It is with great sadness that I watch another Ramadan come to an end. For a while now, I felt that I had been gradually declining spiritually- both in spiritual connection and acts of worship. So this Ramadan came when I needed it most. Of course, it was met with some apprehension initially as I wasn’t sure that I would succeed at fasting 18 hours.
Herein lies the two biggest lessons I learnt this Ramadan:
1) I have to have more faith
2) I have to have more faith in myself
Not only was it relatively easy to fast these long hours but I was probably the most productive I had been in a long time. It made me reflect and realize that eating takes up a lot of time. I also cut out music, TV and reading (books, magazines) during this time. Needless to say without distractions, a lot can be done.
I felt that this Ramadan was one of my best. Not because I did any extra spiritual duties but rather it turned out well because I was consistent in the little that I did do. And it definitely helped that I started planning well ahead of time for this month. I am a last minute person and this is a lesson that I will carry forward inshallah.
Perhaps, what I worked the hardest on this month was getting to know and understand the Qu’ran. Everyone has one dimension of faith that they gravitate towards. The Qu’ran has always been a challenge for me. So I worked on reading it, listening to it, learning about it. Alhamdulillah, I feel like I have a much better connection with it now. The scholars say that there should be one habit that you should carry forward from this month on. Retaining a connection to the Qu’ran will be what I take with me for the rest of the year.
As I worked on the inward, I worked on the outward. I made a real commitment to eat well. I had my own vegetable and herb garden and one of my favourite Ramadan memories will be using my home grown produce to make iftar. Connecting to the earth that way was extra special! I will also remember the lovely iftars that my friends hosted including one by candelight,.
Taraweeh prayers are always special and this year was even more special because I witnessed dedication first hand. There was many children present this year despite the prayers starting at 11 pm and ending close to 1 am. But there were these two little girls who came every single night. One was 11 years old and she fasted every single day and stood in prayer for all 20 rakats. Her little sister was 5 and would do her best to pray but sometimes would fall asleep. Their dedication (and spirit) was so inspiring. Taraweeh was also special this year because I got to pray with my mom a lot and see some very good friends every day that I went. The qari who led prayers this year was also another source of inspiration- he was 25 and had beautiful recitation. When he was about to finish the Qu’ran, he just broke down into sobs. Out of all of us, he probably had the closest connection to the Qu’ran, he led us through this journey and here it was coming to an end.
Ramadan was definitely a time to focus on the inward and to truly reflect on the ayat (verse) of the Qu’ran “Where then are you going?”. I hope you had a meaningful Ramadan where you also had ample time and opportunity to evaluate where things are headed. It was definitely a month of hard work but #we did it.
I hope you have a wonderful Eid with your family and friends. Celebrate, enjoy and hope you get lots of presents.
Best wishes always,