salah

How do I feel knowing that I only have one full day left living the “atheist life” (whatever that is)? Frustrated, excited, stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, thoughtful, both unprepared and ready… I’m certainly not going to wake up on Friday and know exactly what I’m supposed to do, but then the whole month is the learning experience, the days leading up to it are just some basic prep work.
I feel like I’m a student again. My notepad is out and I write down the Arabic words that flow so easily from my husband’s lips but sound as strained as a gurgling fish from mine. I’ve never been one for languages, I seem to have a limit on how many words I can learn, every new one he teaches me seems to push out the old. At this rate I won’t be able to haggle with taxi drivers the next time I’m in Egypt!
Then there is the wudu (specific way of washing before praying) and the prayers themselves. It is not exactly coming naturally to me at the moment. The thought of then putting the words to the action seems like some complex mathematical problem that far outweighs my ability.
Added to that are the stresses that effect both my husband and I. I’m used to Islamic scholars disagreeing, but when it comes to prayer times (specifically Fijr which is the dawn prayer that announces that start of the fast) I stupidly assumed they would all be on the same wavelength. Not so. After checking a number of sources (three phone apps, London central mosque, local Islamic community centre and a general site giving times for all areas) I have concluded it is somewhere between 2:40am and 4:20am, splendid.

But it isn’t all frantic stress.

hijab

some of my hijab collection

My hijabs are arriving thick and fast. I’m spending far too much time in front of the mirror with youtube clips playing on my phone with a long list of ways to wrap them. I’ve still yet to master a nice and practical way for work though (must be able to take me rushing about and picking things up without falling into my face, over heating me and slipping). I’ve also become somewhat of a stalker, whenever I see a woman in a nicely wrapped hijab I unintentionally follow her around the shop trying to work out how she done it. I check out what women are wearing and whether or not it is suitable and if I can recreate the nice ones that are. Sorry to my hijabi friends reading this but I’ve probably gone down your facebook photos checking out all your different outfit-hijab combinations. It really is becoming somewhat of an addiction.
There is also the bond it is creating with my husband. He doesn’t have any expectations for after the month, but I can tell he is enjoying having someone to share Ramadan with. For once we are able to talk about religion without it forming into a debate. He talks, I listen- it is quite a new concept for us.

I’m not going to lie, my fast preparation was a complete disaster, I fell into the mindset that I might as well enjoy it whilst I can. I promise to you all though I will be honest, if I slip up I will write it here, no matter how ashamed and guilty I feel. I always intended to make this an honest documentation of what I am doing and not a piece of fiction. I’m hoping knowing that I have an audience, be it big or small, I won’t feel like I can get away with making a half hearted attempt.

Anyway back to my lessons, alas not hijab wrapping ones, wish me luck!

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