The Ultimate Ramadan Joy Challenge

 

So recently an older friend of mine celebrated a birthday, and her post on Instagram reminded me of why I love her so much. She wrote about how grateful she was for the people in her life and how excited she is to watch the next year unfold. No anxiety. No grudges. While I know that Instagram does not completely reflect what goes on in people’s lives, I know this person pretty well and it seems like joy is not just an idea, but a practice for her. Looking at her post that evening, I was inspired. Here’s my journal entry where an idea came into fruition:

“Sal’s birthday today. Sal is one of my biggest role models. She loves easily and she’s so funny and joyful about life in general. Joy is a choice, you know, and I want that to be what I choose to work for just like Sal. Joy is work but it’s just about choosing to see all the things that I have to be joyful about. I want my theme for this Ramadan to be joy. And every day I can devote my readings, meditations, and actions, towards one component of joy. Life is so short, you know? And I will not wait until something terrible or terrifying happens to start realizing that and be intentional about living my life. I want to be like Sal. I want to take my life into my own hands. I want to love without being afraid and find purpose in my Option B.

“Part of that is going back to God. Components of joy: faith, gratitude, love, acceptance, passion, resilience, trust, purpose. It’s probably different for each person…Once, me and Dr. Wendy found out that over-reliance on logic drove me away from faith, which I really needed. Everything is so messed up without God. I remember meeting this 17-year-old Alex at the hospital. Her brother had wanted to have sex with her. She talked about Christ a lot. I wonder where she is now.”

So over the past couple weeks, I have been obsessing over making this list of readings and podcasts and videos to listen to all around one subject per day. I will then reflect through meditation and writing. It is a lot, so maybe next year I will work on a more realistic version so more people can take part without dropping everything. Ramadan is supposed to be starting tonight where I am; first day of fasting tomorrow! Take a look and let me know if you’re up for the challenge.

Week 1 – Purpose

Day 1 – Intentionality

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 3:52, 6:85-162, 8:1-75, 17:1-111, 39:1-11, 94:1-8, 98:1-8
    2. The War Within Our Hearts 10-14
    3. Struggling to Surrender 1-18
    4. The Soul of Rumi 19-27
  2. Journal…(CHOOSE ONE)
    1. This Ramadan, I set intentions to…
    2. What does intention mean to me?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Heal from Trauma: Choice

Day 2 – Mindfulness

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:1-2, 7:57-96, 12:88-90, 41:1-54, 49:13, 52:1-49, 58:1-19, 59:1-24, 86:1-17
    2. The Soul of Rumi 128-132
    3. First Buddhist Women 169-184
    4. Essential Sufism 209-216
    5. Buddha’s Daughters 177-204
  2. Journal…
    1. Something I can do in the day to bring me back to remembrance of Allah is…
    2. What does mindfulness mean to me?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Simple Habit Starter: Introducing Mindfulness

Day 3 – Responsibility

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:46-48, 2:113-125, 2:153-154, 4:111-176, 10:1-30, 14:12-51, 24:1-64, 32:1-30, 39:13-75
    2. Buddha’s Daughters 142-143
    3. The Heart of Islam 277-281
  2. Journal…
    1. What am I responsible for?
    2. What steps can I take to take on more responsibility for my joy?

Day 4 – Responsibility

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 47:1-38, 53:1-62, 64:1-18, 69:1-52, 77:1-50, 81:1-29, 88:1-26, 92:1-21
    2. Daring Greatly 151-155
    3. Struggling to Surrender 142-181
  2. Meditate…
    1. 31-day Fresh Start: You always have a choice

Day 5 – Faith

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 1:1-7, 2:63-82, 2:145-152, 2:156-165, 2:206-214, 2:223-257, 2:278-286, 3:1-9, 3:139, 43:1-89, 70:1-44
    2. Struggling to Surrender 44
    3. Daring Greatly 142-150, 158, 169, 176-177
    4. Braving the Wilderness 24-25, 73, 76, 121
    5. Islam Our Choice 163-216
  2. Journal…
    1. What do I believe in?
    2. What does God mean to me?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Relax, Ground, and Clear

Day 6 – Faith

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 3:187-200, 12:9-87, 13:1-43, 19:1-98, 20:1-46, 28:1-88, 33:1-73, 37:1-182, 49:14-17, 51:1-21, 65:1, 112:1-4
    2. Islam: The Straight Path 68-74
    3. The Soul of  Rumi 46-53
    4. Essential Sufism 171-173
  2. Journal…
    1. What is scary about faith?
    2. What is wonderful about faith?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Joy

