As I listen to my neighbors light firework after firework, I have to remind myself that this is a holiday. Yes, they have been lighting fireworks and firecrackers seemingly since Fajr this morning right outside my window, but every time I feel that wave of irritation at the disruptive noise, I have to stop and remember how indescribably fun that was way back when.
In an interview for a project of one of my friends last semester, she asked me what comes to mind when I think of my American identity. My first thought was the Fourth of July. The smell of barbeques emanating from every other house. Red, white, and blue everywhere. Watching the colorful explosions in the sky with my family. Going out for ice cream afterwards. I love these federal holidays because they are the one time that everyone is celebrating. We all may have differences that divide us from all factors in life, but the one thing I have in common with every one of my neighbors in all directions is that today we are all in celebration of America’s declaration as an independent state today. Regardless of your political views or what kind of humanitarian crises are going on in our country, today is the day that commemorates the events that led to our being able to call this land the United States and call ourselves American and for that to mean something.
I have so many fond memories of going to see the fireworks, from being a little kid running around with my sister to being an older kid showing my younger cousins the thrill of the show in the sky. Last year we made last-minute plans to go with my mom and her cousin, but before that, the last time I had gone to watch the fireworks was four years ago. We went with my grandma, who passed away only five months later, which makes that memory extra special to me.
All this talk of fireworks, and I didn’t even go this year. None of my cousins live close enough anymore for us to go together, and I’m not sure why I didn’t push my friends more into going with me. Maybe we’re getting too old? Although I would argue that you’re never too old to feel the wonder of fireworks.
In all honesty, I wasn’t thinking a whole lot about fireworks today. So far this month, today was my hardest fasting day. It got to a point where my hands were shaking and I was just getting antsy waiting to eat. I knew it would happen too. This morning at suhoor I just wasn’t feeling it and ate only one piece of chicken and some water. I knew I would regret it, but at the time I was too tired to care.
For some reason, when it gets to that point where the hunger just gets to me, I find that the only thing that makes me feel better and takes my mind off the hunger is cooking. Ironic, I know, but it works. The moment I started cooking dinner, I felt better. It’s almost as if I am giving my mind the illusion that food is coming, so the hunger doesn’t seem so bad anymore.
*Quote of the Day*
Today’s Sahaba is Abu Dharr al-Ghifari. Fun fact: He was the first person with which the Messenger (S) exchanged salaam, the Islamic greeting. It was actually Abu Dharr who initiated it.
The quote I chose to share shows just how much people like Abu Dharr had their eyes not on this life, but in the Hereafter:
“Once a man visited him and began looking at the contents of his house but found it quite bare. He asked Abu Dharr:
‘Where are your possessions?’
‘We have a house yonder (meaning the Hereafter),’ said Abu Dharr, ‘to which we send the best of our possessions'” (Hamid 131).
I like this. It’s not “We are focusing on the Hereafter;” it’s “We have a house in the Hereafter.” This isn’t the life we should be investing in. It’s the afterlife. In heaven, inshaAllah.
Before I end, I have to explain my picture! So I was reading my Qur’an, and I got to Surat Al-Hud, when I came across this phrase:
I actually had to pause my reading to try to figure out how to properly pronounce it. In Arabic, I finally figured it reads “Umam-mimm-mimamm-ma’aka.” I have an idea of what it might mean, but in fear of spreading false information, I’ll keep my guesses to myself.
Sometimes in the Qur’an you get these tongue-twisters that really force you to slow down and focus on what you’re reading.