The Spirit of Ramadan


A collage of some images in my gallery

Published today in Gulf News:

I can’t believe that we are halfway through Ramadan. Before the month of fasting began, I have to admit that I was a bit worried — what with the searing heat of Dubai and no food or drink for 15 hours! Then Ramadan began, and I was surprised when things began to feel relatively comfortable after the first few days.

As time passes it gets easier to ignore that big bottle of cold water every time you open the fridge, and it becomes less agonising to feed your little ones, who insist on eating chilled mangoes every few hours.

One thing, however, still remains difficult. Fasting was prescribed on us so that we may become better people, so that we become God-fearing individuals who improve upon their personalities in an important and spiritual way. Yes, our tummies are supposed to get a break too — but most of us tend to over-compensate at iftar when we come face to face with deep-fried golden brown samosas and their co-conspirators. However, the part about achieving a better spiritual state is the most challenging.

We abstain from giving in to our physical desires yet our hearts are just as burdened with ill-feeling as they were before. We still remember that high-school grudge, the friend who wronged or embarrassed us and the co-worker who always takes all the credit in front of the boss.

Dealing with envy

We all but seethe at the mention of certain specimens of mankind and yes — we eye yet others with that very debilitating thing called envy. Our hearts are still mired deep in resentment and we hold on to the mistakes of others and vow never to forgive them or forget what they did to us. We act as vitriol for own ill-feeling, and whether or not we consume food hardly matters.

When we introspect, we refuse to forgive our own selves too. Our hearts are hard, not just for the world but for our own selves. The bitterness overwhelms any positivity that the holy month brings — simply because we have become too accustomed to living life with a lot of unnecessary baggage.

As this month draws towards its end I hope to shed all that excess baggage, once and for all. I am not only referring to the excesses that reside peacefully around the waistline (someone hide the samosas at iftar!) but also to all the negativity that has all but become a part of me.

I want to let go of all those unpleasant memories that I subconsciously kindle inside my heart. It is to let go of that burning feeling of revenge I get every time I think of certain things — to forget about what so-and-so said behind my back or how I felt when such-and-such thing happened. Clean slate. I mean it.

In many ways this month is a celebration for Muslims around the world because the Quran was first revealed in this month. And what better way to celebrate than bring about a significant and much-needed positive change within my own mental make-up?

I already feel a lot lighter, and this has nothing to do with the bathroom scales which, it has to be said, remain as obstinate as ever.


21 thoughts on “The Spirit of Ramadan

  1. The “clean slate” captured my heart, literally! I’m already fantasizing about making mine one…It’s not easy, but not difficult either, provided we give it our best, bi idhnillah!.
    May Allah, the Most Merciful guide us in all our affairs and make us from those who He is pleased with. Ameeen

  2. Subhanallah – are you reading into my soul? Haha. I swear I have been thinking about everything you have mentioned constantly. All the resentment I feel towards certain people…everything. It is weighing me down and I really thought I had resolved those issues…but am realizing much of it is still there. May Allah (swt) cleanse our hearts of all its impurities. Ameen.

  3. “We all but seethe at the mention of certain specimens of mankind”..yes..true..very true..I’m trying..its not easy but I’m trying inshaAllah…
    a wonderful reminder this article is..mashaAllah!! ❤

  4. What a lovely blog about your own thoughts on Ramadan. My husband and I had the fortune of living in Muslim countries and we used to fast along with others. It was a good experience for the soul.

  5. ASA,
    “When we introspect, we refuse to forgive our own selves too. Our hearts are hard, not just for the world but for our own selves” May Allah forgive us and make it easy for us to forgive ourselves……Love & duas for you in your efforts this Ramadan.

  6. Very nicely written. It’s funny, sometimes you can think you’ve forgiven someone for something but then some time down the line it rears its head again and you find you’re still harbouring some resentment. Starting with a clean slate is hard to do but well worth the effort to find peace and forgiveness once and for all.

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