Day 7 – Purpose

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 5:24-120, 23:15-118, 51:22-60, 72:1-28, 73:1-20, 83:1-36, 90:1-20, 91:1-15, 95:1-8
    2. Struggling to Surrender 51-59
    3. I am Malala 236-244
    4. The Soul of  Rumi 144-150
  2. Listen to…
    1. Iyanla Venzant part 2 on Super Soul Sunday podcast
  3. Journal…
    1. What is my purpose?
    2. What are my values?
  4. Meditate…
    1. Garden of Your Life

Week Two – Abundance

Day 8 – Acceptance

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:145, 2:153, 2:155, 3:160-186, 6:1-14, 6:163-165, 9:100, 10:64-109, 11:1-123, 30:46-60, 36:1-83, 39:12, 50:1-45
    2. I am Malala 245-260
    3. The Soul of Rumi 253-256
    4. Islam Our Choice 17-66
    5. Essential Sufism 183-184
  2. Journal…
    1. What do I hate about my past or my life?
    2. What have my struggles taught me?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Mindful Breathing

Day 9 – Gratitude

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 3:135-144, 14:4-7, 7:144, 14:52-54, 31:1-34, 82:1-19, 89:1-30, 100:1-11, 34:1-54, 35:1-45, 55:1-78, 56:1-96, 67:1-30, 76:1-31
    2. Essential Sufism 178-179
    3. The Soul of Rumi 28-36
    4. Braving the Wilderness 145, 156, 157
    5. Daring Greatly 123-127
  2. Journal…
    1. What am I grateful for?
    2. What makes me happy?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Thanksgiving Gratitudes

Day 10 – Fun

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 4:1-28, 5:1-6
    2. Option B 94-105
    3. The Soul of Rumi 54-60
    4. Essential Sufism 161-170
  2. Journal…
    1. What is fun to you?
    2. Why is fun important?
  3. Meditate…
    1. From Fear to Fun

Day 11 – Authenticity

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 3:10-17, 9:119, 74:1-56, 109:1-9
    2. Essential Sufism 57-64
    3. The Soul of Rumi 79-84
    4. Rising Strong 39-44
    5. Braving the Wilderness 43-62
  2. Journal…
    1. What feels authentic to you?
    2. Where do you feel most authentic?
  3. Meditate…
    1. From Kneejerky to Centeredness

Day 12 – Perspective

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 75:1-40, 79:1-46, 80:1-42, 87:1-19
    2. Rest in Power 1-165
  2. Journal…
    1. What is an experience that you have had that put things into perspective for you?
    2. Why is it important to keep things in perspective?
  3. Meditate…
    1. I am Earthling

Day 13 – Perspective

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 99:1-8, 101:1-11, 103:1-3
    2. Rest in Power 166-331
  2. Journal…
    1. What do you want to prioritize in the great scheme of things?
    2. What can death teach us?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Reawakening Life’s Magic

Day 14 – Abundance

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 27:1-93, 45:1-37, 102:1-8, 106:1-4, 108:1-3
    2. Daring Greatly 18-31
    3. Rising Strong 8-9
    4. Essential Sufism 180-182
    5. The Soul of Rumi 133-136
  2. Journal…
    1. What prevents you from taking a view of abundance?
    2. What does a focus on abundance look like when it comes to self-worth?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Expectations and Loneliness

Week Three – Resilience

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Day 15 – Equanimity

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:38, 2:49-62, 2:83-112, 2:258-262, 2:264-277, 6:15-48, 9:40, 10:31-63, 46:13, 71:1-28, 84:1-25
    2. The Soul of Rumi 180-184
  2. Listen to…
    1. India Arie on Super Soul Sunday
  3. Watch…
    1. The Art of Stillness: https://www.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_the_art_of_stillness?referrer=playlist-talks_to_help_you_manage_stres
  4. Journal…
    1. What is my safe space?
    2. What does equanimity mean to me?
  5. Meditate…
    1. Equanimity

Day 16 – Community

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:126-144, 22:1-78, 62:1-11, 63:1-11
    2. Option B 127-141
    3. Rising Strong 217-252
    4. The Soul of Rumi 199-205
    5. The War Within Our Hearts 143-148
  2. Journal…
    1. What are my communities?
    2. How does my identity manifest itself in different communities?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Commonality of Suffering

