Ramadan Day 19 to 30 (2012)

Apologies for not posting anything the last ten days or so of Ramadan. This is partly (mostly) due to a lack of discipline on my part, but also the greater intensity of the last third of Ramadan; a time when the act of spirituality takes more of one’s time, and the mind is pre-occupied with higher purpose.

In the last ten days worship becomes more active at night. Between sunset and sunrise, with intermittent breaks, the focus is on greater spirituality, probably more than any other time of the year, although this need not necessarily be the case (why not make it regular?)

In a way, night turns into day, and day turns into night, thus for the last 10 days of Ramadan this is a continuous theme across the world. We beseech, we implore, we request, for greater peace and success in our lives and the life beyond.

Although there is a greater quantity of worship, it’s the quality that matters. Were we distracted during our spiritual experience, or were we genuinely in one-to-one communication with the force to whom we are to return?

Despite the fasting and the intense spirituality, the end of the month brings forth feelings of desire for the next Ramadan to come quickly, so that we can again be engrossed in this most uplifting of months.

A New Year one month too late?


Whereas many people around the world are celebrating the beginning of the new year i.e. 2012 (Gregorian) many people around the world are more used to the Lunar or Hijri calendar. Today, on the 1st of January 2012 (Gregorian), the Hijri (Lunar) calendar date is the 7th of Safar, 1433. This is the second month of the year. The Hijri calendar also has 12 months. In case you are wondering why there seems to be a 600 plus year difference in the calendars, this is simple – both calendars have ‘spiritual’ origins. The Gregorian has origins in Christian tradition whereas the Hijri calendar has origins in Islamic tradition.

Here’s a 1 minute song to help people remember the months of the Hijri calendar. Have a good year ahead!! You could use this topic to create a listening, speaking, reading or writing activity.

How to never lose your luggage – Teaching ideas

Students, watch/see, listen, write, read and speak (see below)

[howcast url=’http://www.howcast.com/videos/2997-How-To-Never-Lose-Your-Luggage’ height=’240′ width=’360′]

There are no published materials out there that easily combine video and use this as a starting point for teaching language.

Here’s an idea: (1) Students watch/listen to the video, (2) They make notes of what they hear (listen to), (3) They then write down some questions relating to their notes, (4) They ask their classmates or instructor questions about the video. So, the process is as follows: Watch/see, listen, make notes, write questions based on information collected, read out questions and then speak.

Eid greetings at the end of Ramadan 2011

End of Ramadan comment:

If every individual in the world was to fast for a period of 29/30 days in a year, and take out five, five-minute slots a day to genuinely reflect on what the purpose of life was, would the world become a better place? Could wars and social injustice be defeated? Would the waste that humanity produces be reduced? Would anything really negative transpire? Whilst we continue to create our new ‘imagined needs’ to forever become our focus of operandi  and convince ourselves that we are the kings of our destiny and that destiny, time and world resources are in fact slaves to our desires,  are we leading ourselves to a self-belief that we can conquer and overcome ‘mother-nature’? If we can defeat death, then indeed we may well profess that we are Gods, but until we can do so, then we are mortals. There is an end….but is this end potentially the beginning to an even better ‘life’?  Now ask yourself this question. Are you genuinely open-minded and going to challenge your assumptions about life (meaning you need to put to one side all preconceived ideas) with the possibility of opening up a new positive paradigm, or are you going to be closed-minded and let things just take their course?

Ramadan Day 26 – The 27th Night

“Whereas many of us are used to the Gregorian calendar, Muslims also follow the Hijri (Lunar) calendar to set dates. Interestingly, whereas many of us are used to night following day, in the Hijri calendar, night comes first. In other words, the next day begins after sunset (not 1 second after midnight), thus the title above. The photographs below relate to the worship that occurred during the 27th night. The last ten days of Ramadan result in a concerted focus on worship. The Qur’an was revealed within the last 10 days of Ramadan and it is a time for greater reflection and to seek (through prayer) what is within ones heart and mind.”