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Spending Ramadan "Alone"

The story that I am going to tell you, is one that I have never told anyone before:

I became a Muslima in August 1999 and in those years Ramadan was in the middle of winter. The days were very short and for me it was a perfect time to get used to fasting.
During my first three years of being a new Muslim, I spend Ramadan alone.
Alone didn't mean completely alone, but during Suhoor (early breakfast) and most of the Iftars (breaking of the fast). And then again, not completely alone because I had my cat to keep me company.

Every morning we would have Suhoor together in the kitchen. I would place a sandwich, some fruit, yoghurt, coffee, milk and lots of water for me on my large round dinner table and she would sit, on the table, close to me waiting for me to give her some pieces of my sandwich.
She always loved bread and had developed the skill to drink water from a wide rimmed mug, so I would place hers close to mine. It was very cozy and I didn't feel alone. I used to talk to her and now and then she would meow softly in reply, she was always very talkative.
I don't think she understood what it was all about, just some extra attention on an unusually early time. But I have heard somewhere that animals do tend to listen when the Qor'an is recited, so you never know, Allahu Alim (only Allah knows).

We used to finish up our Suhoor, and then I would pray my Fadjr (Morning) Prayer.
That was another ritual that she loved to participate in. As soon as I spread out my prayer rug, she would sit on it and would not move until I finished praying and fold it up again.
Once I saw a mother with her baby during prayer in a mosque, she would place the baby in the middle of her prayer rug and during sudjood she would bend over the baby, so it would be enveloped by the mother's upper body. That was such a touching sight, and I never forgot it. When I performed prayer with my cat sitting on my rug, it always reminded me of that mother with her baby.

After prayer I would leave for work. At that time I worked as a webmaster at a large energy company. My colleagues were always very understanding and somewhat intrigued by my fasting. "Not even a glass of water?" "No, not even a glass of water!" After 3 years they got the hang of it and didn't ask me anymore, and they even started to mention the start of Ramadan in one of our internal newsletters. I wonder if they continued doing that after I left.
As far as I knew I was the only Muslim at our location, but I knew there were others stationed at other locations, although I never got to meet them.
I was allowed to take time to pray and even had a designated room that I could lock, so nobody would walk in on me. I felt that I was lucky to have such an understanding employer.
Around 4.30 pm I would break my fast at work with a date and some water and perform the Magrib (sundown) Prayer. I was usually the last person to leave; the building would be very quiet and peaceful.
On my way home I would usually stop for some grocery shopping. I tried to buy all fresh vegetables and fruit and didn't forget something special for my cat.

When I arrived at my apartment building, I could see her sitting in the windowsill waiting for my return. As soon as she spotted me, she would leave her spot and run to the door, waiting for me to enter.

In those years I didn't go to Taraweeh prayers in the evening yet, but instead I would listen to tapes with Islamic lectures or anasheed. For me that was as close to attending the mosque as I could get.
My cat would sit on my lap and we would listen and enjoy each others company.

Most of the weekends I got invited to Iftar meals with other sisters and would also invite sisters to my house. But during the week days I would spend Ramadan "alone" with my cat.

My cat has passed away a few years ago, but I will always have that special memory of her.

Story by: Karin
Ramadan 2010