In recent weeks, months and dare I say years, I have reiterated privately and publicly about how I feel Allah has shown me an alternative version of happiness. Perhaps ‘happiness’ isn’t even the right word. Perhaps I should say, ‘contentment’. Because happiness implies a constant state of feeling positive and the reality is, nobody can sustain that feeling for too long, no matter what there is to celebrate. Contentment, on the other hand, is to look deeper and to accept and understand the workings and wisdom of Allah through the thick and thin of life. Whilst the state of euphoria may elude us from time to time, at least even when the chips are down, we understand the situation is one that needs our patience and so we live in hope for better things to come.
That’s how I have been training myself: to be unruffled by turbulent times such as the cost of living crisis that everyone has been contending with lately. I tell myself to stand back and remember that I just need to get through one day at a time. I’ve seen so many people pass away without any warning to know it’s not worth planning too much in advance. It’s not a defeatist attitude but a realistic one towards life – or death.
So how does this all come together in Ramadan?
Actually, this blessed month is one which further helps to peel back all the unnecessary layers of life and return to the bare minimum (which is where we should be anyway). Divesting myself of ego, wordly appetites and fruitless pursuits is where I want to be at any time of year. So Ramadan is, in effect, the precursor of the lifestyle I wish to aspire to above and beyond when this month is over. But for me too, Alhamdulillah, anticipating its arrival is something I feel is a natural progression as I strive to be a better person throughout the year. I am not feigning greatness; I am as fallible as the next person and I know I have a lot to improve within myself. However, the last few years have definitely taught me to let go of the duniya (world) a bit more. I am content simply to be alive and well and to have a roof over my head. Anything beyond those things I see as a real luxury and whilst I’m not averse to a few indulgences, I am also well aware that I’m already very fortunate Alhamdulillah. The wealth I have is intangible and invisible to others.
Over six years ago, I was dealt with a rude awakening and my life changed beyond my wildest imagination. The reverberations have been echoing ever since but most of them have been positive, Alhamdulillah because I refuse to let them be anything else. The light will always overcome the darkness. And so Ramadan is, for me, a reaffirmation that good times will supercede difficult times and blessings are abound if we care to look for them.
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