Subhanallah. Let’s just start with that. Glory be to God. The One who is able to make us perceive nothing, and then perceive everything.
One of the things that I was nervous about leading up to this month was not just giving up the “distractions.” The question that had been rattling around my brain all of last week was, “What am I going to do with myself all day?” How would I keep from being bored? I spend so much of my day – much more than I would like to admit – doing completely pointless things online. In giving that up during Ramadan, what in the world would I be interested in enough to replace that time?
Here comes my subhanallah. Today, it felt like I had found a plethora of things to do. So many forgotten projects. So many activities that I can do that do not require a computer.
Seriously, bless my parents. My God grant them peace, happiness, and ease in this life and the next for fostering my creativity when I was young and allowing me to explore and find hobbies. I remember when I was around 10 or 12, in that age when you’re getting too old to just play, but too young to be interested in anything besides playing, and I went to my parents, in distress at being at this age where I was always so bored. In response to this, my parents didn’t just tell me to “get a hobby.” They asked me questions and got me thinking about my interests, and then gave me the means to explore these interests. When I said I liked writing, they got me colorful pens and a notebook. When I expressed an interest in video-editing, they got me an editing software. When I started having a strange obsession with white tigers, they got me a sewing project that creates an image of a tiger.
Because of that, I can now sit in my room with countless resources to occupy my time. Reading, starting up a latch-hook project from years ago, writing a novel who knows will ever be published.
I found so many moments today when I was at total peace, not having any music or noise to clog up my mind, aside from the subtle sounds of the wind rushing past my window and my neighbors playing in their sprinkler.
Have you ever heard joy?
Back in my room, I suddenly see so many possibilities of things I could do. I glanced at the time and realized that I actually don’t want today to end. I want more time to write and read and explore all of the stuff that I have stored in my room from when I was a kid.
Of course, then the thought charges back in my mind that I’m not a kid anymore. Yes, there are plenty of things that I want to do, but I also have an annoyingly long list of things I have to do. Update my resume. Apply to internships. Figure out if I should get replacement glasses, or contacts, or both.
Here is where I get stuck between being an adult and being a kid. How do I balance the things that I want to do, that are perfectly harmless, and the things that I have to do.
And then what about ibadah? Worship? Do I put everything on hold this month to just focus on worship? Or is this a third set of things to add to the balance?
Alamdulillah, God made this religion with so many options of ways to worship him. Saying dhikr while I do my latch hook. Learning about the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his companions in my books. In one of my pre-Ramadan lectures, the speaker said that any halal action can be turned into an act of worship. You just have to adjust your intention.
And of course, there is the reward of #TheStruggle. I am already seeing teasers popping up for new albums and music videos of some of my favorite – and I mean favorite – artists. But I said I would give it up for Him. I wouldn’t let my love of media distract me from real worship during such a precious month.
May Allah grant me and all of you strength through every sacrifice we make for Him this month. May He keep our intentions pure. May He reward us for our efforts. Ameen.
*Quote of the Day*
Two years ago, I spend Ramadan reading a translation of the Qur’an. Last year I read a biography of Prophet Muhammad (S). This year I’ve decided to read a book on various companions on the Prophet. The book is one my mom suggested to me, Companions of the Prophet by Abdul Wahid Hamid. Quite perfectly, there are 30 chapters, each detailing the life of one Sahaba (companion). Ironically, none of my favorite ones are in here, Abu Bakr, Khadija, Ruqayya, Uthman, but there are plenty of names that are unfamiliar to me so this will definitely be a learning experience. Who knows? One of these new names may end up being a new favorite sahaba.
Today I read about Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr. It looks like he is most notably Muhammad’s (S) first ambassador of Islam, who was sent to teach Islam to the people of Yathrib (soon to be renamed as Medina). He dies in the Battle of Uhud, as he is protecting the Prophet, and his final words are pretty remarkable.
“Mus’ab was heard to repeat the words: ‘Muhammad is only a Messenger. Messengers have passed away before him,’ showing that however great his attachment was to the Prophet himself, his struggle above all was for the sake of God and for making His word supreme… The words he repeated, every time he was struck were later revealed to the Prophet and completed, and became part of the Qur’an” (Hamid 12).