The Conversation in my Head – Ramadan in July

By Hesham Hassaballa

In the Name of the Infinitely Good and Compassionate Beloved Lord

July 9 marks the first day of Ramadan in 2013. This is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims must forgo food and drink (yes, even water) during the daylight hours. Because the Islamic sacred calendar is lunar, Ramadan will fall during the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere for the next … um … decade or so.

Thus, I have been having a fierce internal dialogue about having to fast in July. You can listen in:

“Oh my God! Ramadan is starting on Tuesday.”

“I know … I’m scared.”

“The day is long … really long.”

“Uh huh …”

“And it’s going to be hot … really hot.”

“Uh huh …”

“No coffee in the morning …”


“No 3 p.m. coffee, either …”

“Don’t remind me.”

“And I can’t eat or drink until 8:30 p.m. … 8:30!!!”

“But, it’s such a tremendous month of blessing!”

“Yes, but …”

“I mean, the Lord blessed us with His Word in this month.”

“Yes, but …”

“And He has been so good to you, man! So good to you.”

“I know … but … the sun sets at 8:30 p.m.!”

“Yes, but, has the Lord ever stopped being good to you?”

“No, never.”

“Even past 8:30 p.m.?”


“OK, then. Can’t you suck it up for a month?”

 “… But I can’t play golf for a whole month because it’s hard to golf and fast!”

“Come on, dude! Where is your love of the Lord?”

I love the Lord; I Love Him a lot.”

“OK , then. There is so much blessing in this month. You know that. You’ve felt it! You have personal experience with Ramadan’s blessing!”

“What do you mean?”

“Remember your medical school interview?”


“When did it happen?”

“In Ramadan … and I couldn’t get a free lunch that day!”

“(Sigh) What happened three months later?”

“I … I got accepted into medical school.” 

“Remember that track meet in high school?”

“Yeah. It was hard to train during Ramadan. And the days were long then, too!” 

“Yes, but what happened that day?”

“I got first place … and my varsity letter.”

“See? Ramadan is a great month.”

“Yeah, but…the sun sets at 8:30 p.m.!!!”

“Suck it up! Step up for the Lord, just like He steps up for you every single moment of the day, every day!”

“Yeah, but … “

“Show your love for Him in a public, outward way just like He shows His love for you every single moment of the day, every day!”

Yeah, but … “

“Ramadan is the chance to reconnect with Your Beloved and His Word.”

Yeah, but … “

“Suck it up, and step up for God, Hesham!”

“Yeah, but … but … the sun … (sigh) fine … but it’s gonna be hard!”

“You will not regret it, Hesham. You will not regret it one bit!”

A Most blessed and happy Ramadan to every single person in this world. May the Lord bless all of us with His love, His mercy, and His grace forever and ever. Amen.

Hesham Hassaballa is a columnist for the Patheos Muslim Channel. This article originally appeared on

This piece is part of our ongoing series on Ramadan 2013, featuring reflections, stories, and articles from Muslims and non-Muslims on their Ramadan experiences. Keep checking altmuslim for new pieces throughout Ramadan.

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