About Me

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A post Ramadan and Eid Reflection

I meant to post this earlier.
Ramadan has been shifting towards the middle of the summer over the years and this year it fell in the month of August, a time when the heat is the most intense and the days long. I was very optimistic and welcoming to the month, I really needed the benefits and blessings of the month. My soul was starving for the spiritual nourishment the month provides to all those that desire it. As the month started I felt a change in the air and in myself, something I have not felt in the past years. Muslims believe that in this month the Shaytan is banished and any wrong doing on our part is our own short comings. I really felt that this year as I felt a lightness and clarity enter my heart and mind right at the beginning of the month. I once read somewhere that those people whose fast during Ramadan consists only of going hungry and thirsty have wasted that month and get nothing out of it except hunger and thirst. I wanted to make the most of the month and get the full blessings and spiritual awareness and closeness to God that the month provides. The month of Ramadan is a gift and blessing from our Lord to us humans, to satisfy and fill the hunger and thirst of our soul and spirit. When we withhold food and water from our mouths and stomach we provide nourishment to our starving souls. The month of Ramadan is not about just going hungry, it is about providing spiritual nourishment to a soul that has been starved for the past 11 months. I made a goal to read the Qur'an after every prayer so that way I can finish one part each day, while I did not finish all of it, I finished 2/3 of it and the habitual reading provided a calmness and focus that I had been lacking throughout the year. As the days of the month passed by I was saddened that it was going by so fast since the routine of fasting and praying and reading Qur'an was providing me with a calm and patience that I had been yearning for. Things that would normally provide me stress or impatience didn't bother me.
One aspect of this Ramadan that was different from last year was that I did not attend the masjid for taraweeh prayers this year even though I was very close to the masjid and could have easily gone. I usually find the masjid, the women's section that is, to be too loud and distracting and I don't feel a part of the congregation. I find my prayers to be interrupted by the constant chattering of women and crying babies. This year I decided to stay home and pray privately in my own space. I would have to say that it was the best and meaningful prayer for me. I had more time and focus to read the Qur'an.

One of the highlights of the Ramadan was a qiyam program in the first week with a wonderful scholar and speaker, Usama Canon. I was on a high, sitting in a packed masjid late into the night listening to up lifting words.

Despite the long and hot days of fasting I found this Ramadan the best one in a really long time. The hunger and thirst barely bothered me, I was more concerned with feeding my spirit than what went inside my stomach.
While I was not looking forward to the end of the month, Eid was celebrated in a small toned down manner. I spent the Eid holidays in a small town in Alabama, praying the Eid prayers in a congregation, 1/4 the size of the normal Friday congregation in my regular mosque. The smallness of the community brought out the generosity and closeness that should be an exemplar of the holiday.

I definitely got a bad case of the post Ramadan and holiday blues but now reflecting on my experience and the lessons I learned in the past month reminds me what I should hold onto until next year when I can strive to better myself even more! Inshallah.

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