Day 17 – Hope

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:3-45, 7:1-56, 7:151-156, 14:1, 44:1-59, 48:1-29, 54:1-55, 97:1-5, 105:1-5
    2. Option B 127-130
    3. The War within Our Hearts 107-122
    4. I am Malala 303-314
    5. Daring Greatly 239-240
  2. Journal…
    1. What symbolizes hope in your life?
    2. When has hope been very present in your life?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Buffalo in the Storm

Day 18 – Comedy

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 7:97-123
    2. Furiously Happy 1-162
  2. Journal…
    1. What humor has emerged from your struggles?
    2. What seemed serious at the time but sounds hilarious looking back?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Unguided

Day 19 – Comedy

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 1:124-150
    2. Furiously Happy 163-325
  2. Journal…
    1. What makes a good comedian and how can you apply this to your life?
    2. Can humor and spirituality go together? Why or why not?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Unguided

Day 20 – Growth Mindset

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 23:1-14
    2. Rising Strong 185-216
    3. Daring Greatly 58-111
    4. Option B 113-114
    5. Essential Sufism 243-250
  2. Meditate…
    1. Effort Yes Struggle No

Day 21 – Resilience

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 6:49-84, 21:1-112, 29:1-69, 38:1-88, 68:1-52
    2. Option B
  2. Journal…
    1. What have your struggles taught you?
    2. What makes you resilient?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Change

Week Four – Compassion

Day 22 – Vulnerability

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 3:147-160, 5:7-23, 9:129, 14:8-11, 61:1-14, 104:1-9
    2. Daring Greatly
  2. Journal…
    1. What is my vulnerability armor?
    2. What does vulnerability mean to me?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Letting Down Walls

Day 23 – Love

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:169-177, 2:178-205, 2:215-222, 3:18-134, 3:145-146, 4:107, 7:157-189, 12:1-8, 14:2-3, 30:5-21, 30:22-45, 49:1-12, 60:1-13, 66:1-12, 78:1-40, 85:1-22
    2. Braving the Wilderness 150
    3. Daring Greatly 10-11
    4. Option B 156-176
    5. Essential Sufism 113-126
  2. Journal…
    1. What does love feel like?
    2. What is the anatomy of love?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Create Loving Unity

Day 24 – Kindness

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 2:166-168, 2:263, 7:190-206, 16:1-128
    2. Essential Sufism 185-196
    3. Option B 45-57
    4. Daring Greatly 74-75
    5. Braving the Wilderness 117-146
  2. Journal…
    1. What is something kind you can do today for yourself and for someone else?
    2. What is the anatomy of kindness?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Great Compassion

Day 25 – Kindness

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 57:1-29, 107:1-7, 111:1-5
    2. The War Within Our Hearts 97-99
    3. Braving the Wilderness 67-69
    4. I am Malala 80-89
    5. Rising Strong 114-115
  2. Journal…
    1. What is something kind someone once did for you?
    2. Think of someone you don’t particularly like. What is their redeeming quality?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Compassion

Day 26 – Trust

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 18:1-110, 65:2-12, 93:1-11, 96:1-19, 113:1-5, 114:1-6
    2. Braving the Wilderness 132-133
    3. Daring Greatly 46-53
    4. Rising Strong 198-201
  2. Journal…
    1. Who do you trust and why?
    2. Do you trust yourself? Why or why not?
  3. Meditate…
    1. Doors of Choice

Day 27 – Forgiveness

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 4:29-106, 4:108-110, 9:1-129, 15:1-99, 20:47-135
    2. Rising Strong 150-154
  2. Watch…
    1. In Search of the Man Who Broke My Neck
    2. Why Your Worst Deeds Don’t Define You
  3. Journal…
    1. Who do I need to forgive?
    2. What do I need to forgive myself for?
  4. Meditate…
    1. Forgiving Yourself

Day 28 – Forgiveness

  1. Read…
    1. Qur’an 25:1-77, 26:1-227, 40:1-85, 42:1-53, 110:1-3
    2. Option B 136-137
  2. Watch…
    1. The mothers who found forgiveness, friendship
    2. How Our Stories Cross Over
  3. Journal…
    1. What does forgiveness mean to me?
    2. Why forgive?
  4. Meditate…
    1. A Meditation for Letting Go

What do you think? Are you willing to do it with me? Let me know in the comments down below.

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