Shaban is the month of the Islamic Calendar when the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is known to have fasted more than any other month of the year other than Ramadan. For this reason, I have made an effort to fast as much and whenever possible, particularly Mondays and Thursdays. These are the days of the week that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) used to fast. I thank Allah because these days of fasting have been good practice and preparation for Ramadan; the worries I had about teaching all day while fasting have dissipated.
There's a man with a fruit stand on West 26th street who gives me free fruit and veggies, because we share a common faith. Today a man a bread shop in Grand Central Station offered me a discount on the loaf of bread that I bought, because I am his sister in Islam. As I waited to take the 1 train today, an Arab family dressed in traditional thobes, goutras, and niqabs exited the train. I greeted them 'Asalaam aleikum' and the women returned the greeting, with smiles I could detect from their eyes. Even the father or uncle of the family, adorned in red and white traditional dress, waved to me and called back 'wa aleikum salaam!'
What a lovely weekend in Wassaic. Now it's back to the rush of teaching. This week, the start of Ramadan, I am making decisions about the future and praying Istikharah. Alhamdulillah I have been given peace of heart and mind and good, impeccably-timed counsel from friends.