call out such vitriol and privilege. But as you are so used to checking others privilege, I think you may not have spent enough time checking your own, mainly your religious privilege. In more liberal countries apostates are closeted out of fear of the aforementioned ostracisation from their families and communities if they were to turn away from the beliefs they were raised in, and in more theocratic countries, they fear for their very LIVES when confronted by archaic blasphemy laws. Countless agnostic or atheist bloggers and activists are jailed, threatened or even murdered, all on account of criticizing your supposedly perfect dogma.

    So please bear this in mind, along with why the creator of this ENTIRE UNIVERSE would even make his followers fast by something as inconsistent and arbitrary as daylight hours. God supposedly made our planet, with its titled axis and rotation, surely he should have known about varying timezones and lengths of daylight and how widely unfair or impossible this would make the practice to humans across the globe? Itâ€s almost as if the ritual was actually created by 7th Century Arabs who would have no idea of the scale and geography of the planet, go figure.

    And I donâ€t mean this as a snarky attack, we Woke Folk just need to do better. We canâ€t serve two masters, one of moral reasoning and social progression and justice, all while simultaneously trying to make bronze age dogma compatible with our lives. Thereâ€s only so many 4:34â€s we can cognitive dissonance away with “Errrrr context! Mistranslated by the patriarchy! The scripture is fine guys, donâ€t beat your wives!”. Challenge your worldview, nobody asked to be indoctrinated into religion as children, it was forced upon many of us by massive cultural pressure. And itâ€s extremely difficult, but once you question it youâ€ll come out stronger, and most of all not having to constantly go “I know that verse looks sexist/violent/gives rules on how to treat your slaves…but let me explain!”. Thatâ€s a huge red flag, and if you really are Woke, it should make you VERY uncomfortable to constantly have to be doing that without taking a step back and saying: “Wait, why am I defending this? Why do I constantly have to run around finding Gods receipts for him? Why didnâ€t he bring out a CRYSTAL clear message that couldnâ€t be interpreted or misinterpreted as messed up?”

    This applies to ALL religions, and the sooner we move forward, and put the lives of our fellow people as first, and not the whims of the silent invisible man in the sky,the better.


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