It's true, my posting really slowed down in Ramadan. And I don't regret that. In fact, I feel like I've recently been released from a ball and chain--aka my laptop.
I went to the ISNA convention over Labor Day Weekend, and I remember Sh. Hamza Yusuf saying something during one of his big speeches there--basically, that if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about is checking your email, that you have a problem. And he also said it was a problem if the first thing you think of was breakfast, or snoozing, or something else, anything other than remembering Allaah and wanting to pray.
Unfortunately, I couldn't just completely avoid my computer for the entire month. In fact, my lab TA was kind of miffed to discover I don't even check my school email on a daily basis. (The university refuses to allow me to have it forwarded to gmail, which I do check more often.) But I have to use the computer to find out homework assignments, test dates, lab data, even do some coursework for my online class. But overall my internet usage did go down--I generally stopped reading blogs and posting on my own (with a few exceptions... I did make a point to keep up with MuslimMatters regularly, twice a week or so, even if I didn't read all the posts, just to see what was up.)
And alhamdulillah. Now I don't feel such a tremendous need to check my email right away when I get up, or when I get home, etc. And that's a nice feeling.
Another thing I did this month, in the first two weeks especially, was write a short story for the MuslimMatters Short Story Contest. I'm glad I did that, first because it helped me remember a story that is actually strong and emotional and something that I could use in trying to explain khushoo' in salaat.
In the weeks before Ramadan, I noticed many people making special resolutions for Ramadan--to read more Qur'an, stay away from doubtful things, for example. I didn't really do that, because I wasn't sure what to do. I had this feeling that I didn't want to commit myself to doing something in Ramadan that I would (deliberately) end up leaving after Ramadan. So I made a few private goals (right, private, so I won't be sharing them) of things that I definitely intend to maintain henceforth.
But there was one opportunity I really didn't want to pass up, even though I wasn't sure where I would find the time for it. And that was a special Bayyinah Ramadan class, a cover-to-cover reading of the Qur'an in English. Roughly a juz a day, for 3 hours a day, every day. Alhamdulillah. I feel like I didn't benefit as much as I could have from it, but only because of a shortage of effort on my part, for missing some days or parts of some classes.
And while I should be able to say after that, that my relationship with the Qur'an has improved, I don't think I can say that unless I maintain, or keep up my own reading of the Qur'an regularly (and I mean daily) in English, to build on what I have learned.
One small goal I wanted to accomplish this Ramadan was the memorization of a few more chapters from the 30th Juz. I am sure that this is a problem which plagues many converts, and adult Muslims who didn't have the benefit of Qur'an classes growing up. And I'm actually very disappointed overall that there is not more done to help to community (communities, all over North America) in this respect.
I am actually embarrassed to admit how little of the Qur'an I have memorized, after being Muslim now for three years. And I'm afraid to ask how much my friends know, and other converts, for fear of actually sounding arrogant about how much I know, when I know practically nothing! In fact, I think I might have to write a whole post on this subject alone. Learning and practicing tajweed improved my ability to read Qur'an so much that I have been able to get to a new level with memorization, so that I can commit much more to memory, and much quicker, and with greater comprehension. And I really hope and pray to continue memorizing Qur'an.
Ultimately I'm sad to see Ramadan go--and more sad than I have been in the past. But now I know a lot of things that I must to--personal spiritual goals, and also some directions I think that I should push along with the community. Eid Mubarak... now it's time to get busy.