Alhamdulillah, we are halfway through Ramadan. It has gone by quickly. Even more surprisingly, it has gone by almost effortlessly, Alhamdulillah.
This year, like many others, I have not felt the physical toll of fasting. My own theory is that it’s because I have learnt to be distracted with other things such as the daily chores at home or being occupied with work, albeit a reduced schedule. Most importantly though, I know that at my age, I have a healthier relationship with food and understand that fasting is not about the concerns of the stomach per se.
To be honest, for many years, whenever Ramadan has come along, I have consciously endeavoured to move to the next/higher level of fasting and check myself in terms of where my temporal desires may want to take me. In other words, I want to curb the bad thoughts which sometimes threaten to translate into bad actions and words. The best way to do that is to disconnect with unnecessary conversations with others, either in person or virtually, and immerse myself in the remembrance of Allah through his noble book, the Quran. I find myself wishing that this kind of hermetically-sealed life is something I could sustain beyond Ramadan. However, Allah knows we are social beings and trying to isolate oneself from the wider community for a long period of time, is not realistic or even acceptable. The real challenge is to take the reflections and lessons of Ramadan and apply them to my life once this month passes – if I am fortunate enough to see it through.
Being in this month right now also reminds me that I am truly blessed and grateful (simultaneously) for having my faith to guide me in my moments of despair and darkness. I can’t imagine what desperate state I’d have been in in recent years had I not had the quiet assurance given to me by Allah that everything is going to be OK. Ramadan serves to heighten that awareness, Alhamdulillah.
Perhaps most importantly, I am also reminded of all the nefarious things I need to weed out from within. I recognise that I have much to correct about myself. Just the other day, I was listening to a lecture where the speaker related that one of the best types of people is he/she who gives themselves in the service of others. It gave me hope. That’s because I know that although I may not have scholarly knowledge about Islam, or have memorised the Quran from cover to cover, or have the ability to save a life through medical skills, at least I can find a niche in life and apply my skills and talent there. Islam recognises that we are all of different abilities and strengths and it draws upon those so beautifully. For myself, helping others, whether it’s with my time, knowledge or money, is the realm where I see I might redeem myself.
If it were honourable kings, political leaders or religious scholars who were the only calibre of people guaranteed success in the hereafter, life would be pretty hopeless for many of us. Alhamdulillah, that is far from the truth. The likes of those who stand a chance of success in the next life are people who have the sincere intention to do and be good. We are all on our own journey, each travelling with our own baggage and at different speeds. What I need to make sure is that I am in the driving seat in my vehicle and not simply riding as a passenger in someone else’s. In a way, being divorced gives me that privilege. I am responsible for finding answers to any questions and that forces me to be an active learner and not a passive student. I have the rationale and tools to make informed choices and best of all, I still have my faith. Alhamdulillah. I already know the road I want to travel and hope it will lead to the ultimate and best destination inshaAllah.