The weather is lovely in Southern California this month. The oceans are clear, and I can see Catalina Island from my window. The Sierra Nevadas stretch out behind it. Peacocks are strutting outside my front door. Two of them, Simon and Simona, have had four children–baby peacocks. We have named them Fluff, Puff, Floof, and Poof. The lighthouse appears serene, bringing civilization to the rocky cliffs. I am convinced that Palos Verdes is the most beautiful city in the world, and I am blessed to live here.
Those were my musings at Ramadan’s first sunset, right after yet another call to arms from ISIS and an attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians. As of right now, it is only the second day of Ramadan and I am already worried. I don’t want this month to descend into bloodshed. Last year’s Ramadan was bad enough. Why can’t the extremists leave us alone to watch our sunsets? Why do the world’s Muslims insist that Shaitan is locked up during this month when it is clear that he haunts our nightmares after Maghrib?
It is only the second day, I remind myself. There is time enough, for things to improve.
These are my wishes for Ramadan.
This Ramadan, I want peace. I want Muslims to follow the Quran. I want people to stop arguing over whether Shias deserve civil rights and whether women are human. I want us to regain our sanity and our humanity. I want to go to a mosque where everyone is welcome and where we won’t be considered kuffar. I wish everything wasn’t a fight. I wish we had all grown up in an environment where the Quran was followed. I wish we didn’t have to work so hard to get our religion back.
I wish we weren’t so divided.
I wish we agreed on fundamental aspects of our faith, such as the equality of all individuals before God. I wish we weren’t constantly trying to twist our religion for our own benefit. I wish we were altruistic.
I want terrorists and hypocrites to go away and leave us alone. I want them to stop perpetrating mass murder and slavery in the name of God. I want God to be respected.
I wish we had communities of faith where it was taken as a given that everyone deserves good treatment and mercy. I wish we would quit dehumanizing others over ridiculous issues, like articles of clothing and veils and makeup. I wish we would let our daughters go to the mosque and feel welcome there. I wish half of us didn’t believe we were forbidden to touch the Quran for 25% of our lives.
I wish my aunts could go to their mosque, but they can’t, because it’s closed to women.
I wish ISIS would stop releasing propaganda demanding that we destroy our souls. I wish we were born into a better place where none of this was a problem, where people followed God’s religion and were good.
I wish we had peace.