The Prophet (peace be upon him) had encouraged Muslims to welcome this sacred ninth month of the Muslim calendar! Welcome it because during this month the doors of heaven are opened and the doors of hell are closed and all the shayateen (devils) are chained up and have no power to influence us.

It is not easy.

But there is something very exciting about it!

I was writing a novel recently and I came to describe it, that you think it’s going to be so hard, but then the first week passes and the second week passes, and when you go to the masjid for taraweeh prayer, you feel the peace descend upon you as you listen to the beautiful recitation of the Quran, God’s own book, that was first revealed in this blessed month.

And you see the moon changing, through the lacy cloud cover, or sometimes you can see it better when it’s clear, and you see it waxing, and then waning, the days and nights inevitably passing, and you get into the rhythm of the month so that you hardly feel the hunger and thirst of the days, even though the days are long because it’s at the height of summer.

And before you know it, the month is passing and you’re getting ready for Eid!

Oh it is a beautiful month.

My heart is light.

I am surrounded with peace.

And even though I have a bunch of presentations in the fall to prepare for, including the National Council of Teachers of English convention in Atlanta, Georgia where I will be conducting two presentations, I am at peace, and I know I will work towards it insha Allah and everything will be okay.

Last night I watched The Martian with Matt Damon. During Ramadan I try to stay away from stupid nonsense and dirty stuff in particular, and The Martian is really just a good story. It’s in the end, when Damon is lecturing to a group of students that the themes of the story really come together. It’s well worth watching, and it makes me realize that more and more Hollywood is tired of the normal story format. There are no ‘love interests’ in the new stories. And good on that.

And yet there’s something missing. Soul.

Hollywood and science fiction is incredibly amoral, and areligious.

And kind of depressing.

I hope whoever reads this has a wonderful month of Ramadan, whether you celebrate it or not, whether you fast or not, and I hope this month will bring the world one step closer to peace.