Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Many people consider Ramadan to be a time of togetherness - of having communal suhoor and iftaar, of praying taraweeh in Jamaa'ah, of family traditions and the excitement that pulls you through each day.
But for some of us - even born Muslims - Ramadan is a time where our solitude is more pronounced than ever.
The true nature of fasting is such that it is a deed that we do that no one else can truly know about except our Lord - not just whether we are abstaining from food and drink, but how well we are struggling with our inner selves.
Anger, resentment, frustration, heartache... in the absence of the distractions of food and socialised rituals surrounding it, our baser selves emerge at the forefront in all their uncomfortable, unpleasant glory.
Ramadan is a time of taking ownership of who we really are, of admitting our own faults, of confronting ourselves, of being forced to stop deflecting blame onto others.
Ramadan is a time when only we know how well we have made it through the day - or not. In the moments between sajdas and suhoors, between the physical humbling of our bodies and the rituals of worship, we alone know if our hearts are any softer, any purer, any more penitent.
We are not all saints and spiritual paragons. Most of us are painfully human, stumbling over ourselves, clinging with bloodied, tear-stained fingertips to the knowledge that every time we fall - once, twice, ten times a day - alLateef, alWadud, arRahmaan, alGhaffaar is there to catch us, to love us, to have mercy on us, to forgive us.
We who are so very alone, whether in the midst of bustling households or the silence of our own company, are never truly abandoned, though it may feel that way.
{The one who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And the one who comes with vice, their reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive them. The one who draws close to Me a hand's span, I will draw close to them an arm's length. And whoever draws near Me an arm's length, I will draw near them a fathom's length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to them running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet them with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided they do not worship something with Me.}

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