Today, I am going to talk about Ramadan. At 23, this isn’t my first Ramadan. However, this is the first Ramadan that I feel that I really understood the significance of this holy month. I mean, I was extremely excited for the month. That doesn’t usually happen, I’m generally more worried about going without food for the 30 days and trying to find an outfit for Eid. But this time, the excitement was real. I had my goals set out and was determined to achieve it. I was so focused, I almost forgot about Eid. So, I decided to reflect on a few things I realised this past month. Here goes;
There is no greater peace than the peace I felt during *tahajjud– Personally, tahajjud has always been a struggle. I am a very difficult sleeper. It takes me ages to fall asleep. So, waking up to pray after just having gone to sleep, then going back to sleep only to wake up for work a few hours later did not seem like fun. After thorough testing, I can say that I was right. It’s not fun! I wake up tired and wanting to go back to bed. But I still get up the next day to do it again. There is a peace that I felt standing up in prayer at 1.45 a.m. I do not know what it is. I think part of it was knowing that it’s just Him and I in that moment. Most people are asleep. There are little or no distractions. There is something beautiful about that. Just thinking about it, puts a smile on my face :).
Ramadan tested my willpower – I found that Ramadan really tested my willpower. That’s the whole point of Ramadan really. It is learning to restrain yourself from acts that you shouldn’t be taking part in, whilst also increasing in good acts. Waking up for tahajjud was one of the major tests for me. This is the first Ramadan that I consistently woke up for tahajjud. Some days, I found getting up easy. Other days, it was a struggle. For me, it took an immense amount of willpower to get up on those days. I was so tempted to just go back to sleep.
Another major one for me was the voluntary prayers. In Islam, we have prayers that are obligatory and ones that aren’t. Although some prayers are not obligated, they are highly recommended. I’d normally pray my obligatory prayers, but the voluntary ones were a bit of a hit and miss. So, one of my goals this Ramadan was to always pray the voluntary prayers. This was fine for every other prayer EXCEPT Maghrib. We break our fast at Maghrib. Generally, I break my fast with some water and fruit, and then I go to pray. After that, I have a proper meal. I cannot explain how difficult I found the Maghrib voluntary prayer. It sounds so ridiculous. Like, I would have been fasting for about 19 hours or so and would have had no problem doing it. I might have been a little thirsty, but I wouldn’t have been hungry. Maghrib comes in, I break my fast with something small, generally water and fruit and I pray the obligatory prayer. Then, it comes time for the voluntary prayer and it’s a struggle. Like, why?! It took me an immense amount of willpower to pray one of the shortest prayers.
“Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you” *Hadith Qudsi- This hadith isn’t new to me. However, it really resonated with me during this past month. Mainly because I was making small efforts to move closer to Him. I really felt much closer to him. Closer than I expected to feel. Closer than I felt my deeds were worth. Does that make sense?
I really do feel like I have achieved a lot during this Ramadan. I hope you all have too. If you haven’t, it’s not too late. There are still a few days left. Eid Mubaraq in Advance 🙂
What did you learn during Ramadan? I’d love to hear about it!
* Hadith- sayings and the doings of the Prophet. Used as a source of guidance for Muslims.
*Tahajjud- Recommended prayer that is done after the last prayer and before sunrise.
* Maghrib- it is performed when the sun sets.
Till next time
Photograph By A. O’Brien