Ramadan came and went in the blink of an eye. The first week started off really slowly for me and then after that I don't know what happened!
My Ramadan this year was not like any other. I didn't get a chance to pray taraweeh in the masjid but since my husband is not with me (just like all the times when I am home for Ramadan in Toronto), I had no problem praying it in the comfort of my own home . I was able to attend my first iftar at the masjid I usually attend and I was able to attend iftar gatherings with many of my good friends Alhamdulillah. But of course, Ramadan is not just about having iftar gatherings, actually it is far from that. Ramadan should be about getting closer to Allah and rectifying our own selves and holding ourselves accountable for our actions and our character. Even though I didn't do loads of ibaadah, I tried my best to be consistent and I think I moved at a steady pace alhamdulillah. I always found the prior years whenever I would try to make a plan I would fail miserably. Just something about writing down a plan makes me feel stressed and forced. So this year, I decided to go at my own pace and do what I thought was best for me and what was within my capacity. I tried my best to be consistent and worked on things gradually and tried not to dive head first into the deep end, which is something I always end up doing, resulting in me becoming burnt out in the end. It is really important that we always pace ourselves not just in Ramadan but during our lifetime as a Muslim. If Allah does not burden us with more than we can bear, then we should not do that to ourselves!
What made my Ramadan different this year was that I was able to reflect a lot. Day and night, I was reflecting and thinking about my own self and my many flaws which really needed to be rectified. I almost felt like I went through an emotional boot camp because I experienced so many different emotions all in one month. I went from being happy and excited to feeling sad and depressed! I then realised the negative feelings I was experiencing was due to my lack of yaqeen (absolute certainty) and tawakkul (reliance upon Allah) in Allah. I also kept focusing on all the negative aspects of my life when in fact I should have been trying to focus on the positive things ! I know it is so hard to be grateful when we are going through trials. It is so easy to forget that we have so much to be thankful for during our times of hardships. For example, we should feel happy that we have either our health, our wealth or loved ones around us when we are suffering from something that is testing us. We should always be thankful and grateful no matter what because then Allah will increase us with more.
"And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe."" (14:7)
even though this is such a challenge most of the time, every time we feel ungrateful we should immediately stop ourselves and think of all the blessings that Allah HAS given us! Even if we think there are none, if we truly reflect , we will find many ! I always ended up comparing myself to others and then I would feel lonely and sad but then I tried to remember the story of Yusuf (aleyhi salam) and Ayyub (aleyhi salam) and I compared myself to them and then I thought, wow, I have no right to complain because look at what they went through and how patient they were?! And they did not even complain for one second! It is amazing how Allah gives us examples in the Qur'an and uses His righteous slaves to help us get through our hardships! How great Allah is! Whenever we feel sad, ungrateful or hopeless, let us look at the example of the prophets (May Allah's peace be upon them all) and reflect upon ourselves and remind ourselves that they were the best of people and yet they were struck with many difficult hardships yet they were patient and never complained and exercised full tawakkul 'ala Allah! A great reminder to myself first and foremost.
I hope that I can continue to strive daily to always be grateful because now that Ramadan has passed us by almost a month now, I am finding myself starting to become heedless and impatient. The struggle is real! The best way to stay on track is to always surround yourself with those who remind you of Allah and to always surround yourself with people who have less than you so that you will always remember your blessings that Allah has sent upon you and I ! May Allah keep us steadfast and firm with Islam and upon the correct understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!