This blog is published for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the thousands of Muslims raised or reverts, or even non-Muslis, who might be living in areas where they are not able to experience Ramadan in a Muslim community; so we, at MWA, invite you to be a part of our community in Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong) Al-Baqarah 2:185

Established in 2006, Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A journal entry by MWA member Zainab John; Ramadan Day Six

It's day 6 of Ramadhan. Sleep just won't come, so at 1:15 in the morning I am awake, ready and eager to start my day.

As I sit cross-legged on my bedroom floor typing this post, I find myself reflecting on the days of Ramadhan that have passed so far; anxiously awaiting the days ahead. 
On a personal level, every Ramadhan acts as a reminder of my duty towards Allah (swt), myself, my community and others. It is a month to slow down and focus on what is really important; another opportunity to better myself, seek forgiveness from my Creator, and to say thank-you for all He has done for me and those I love.

Ramadhan is also another chance to draw closer to Allah (swt); a month of self-introspection. Becoming more aware of SELF, committing to change, and sometimes refocusing and taking time out to put things into perspective.
So, in these quiet, early morning moments, I was thinking about all the things I wanted to achieve this Ramadhan and how I was going to tackle the list. A detailed plan began to formulate in my mind, but just as quickly my thoughts began to wander.

I found myself reflecting on my life and the stages of life in general, the many roles and responsibilities we as women take on in our adult lives. On that train of thought I could not help but wonder how these roles, or titles and responsibilities, impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Not only how we see ourselves as women, but how we are seen through the eyes of others.
As adults, whether on a personal or professional level, the expectations of others are raised and life becomes less about us and more about those we care for and about; children, parents, friends, even total strangers.

As women we also become defined by the different roles we take on throughout our adult lives   wife, mother, care-giver, provider  and we find ourselves defined only in relation to those roles and by the needs of other people.

I think  this is because, as women, we tend to see ourselves as nurturers, care-givers and comforters. Society sends us this message as well, and even growing up, this is what we're basically told and made to believe; it is what we accept without question. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, it is 'just what we do', 'just how I am', as women often say about themselves.
For instance, I have noticed that when most people (including myself) are asked to talk about themselves or asked the question 'who are you?', our response tends to coincide with what we do. We define ourselves by our careers, motherhood and marriage, but when it comes to answering the root of the question 'who are you', oftentimes women scramble to come up with words to describe their inner selves. To form a true response requires a great deal of thought and delving deep within our hearts.

In most cases it's not that women don't know who they are, but I think somewhere along the way there has been a disconnect or dysfunctional relationship of MIND, BODY and SOUL, and so many people are no longer truly at peace with themselves and longing for happiness; lost in their ability to pinpoint an accurate answer to the question WHO AM I?
The problem with defining or identifying ourselves by what we do is that, when what we do ceases to exist, ends or is replaced by something else, our identity may very well disappear with whatever it was we previously envisioned as defining ourselves. This can be a traumatic experience, not only for the individual, but for the people within our inner circles.

In retrospect, while meeting the needs of the people we care tends to bring women a great deal of joy and satisfaction in addition to being a responsibility we have consciously (or unconsciously) accepted and taken on  we need to remember to take care of ourselves, to take some well deserve time-out for reconnecting with our true, authentic sense of self.

There is no harm in taking time to pamper ourselves on occasion, or to free ourselves to take advantage of the many wonderful opportunities life has to offer.

And there is nothing wrong with taking time-out to explore who we really are without titles.
Al-hamdulillah for this blessed month of Ramadhan!

Michelle Alicia John, also known by her Muslim name, Zainab John, is Guyanese by birth and born to parents who converted from Christianity to Islam. She migrated from Guyana, South America to London, England where she currently resides.

She is a graduate of the University of Guyana with a Diploma in Social Work and Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) and is currently a Trainee Chartered Legal Executive Lawyer with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX).

Michelle is also a wife, stay at home mum, blogger, parent, mentor, child protection advocate volunteer and an aspiring author.


  1. As Salaamu Alaikum Sister <3 I was very inspired by what you've written, jazak'Allahu khair. I have struggled with this issue throughout my life and it is Islam that has brought me the most peace and understanding concerning who I am and what this life means for me. And I love your easy style, it was very comforting to read

  2. w/salaam aww blush blush thanks ukhti :)


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