Now that the holy month of Ramadan is coming to an end, our system is crashing due to the conflicting reports we’re receiving of mixed and completely opposite feelings: sorrow, relief, panic, regret, excitement, exhaustion and achievement. Our analysis of you guys’ reactions doesn’t match! Some of you feel like the month has fled by so quickly and others say it couldn’t have gone any slower. And since your feelings determine your thoughts, how are we supposed to maintain our sterling reputation for credibility and relatable advice if we don’t even know what the majority is thinking?
Okay, change of plans.
Instead of focusing on how to gather up your energy to make the best out of the last third of Ramadan, let’s focus on how to absorb energy from the last 10 days of Ramadan to make the best out of the whole year!
What do you think, sounds good?
Don’t worry; this isn’t another cliché article on ‘How to Maintain the Ramadan Spirit’. I know your time is very precious so let’s get real….
Expectations Vs Reality
Many of us wonder how we can reach unprecedented spiritual levels in Ramadan, and yet scrape the bottom of the ‘sinning’ barrel for the rest of the year. Even though it’s become a yearly pattern, it remains completely unexplainable!
How is sincere worship during the holy month a common goal for us and yet it slips the minds of many for the rest of the year?
How do we find serenity and peace so easily in Ramadan, but lose our breaths chasing them outside of it?
Okay, let’s put it this way. Have you ever come across that little drawing of a tap pouring water into different pots and the riddle asks you to figure out which pot would fill up first?
You’d expect the top pot to fill up faster; since it’s closer to the tap. But as we take a closer look, we realize the real answer is actually the one with blocked holes, the pot that doesn’t dissipate water. Well, it’s the same with our lives too. Think of the year as twelve different pots, and while 11 are constantly emptying out the water being poured into them, only the Ramadan pot fills up, because, we try to seal its four cracks as much as we possibly could:
1. The Eyes: We guard them by lowering our gaze.
2. The Ears: We block them from listening to gossip and stuff.
3. The Tongue: We control what we say. Backbiting, sarcasm, lies, profanities, curse words… It’s the biggest crack of all actually, for sometimes one hurtful word can destroy someone’s whole world.
4. The Hands: We make sure we cause no harm to each other nor do we touch what’s not lawfully ours.
For the most part, like the 11 remaining pots, many of us feel empty inside until Ramadan arrives to fill us up. It’s not only because we seal the four cracks of the eyes, ears, tongue, and hands, but also because in Ramadan, we give our translators a chance to talk.
(Ummm yes you come with an exceptional, state of the art built-in translator. What, you didn’t know?!)
Listen To Your Heart
Your heart understands and sees things differently because it has a mind and a pair of eyes of its own. Your heart’s reasoning is very different from your brain’s way of thinking. It’s like a translator that speaks a unique language, giving you the keys to many closed doors.
You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?
Would I lie to you?
After years of being your virtual friend?
Alright fine, here’s the undeniable proof:
“So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.” [Quran, Chapter 22: Verse 46]
Your heart is like a famous public figure, it has so much influence, it can completely turn your life around!
Prophet Muhammad says
“Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” [Bukhari]
So listen to it. Let your inner translator speak its mind.
Because when your eyes see the pages of the Qur’an, your heart sees the guidance.
When your eyes see the wealth, food and family, your heart sees the blessings in having them.
When your eyes see the obstacles, the hardships, and trials, your heart sees the meanings behind them.
And when your eyes see the month of Ramadan as being tiresome and difficult, your heart understands it’s a yearly Boot Camp. It’s the chance to start over, to charge up and shield ourselves from the sins that stain our hearts.
Listen to this:
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” [Qur’an, Chapter 2: Verse183]
Shhhhhh did you hear that?
Someone just mumbled ‘We’ve been lectured about this ayah a thousand times! So much for cliché articles girl!’
Okay, who said that? It was you, wasn’t it?
Well, I must admit there’s a certain power in clichés and repetition. Sometimes you can read the same thing over and over and you know, nothing! Then you read it again and it suddenly hits you. Your heart finally speaks….
The Real Winners
Who do you think wins the race in Ramadan?
Those who read the most Qur’an or those who go out of their way to help others?
Those who pray all night or those who work all day?
Those who struggle to learn or those who teach with ease?
Well, the answer is really simple: the winners are the ones who do good from the heart…..
You know those articles we call ‘clichés’? Someone took the time to research ayahs and hadiths and then spent hours trying to frame the information as eloquently as possible, to remind themselves and the rest of us of Allah’s words.
These articles were written from the heart…
And the persistently recurring lectures about how to make the best out of Ramadan? Someone stepped out of their comfort zone, stood in front of a camera or an audience, to spread the message of Allah , hoping to be even one person’s wakeup call.
You know those lectures? They were spoken
from the heart….
And you being here, leaving everything behind to search for answers on how to fuel up for the last few days. You know this time you’re spending reading this article. That’s time spent from the heart.
You know this panic? This guilt? This need to seize the opportunity to ‘become righteous’?
That’s a feeling Allah put in your heart because He loves you. Because He’s more Merciful to His slavess than a tender mother is towards her only child.
Even the people who have gone astray, Allah waits for them to come back. And He’s more pleased with the repentance of His slave than one of you who unexpectedly finds his lost camel in the desert [Bukhari and Muslim]
I mean, imagine a life without the month of Ramadan where all our past sins are forgiven? Imagine a world without the Holy Qur’an, where Allah literally talks to us, telling us over and over, that no matter how many mistakes we make and sins we fall into, He will always be Compassionate and Forgiving when we ask Him?
Imagine a world where no one cares about you. No one cares to slowly bring you back to the straight path. No one bothers to help you heal your aching heart or even listen to what you have to say.
Imagine a world where the Divine commands were straightforwardly given to us, like a set of instructions in a manual. Or where guidance and advice is cast upon us harshly like rocks knocking us down.
You know what would happen? No matter how beneficial the loveless reminders are, we’d build walls against them.
Love is the essence of Islam.
When your heart is filled with love, it’s almost impossible to enjoy anything without sharing it with your loved ones.
It’s almost impossible to find pure pleasure in a sin because your love for your Creator will fill your soul with sorrow.
Love makes it easier to forgive. It makes you find bliss in caring for others, in building them up even when you feel broken inside.
The Messenger of Allah [saw] said,
“By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you shall not believe until you love one another….” [Muslim]
I think we tend to separate our religion from our lifestyle. Then struggle with this tug-o-war between spirituality and worship on one side and practicality and daily needs on the other. We forget that the Qur’an was sent down to fix this life we’re living right now, as well as our hereafter. It was sent to fill our minds with answers, our hearts with love and our souls with peace.
Alright here’s a pop quiz: Do you know why the devils are tied up in Ramadan? Because they keep trying to harden your hearts with whispers of doubts, anger, and selfishness.
They try to mute your inner translator and get it sick with temptations, laziness, and jealousy.
But in Ramadan, this self-discipline pours into your self-esteem and so you fill your pot with spiritual achievements. You’re free to dream of your future self; that role model inside of you that you’re yet to become.
You owe it to yourself to charge up your heart and invest in your relationship with Allah , with your loved ones and with yourself
And if you haven’t yet, there’s still time
You deserve this chance to start anew
Just open your heart and listen….