Gosh, with every new day, I can feel Ramadan getting closer and closer to the end! There are only eight, maybe even seven days left! I am super excited for Eid, and of course looking forward to the relief from the constant diligence of fasting and being on super-Muslim mode, but at the same time I’m kind of sad. I almost don’t want everything to go back to “normal.”
Why can’t we keep up these super-Muslim habits after Ramadan, you ask? Last year, at one of the lectures I attended, the scholar actually gave a very real answer to this question. Ramadan is a month specifically for being on super-Muslim mode. We are encouraged to go above and beyond in ibadah (worship of God) and good habits. We are expected to take on an extremely spiritual and moral style of living to take advantage of the multiplied reward given to us this month as well as raise the bar for ourselves. It’s impossible to be “Super-Muslim” constantly, so we are given Ramadan as the single month to really push ourselves. Once we get to that relief at the end of the month, the “normal-Muslim” way of living we were at before Ramadan should feel too easy in comparison, thus we can slowly add on one new good habit after another that we gained from Ramadan without being too overwhelmed by doing it all at once permanently.
In the class I attended today, we talked about fasting in a really interesting way that I never before considered. During Ramadan, we are free from food, and we are also free from Shaytan (Satan). In addition to that, I try to make myself free from TV entertainment and music. One of the blessings of these kinds of fasts, and one of the reasons why Muslims get on this spiritual “high” during Ramadan is because without all of these distractions, we are able to see the world and our lives for what they really are. We are able to look ahead, past lunch or the next TV show or the next concert, and see what our real priorities are in life, as well as our afterlife. Our teacher also added that these fasts aren’t meant to make us completely detached from the material world, but it is for us to be able to appreciate the world for how it really is.
This got me thinking to all of the times that I feel the closest to God, my religion, and myself: Ramadan, when I fast from food and entertainment. Camping, when I’m away from electronics. I know that people feel this on Hajj, when they are away from their homes and going through rituals that involve walking long distances and being physically close to the raw earth.
Now that we’re in an age when we have infinite distractions constantly at our fingertips, it feels like we need cleansing times like Ramadan and Hajj more than ever. Even weekend retreats during the other parts of the year are helpful, and frankly, really needed.
I finally found a happy quote for today from Muhammad. I have heard this story before (just within the last year actually), but I loved it the first time I heard it and reading it today was such a treat. It is a short story about Prophet Muhammad (S) and his wife, A’isha. While they were on some kind of expedition (I’m not totally clear on why or where), A’isha lost a necklace that was given to her by her mom on her wedding day. Even though they were with a long caravan, the Prophet (S) had everyone hold up so that A’isha could find her necklace. At their next camp, A’isha and the Prophet (S) decided to have a playful race together.
“‘I girded up my robe about me,’ she said, ‘and the Prophet did likewise. Then we raced, and he won the race. “This is for that other race,” he said, “which thou didst win from me.”‘ He was referring to an incident which had taken place in Mecca, before the Hijrah. `A’isha added, by way of explanation: ‘He had come to my father’s house and I had something in my hand and he said: “Bring it to me,” and I would not, and ran away from him, and he ran after me, but I was too quick for him'”
I love hearing stories of the Prophet (S) with his wives. They never tell these stories in Islamic schools, and I will never understand why. Everyone always says to love the Prophet Muhammad (S), but it’s stories like these that really do make me love him. It is so sweet how much he cared for A’isha. She was much younger than him, and even though he was older, he still made sure to take care of her and let her have fun.
I know I said I would post two quotes today, but this one is nice by itself. I think we could all use some simple positivity right now. 🙂
*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*
May God bless everyone who cooks for others during Ramadan. It always feels good for me to be able to prepare food for those who are fasting, and likewise, I am always so thankful for those who provide food for me. Jazakallahu Khayr. May God reward you.