Assalamualeikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu and peace out to the most AWESOME readers out there.
Can you recognize this scenario? :
The clock is ticking. There are five minutes left for iftaar*. Your eyes fidgetly move from the food, to the clock, to the food, to the clock and back to the food again. You can feel that last rumble of hunger in your stomach, but you console it by sending a silent thought to it, reminding it that soon it shall be filled with the luscious food that sits in front of you on the dining table. And while your thoughts start wandering towards food, they are suddenly interrupted by the sound of the adhaan.
And that's where the grab-all-you-can-and-stuff-it-into-your-mouth-because-you-may-never-get-the-chance-to-eat-again mindset kicks in, am I right?
Unfortunately, this is the reality in most Muslim homes. I'm not one to deny that I'm a victim of this. SubhanAllah, is it just me, or can we sometimes spend a whole day just thinking of food during Ramadan?
As if we've never tasted food before, and as if we're never going to taste it again?
Time and again we are faced with this crucial problem. The problem is that all along, we are missing out on the blessings of Ramadan. While our minds are busy trying to console our tummies, we are losing the whole point of this Holy and blessed Month.
Ramadan is a perfect chance to teach ourselves self-discipline, to practice self-restraint, to purify our bodies and souls. Alhamdulillah, there are 5 things I've realized this Ramadan so far, mostly about myself:
1. I spend a lot of time eating food during a day
This is no joke. And it's the first thing I realize every Ramadan. I always seem to have SO much spare time when I'm fasting, and it makes me realize how much of my day is actually spent eating food. It's a bit scary, to be honest.
Lesson: Eat less, work more.
2. My Qur'an reading is very superficial
During Ramadan, my mother and I have been listening to tafseer (exegesis) of the Qur'an by brother Suhaib Webb through his Youtube channel (which, by the way, is HIGHLY recommendable as the verses are deeply explained in a funny and unusual manner, mashaAllah).
But SubhanAllah, listening to the verses of Qur'an being explained in such depth and with such beauty has made me realize that I honestly read the Qur'an very, very, very superficially. Unfortunately, I've never truly wandered deeply into the realm of the beautiful Qur'anic Arabic verses, and I've never truly appreciated them up until now, Alhamdulillah.
We should start appreciating our religion a bit more. It's not just about covering your head and growing a beard, it's much, much deeper.
Lesson: Read the Qur'an every day, even if it's just a single verse, and ponder it.
3. Smiling can change the world
OK, maybe not the whole world, but it can definitely make the world a bit more comfortable to live in. It all starts in the world that is close to you, meaning your every day life. If you spice it up with a smile every now and then, it can do wonders. There's a reason why our beloved prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that it was sunnah and a charity.
Lesson: Smile more often. Not only does it make your day better, but it makes you happier during Ramadan.
4. Listening is the key to success.
I've realized that when you spend more time listening and less time talking, you're one step closer at being successful in life. When you actually listen to what others have to say, you become more aware of the secret and hidden golden opportunities that lie in the words of others. Don't get me wrong though, it's extremely hard and it takes a lot of patience. Especially when you're fasting, you feel a bit tired towards the end of the day, and so you just don't want people to disagree with you. At the moment, you may feel that it's a worthless and stupid effort (been there, done that), but later you'll be grateful for having listened.
Lesson: Open your ears and brace your tongue. What's the point of diversity if you're doing all the talking?
5. Motivating yourself and renewing your intention each day makes you more productive.
Ever tried waking up and telling yourself that from today, you'll never (enter bad habit here) ever again? Only to fall into the same habit after a few days? Yeah, seriously. Been there, done that; way too often.
I've experienced this with exercise, eating healthy, learning Arabic, being patient, nail-biting, organisation, and the list goes on. And this goes especially for Ramadan.
But Alhamdulillah, I've come to realize that if you renew your intention each day instead of just once in a blue moon, then you're more likely to succeed in achieving your goal. For example, I've noticed on the days where I tell myself in the morning that I'm going to strive to be (enter good habit here) just for that day alone, and I promise myself that I'll do my utmost, just for that day, then I'll more likely do it, rather than if I tell myself randomly one day, and don't follow up on it for a while.
Lesson: Encourage yourself each and every day to follow up on a good action or repel a bad one, and tell yourself to put in as much efforts as possible, just for that day. At the end of the day; evaluate. Do the same thing the next day based on your evaluation.
In the end, we should get as much as we can from this blessed month, because it's a rare opportunity, and who can guarantee us that we'll be around for Ramadan next year?
I ask Allah, the most Merciful, to protect us from lethargy and laziness. I ask Allah to grant us patience, and to grant us the ability to be more productive and get the most out of Ramadna each year, so that we may never every regret our usage of time. Ameen.
The Creative Muslimah
*iftaar is the meal which Muslims eat at sunset to break their fast during Ramadan.