I saw a link to a video with the caption “6th day of Ramadan” I may have misread it but it made me panic. Nope, it wasn’t the 6th day today, but it was the 5th! The days are flying by and to make use of some clichés – this Ramadan doesn’t feel like a sprint or a marathon. It feels like an uphill battle.
Whilst living last Ramadan, I thought it was one of my best ones, however I’m not so sure anymore. In my opinion a Ramadan can only be described as successful if it leaves a great impact outside of the month and that simply did not happen for me last year. I thought I made a great use of my time and I was happy with what I was reading and what I was learning. I felt very connected to Allah and His message but almost as soon as Ramadan finished my routine changed and it had a detrimental effect on me.
I think it’s wise to not over exert yourself physically or mentally during Ramadan because then you’ll be at risk of burning out like I did. I’m not saying I did something extraordinary last year but not only was I not able to keep it up, I went back to a routine very similar to my pre-Ramadan instead of one that was like Ramadan but toned down. Eventually other things like having to delete the podcasts of the life of the Prophet off my phone had a snowballing effect on my spirituality. For example it meant my bus journeys were made up of me day dreaming and checking my twitter feed instead of learning lessons from his blessed life. I didn’t pick up a seerah book to consolidate the lack of seerah in my life so I was slowly losing the second most important thing in a Muslim’s life.
As well as losing the potential of learning new aspects of the prophet’s life I was losing the aspect of repetition as a form of reminder. I wasn’t telling myself exactly how great Allah and his messenger is enough times and I allowed myself to be affected by worldly things instead. Our hearts are always changing state and need constant reminders of Allah and His message, failing to do this will result in a discomfort in the heart. Do we need anything more than a content heart?
Basically I lost my way.
I always look forward to Ramadan but I felt overwhelmed too as I didn’t know how well it would go. I desperately wanted and needed to change myself. Most people seem to look at Ramadan as some sort magic pill which will scrub all the dirt off you and make you look brand new. That’s not how it works. Sure, it can have that life-changing effect but it’s not as easy as simply refraining from food and drink for a month and coming out as better person at the end of it. It requires lots of hard work and persistence to not only stop doing what you’re not supposed to be doing but also trying to create new, good habits. Something which can make it even harder is certain, not great, behaviours or activities you indulge in becoming so much of a norm that you fail to recognise the damage they are doing to your soul. If you can’t recognise it you can’t change. If you can recognise it, it still will be hard to change.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this blog. I’m just typing out whatever thought I’m getting to be honest.
Five days in. Have I put in the hard work and persistence necessary? To an extent, yes. I know I can do better and insha’Allah I will. But I don’t expect any miracles because a) I will get out of this month what I put in b) I will not be disheartened by even the little progress that I make because that is important, perhaps most important in the long run. C) I won’t try to do too much in case I end up back at square one with the same problem as last year.
Since I’m just sharing my thoughts I’ll leave you with this thought unrelated to the above:
The unity promoted by Islam is absolutely beautiful. I went to a graveyard the other day and there was an inscription on a grave, in Urdu, which meant something like “oh passerby say fatiha for me before passing by, by friend, tomorrow you will be desperate for this dua too, my friend” And I made dua. For a complete stranger. It’s perhaps not the best example of unity because that message is deep on its own but the prayer is the best gift you can give to anyone so giving it to a complete stranger is amazing to me.
Oooh and that reminds me, in Surah Fatiha we say
“It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” Talking in the plural even when praying alone emphasises how important it is for us to unify – and that too through prayer. I also love this ayah because it is so full of hope. It shows one may not pray salaah but a sincere dua for help will be answered. SubhanAllah! Alhamdulillah.