Alhamdulillah, we have completed the first third of the month! It’s hard to believe that the first ten days are already gone. While I have made many strides in improving my own daily habits, I haven’t felt anything really change on the inside yet. InshaAllah, there are still 20 more days, but I’m so afraid of going through this whole month completely unchanged. Ramadan is a month of self-improvement, and while I have changed a lot about what I do during the day, I don’t know if these are habits I will be able to keep up after Ramadan is over. I hope and pray that these next 20 days instill these habits in my routine so that I won’t be able to abandon them once we all start eating again.
Today I watched a really interesting video by a Muslim YouTuber, Amena. I actually discovered her, coincidentally, last Ramadan. She makes a whole range of videos, from Hijab and makeup tutorials to words of wisdom to travel vlogs. SubhanAllah and mashaAllah, she has such a way with words. She isn’t a scholar of Islam, but she is a practicing Muslim and mother, who just has such a beautiful outlook on life and her religion. Her eloquence allows her to put into words things that I always think about, but never knew how to explain properly.
The video I watched today was actually her Ramadan Preparation video that she uploaded a couple of weeks ago, but I only just got around to watching it today. In the video, she gives a really nice introduction of what Ramadan and fasting means in Islam. As I said before, she has a way of saying things so eloquently, mashaAllah, and in this video describes perfectly why I create so many goals for myself during Ramadan.
Every time I complain about how difficult it is to read so much Qur’an or fast or abstain from watching K-pop videos, and you wonder why I’m diligently putting myself through so much struggle, think of Amena’s following words:
“On the surface, everybody can abstain from food and sexual relations. That’s probably the most basic thing that you can do. The second level of fasting is truly fasting; with your eyes to make sure you’re not looking at something that you’re not supposed to be looking at…to fast with your ears, to be aware of what you’re actually listening to, what you’re exposing your ears to; to be fasting with our hands: what are we doing with them during the day….As we’re fasting fully thorough our physical being, that has a direct impact on our spiritual state.” -Amenakin
I encourage everyone to watch her video and really listen to what she has to say. Again, she isn’t a scholar or teacher, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have very useful, practical advice about why Ramadan is so important to us and how to take full advantage of this month.
MashaAllah, she is one of my biggest role models.
I can’t leave you without discussing Muhammad! Many more people are converting to Islam. One of the things that Martin Lings highlights in this book that I just love is how Muhammad’s words affected the people around him. While the leaders of his community challenged him, ridiculed him, demanded miracles from him, and then refused to listen to what he had to say, the other people in the community watched all of this taking place. Every time Muhammad proved that he was speaking words of a Messenger of God, and the leaders of the Quraysh blatantly ignored his signs, the silent onlookers saw Muhammad for who he truly was and made their conversions to Islam. This reminds me a lot of the situation of Islam in America today. There are so many people on the news who very loudly bash Islam and try to twist our religion into something it’s not. It is shocking how opposite the violent portrayals of Islam in the media are from what Islam really is. The only thing that keeps my mind at peace with all of this is that history has a tendency of repeating itself. While the majority of “famous” people in the media may be anti-Islam, the more silent majority will see what actual, real-life Muslims are like, and they will understand that Islam really is the “middle way,” of logic, moderation, and peace.
Before I end this, I have to share this bit of the story that I read. I read the story of Umar’s conversion, one of the leaders of Islam after the death of the Prophet (S), and I just love what he does right after he converts. Some context: before embracing Islam, “Umar was one of the most violent and unrestrained in carrying out [Abu Jahl’s] instructions” (Abu Jahl was one of Islam’s greatest enemies) (Lings 85). After Umar finally decides to abandon the idol-worshiping Quraysh and become a Muslim,
[Umar speaking] “When I entered Islam that night, I thought to myself: Which of the people in Mecca is the most violent in enmity against God’s messenger, that I may go to him and tell him I have become a Muslim? My answer was: Abu Jahl. So the next morning I went and knocked at his door, and Abu Jahl came out and said: ‘The best of welcomes to my sister’s son! What hath brought thee here?’ I answered: ‘I came to tell thee that I believe in God and in His Messenger Muhammad; and I testify to the truth of that which he hath brought.’ ‘God curse thee!’ he said, ‘and may His curse be on the tidings thou hast brought!’ Then he slammed the door in my face”
I mean absolutely no disrespect to Umar or Muhammad (S) or Lings when I say this, but BAM! Take that Abu Jahl! One of his most loyal followers, GONE.
*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*