Long time no see, eh? Last time we met, we had just completed the first ten days of Ramadan, and now we’re already nearing the halfway point. I figured that Ramadan would go by a lot faster this year due to my schedule being busier, but I’m surprised just how much that expectation is turning into reality. My family is already starting to figure out our Eid plans.
I didn’t intend to skip days when I started the Ramadan Log this year, but I came to a realization a couple of days ago. It was starting to get to the point where I was sacrificing sleep or extra praying just so that I would be able to make my post for the night, and that isn’t right. I write these for you all to enjoy and for people to see a day to day example of what Ramadan can be like for an actual Muslim, but none of that is more important than my own spiritual and physical health. (No offense 😉 ) So from here on out, I still plan to post every night, but if it gets to be too late or I’m being pulled to do something else, I may skip a night of blogging. Priorities, right?
Even if I didn’t have time to blog, I had a really nice day yesterday. I spent the majority of the day with one of my best friends, one whom I hadn’t seen in weeks. We spent a large portion of the day making tasbeehs together. For the past few years I have made tasbeehs during Ramadan as a contribution to care packages that a friend of mine collects for donation to Muslim families in need. Usually my tasbeeh-making sessions are done in solitude, and I often enjoy the quietness and relaxation that comes with it. However, it was a very nice change to have company this year. It was an easy and productive way to bond with my friend, and we ended up getting the tasbeehs done much faster than I had expected.
In the evening my family and I attended an iftar at my future graduate school. It was nice to be on the campus and meet new people, many of whom I hope to stay connected with once I am a student there as well. After iftar we heard some words from a speaker which sparked two unexpectedly strong emotions in me:
One. I miss Ramadan lectures. Last year, I feel like I was attending a lecture three times a week. I realized with disappointment that last night had been the first lecture I attended this entire month, and the month is nearly half over. A huge part of my Ramadan experience is spiritual revival and taking in new knowledge, and that is something I have been sorely lacking this year. The weekly programs that I used to attend in previous years have since been cancelled, and the other programs that I know about take place too far for me to regularly drive to. I hope I can figure something out while I still have a significant portion of the month left because my mind is so hungry for more words of wisdom. I know there are online videos galore, but it isn’t the same as hearing a speech in person.
Second. As I was sitting in a room on my future campus, listening to a speaker talk about how we are all honored and blessed by God to be his khalifas on this earth, I was overcome with such a sense of gratitude. I am Muslim, American, pretty well-off compared to others, which are already blessings in and of themselves, but inshaAllah I will also be graduating from my dream program at my dream school in just a few years. I won’t go into the details of my journey to this grad program, as I already did so in one of my April posts, but I need to share again just how much this means to me. I was reminded last night how incredibly grateful I am to have been accepted into this program. Not many people get what they want, and I personally know a few people who had been hoping for acceptance to this school who didn’t get it, and I am forever grateful for it and humbled by the fact that the admissions team chose me. I hope this doesn’t come off as boastful, because this isn’t about me. Getting into this program wasn’t me. It was all Him, and I pray that I never lose sight of that, of just how gracious God can be and how undeserving we are of his love and blessings.
Every Ramadan has a different feel based on what I read. A couple years ago, I bonded with the Prophet (S) in a way I didn’t think was possible through reading his biography. This year, through reading the 99 names, I have become so in awe of God. Today I read about the name “Al-Khabir,” and this name alone gives me this yearning to be closer to God. The author describes this name as the following:
“He is the one who is aware of the hidden inner occurrences in everything. He is the one whose cognizance reaches the deepest, darkest, hidden corners of His kingdom, where neither human intelligence not His angels can penetrate. Everywhere in the universe, an infinite number of things are happening, some universal, some minute, above and under, inside and outside each other. He is aware of all these from their very beginning until their end, with infinite detail. Occurrences which are not yet actualized, but in a state of formation or being planned and hidden, like secrets within secrets, are manifest to Him.”
If the universe is a novel, God is the writer. As someone who aspires to be a writer, that alone almost brings me to tears. There are all of these subplots and connections and background stories that make up our reality, and God not only is aware of it all, but he is orchestrating it. That idea is more incredible than words can describe. If I inshaAllah by the will of God make it to Heaven, and I am able to ask Allah my questions, I would love to see just a glimpse of what was really happening while we were all living our self-absorbed lives on this earth. May we all be forgiven and granted the opportunity to be in the presence of God in Heaven. Ameen.