What I’ve Finally Learned From Ramadhan:

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Ramadhan of 1437/2016 will always be the year I’ve come to terms with what this month really stands for. To many Muslims, it’s a way to get closer to the proximity of Allah’s Mercy, for Others it’s a reason to fraternize with fellow Muslims in ways that’s not necessarily available at other times of the year, for some it’s an excuse to attempt to get in shape/lose weight, for some it’s the ideal situation to indulge in some Free-Food at various Mosques. But, for me personally, I’ve forced myself to search more indepthly, just to see what can be found within this month.

What I’ve come to realize is that Ramadhan for so many of us is to attempt to be a “Super-Muslim”…only during the Month of Ramadhan, and/or only during the last 9/10 Days of Ramadhan, in the hopes of catching what’s known as Laylat-al-Qadr/the Night of Decree, in which the reward for it is similar to worshipping Allah for 83 years.(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.97, V.3) For so many Muslims, we wait for this time of year to pretend to be “Super-Pious”: praying, giving Charity, being nice, etc., more than in other times of the year. However, many of us have this all wrong. My personal-assessment is that Ramadhan serves exclusively as a period of Spiritual-Purging. I liken this month to the etymology of the Arabic-Noun Fitnah…the word Fitnah, meaning “Problem”, “Conflict”, “Drama”, “Trial/Tribulation”, etc., comes from Gold/Silver Smithing.(Lisan-ul-`Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language) Because Gold & Silver is from deep beneath the Earth and/or embedded within Mountains: oftentimes these metals themselves are meshed which earthly materials, which diminish their value.

So, then what’s to be done about it? The Gold/Silver must be melted down, and then be forged into a purer substance. But, to do that, these metals need to be placed under extreme temperatures, thousands of degrees, in order to melt them, so that the turbid materials attached to these metals can be sifted away. And, this is exactly what Ramadhan is to me, a way to sift through all of our turbidity, so that we can be forged into purer types of People. We must allow ourselves to be placed into the heat of Hunger, Thirst, denial of our natural inclinations towards: Sexual-Intercourse, Anger, Revenge, Violence, etc. & all other things which naturally make us…well, Humans. The entire purpose for us to be Spiritually-Smithed is so that we can truly be worthy of the Favor of Allah, which is His Mercy, Guidance, via us acquiring Piety (holding ourselves accountable to refrain from all that Allah has made temporarily Mahrum/Prohibited, as well as things which Allah has made Mahrum at all times).(Noble-Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.183)

For some/many, you’ve probably already come to this conclusion, without me even having to write this. But, I’ve deemed it necessary, because it’s something that I’ve come to the realization of, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who hasn’t truly gotten the point of what Ramadhan truly stands for. Ramadhan, by its nature, isn’t for us to get things right all in one month, because that’s not even realistic. Rather, it’s a time to really dig through one’s self, to reflect upon what makes you work vs. what makes you halt…what makes you strong vs. what makes you weak…what makes you resist vs. what makes you sin, etc. I now have a greater understanding of who I am, as a Muslim, as just simply a Human-Being.

Everyday is like a fierce Internal-Fight: a perfect mixture or even an imbalance of spiritual victories & defeats-Resisting what just naturally comes to you, what automatically feels good and feels right, and struggling to rise above all of that to be someone greater, someone higher. It’s about sacrificing what you think & feel is for you, in order to please you, and really trying your best to replace that mindset with doing what’s expected of you from Allah, in order to please Him. Since arriving at this particular epiphany, in my journey as a Muslim, I’ve attained a better sense of how I am to improve and what I allow myself to still fall victim to. I’ve truly honed in on remaining more conscious of what drives me more towards Obedience vs. Disobedience to Allah. This is what I’ve been allowed to learn during Ramadhan, through the Mercy of Allah.

Gareth Bryant/2016

 

4 responses »

  1. Wonderful reflections – masha-Allah. For me, it was never about packing in as much as you can – it’s about quality. And some may find it odd that, for me, I don’t consider taraweeh an essential – meaning that I don’t force myself to go every night. For me, way back when I was alone, I valued that *time* of the Ramadaan nights – to do whatever I needed to for spiritual elevation. And many times it wasn’t taraweeh – but rather being alone, in reflection, writing, making dua, reading seerah…whatever I felt I needed.

    Sadly, those days of reflection in Ramadaan are long gone, and I barely make time for it anymore – given the fullness of life’s responsibilities now that I’m older. But I think that’s where i’tikaaf comes in…it’s something I sense I’m going to be doing at some point in future….at least, I hope….

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