I find myself savoring more in Ramadan. But not savoring in the “tasting” sense.
Savoring: to spend an extended period of time, more time than usual, focusing joyfully on an awareness that has sharpened — either within us or in the physical world. Like honing in on the sensation of a tiny fruit-fly landing on your hand by mistake. Instead of swatting it away, imagine focusing on the feeling of the fly moving its tiny feet while getting its bearings before flying off … imagine closing your eyes and savoring it.
Time seems to change in Ramadan. It slows but not in the agonizing way of my first years fasting as a child — “is it time to break our fast yet?” was the “are we there yet?” of many a Muslim home; rather it’s the kind of slowing where we become aware of things we never seemed to notice before. Life moves in a way that asks us to consider it. What am I doing right at this moment? How am I doing it? Is it the way I want to? Can I try to do this a little differently so that I inch toward becoming the being I want to be in this transient life?
All of this reflection — the focusing, the asking, the bettering — is done gently while savoring, with appreciation for the world and ourselves.
When time slows and life allows you to consider it, you can close your eyes, or, if you prefer, open them wider, and reflect with awe. It should be natural, in this state of heightened awareness, and with the sound of the recitation of the Qur’an that fills and lifts our days during this month more than any other month, to then connect what we’re savoring to the source of all that surrounds us: the Subtle One, the All-Merciful, the Provider.
In my head, savoring is a cousin to gratitude. And gratitude is the kindly grandmother of contentment. I aspire to grow into sweet grandmotherhood so, of course, in the beautiful, dust-dancing sunbeam of a gift that is the slowing of time, I look forward to truly SAVORING this Ramadan.
S. K. Ali is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of several books, including the Morris Award finalist Saints and Misfits and Love from A to Z, both named as best YA titles of the year by various media including Entertainment Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Her novel Misfit in Love was a People magazine best book of summer 2021. Her other books include the critically-acclaimed middle grade anthology Once Upon an Eid and the New York Times bestselling picture book, The Proudest Blue. Her new novel, Love From Mecca to Medina, goes on sale October 18, 2022 from Salaam Reads.