The reason why I have been putting off writing an article on Ramadan is that I had wanted to have a real special time for it… in which to write a really perfect article which would make Allah really pleased with me… but as almost half of Ramadan has already gone by so quickly, I have realized that such a time and such perfection are not only rare to find but also it is not even required from us to be perfect. Rather we should aim for excellence and strive to achieve it in whatever circumstances we have. Therefore today I wrote in my journal early in the morning that I have to write whatever I can at this specific time slot and Alhamdulillah just by making this firm resolve Allah has blessed me with the motivation I needed to throw aside my apprehensions and try to do the very best that I can… inshaAllah
So let it be the first lesson of Ramadan that if you really want to achieve something then don’t let weakness be an obstacle… and don’t let obstacles be a weakness… Nothing is impossible for us if we take the first step by making a firm resolve and asking Allah to bless us with energy to do it.
The same thing happened regarding the decision I had to take before Ramadan… should I continue going to the summer camp where I had volunteered to teach creative writing to kids… or will it be too exhausting for me? Wouldn’t it be better to call it off and stay home so as to focus on my Quran and other activities? On surface it seemed very logical to do so but then I thought that it would be such a contradiction that on one hand I claim to love the Quran and on the other hand I would be doing something totally against the spirit of its message… So I decided to go for three consecutive days and if I do get any sickness or weakness which I cannot endure then I will have a solid reason for quitting… otherwise I should not give in to the desire of my “comfort-loving” self. Alhamdulillah only the first two days were really tough but the third was a breeze until I actually started enjoying it:)
One of my most pleasurable activities is to read about various success strategies in Ramadan… how to keep myself spiritually motivated and physically fit… etc etc… a very good tip which I learned about 3 years back, is to break your fast with just dates and water; read maghrib salah and then have a light meal. But whenever I discussed it with my family they couldn’t accept the idea at all… what??? Aftari without pakoras, samosas and other snacks? Unthinkable… and so with a miserable heart I would be making all those things year after year… trying to tell them what a waste of time it was… wasting away even the objective of fasting which is to make us more conscious of the passing time and become akhirat oriented instead of being focused on fulfilling our desires all the time.
But this year as the time for Ramadan approached and I started planning and buying groceries the same thought came to me that if we could be sensible in our choice of food then Ramadan would be so much more relaxed and beneficial. But how am I going to bring this revolution on my dinner table??!! And so Allah helped me in realizing another mistake of mine that I should not waste my energy in contradictions and useless debate with my family… instead I should start with my own self. Even though it will be a real test of patience to prepare snacks and then not eat them ( I am equally in love with delicious food) but then there is a price for everything and if my intention is to have a good health for the sake of being productive for Allah, then He will help me…
Alhamdulillah just by making this firm intention, Allah sent down his help in miraculous ways. One was that my cooking time got reduced by almost 50% because I switched over to easier, simpler recipes… and also because I was not too concerned with making some perfect cuisine… Secondly when I sat down for the first aftar… I deliberately picked up a date and chewed it very very slowly… then took sips of water… then another date and few more sips and repeated one more time. Then felt the relief and energy flowing in my whole body and even deep down in my soul when I realized with great happiness and surprise that I didn’t have even the tiniest desire of eating anything else at all… And so for the first time I truly understood the dua… dhabaz-zama’u wabtallatil ‘uruqu wa sabatal ajru inshaAllahJ I really felt like I had got the ajar in the form of this great sukoon of being stronger than my nafs!!
Alhamdulillah I have been following this great recipe for success day after day… feeling so so grateful to Allah that He made fasting compulsory otherwise how would I have learned to control my “self”. How needlessly we fill our bellies when all it needs is plain water and dates!! We should also have a light and simple dinner after about an hour or so. And keep on drinking water in little measures so as to avoid having that bloated feeling. In fact I try to remember keeping a bottle close by when doing qiyam-ul-lail… makes the body refreshed and the mind active… making the salah even more concentrated AlhamdulillahJ
And thinking on this line I have got this idea that our whole life can be “cleansed” from unnecessary stuff if we just keep what we need…
And so I should end here because even articles should be as long as we can digestJ
May Allah help us to remain super productive and super conscious in Ramadan so that we absorb enough Taqwa-power to last us through the whole year… inshaAllah