In a world full of chaos and noise, we forget to take time to self-reflect and instead continue our lives like robots. We have our careers, family and friends with some time to indulge in our social life as well but we never really sit down to focus on what is going on with ourselves. Ramadan to me means a lot of things besides serving God and spiritually connecting with him on a different level. This month gives me time out of my busy schedule to reflect on the love, people, and my surroundings. It is the month I take to appreciate all that this world has to offer as well as using it as my clean, blank slate.
One of the biggest things about Ramadan is fasting to understand the difficulties people who are not as fortunate as me have to suffer every day. How can I complain about my grumbling stomach and parched throat while I’m sitting comfortably in my air conditioned mid-rise in an affluent part of Houston when there are Syrian children fasting through the fear that they may not even see the end of day? It pulls me back to realize all that I am so blessed with which not only includes food, the roof over my head, my material belongings but those I dearly love in my life. My family who only lives 15-20 minutes away from me and my friends who have been my support system through it all and continue to love and help me sail through the rough waters. I’m not sure how I got so lucky but I will make sure to thank God a little more this month for all his blessings.
Another thing I start to think about during Ramadan is all this time I have to spend and how I’d like to start contributing towards people who need it. It is the month I feel compelled more than ever to donate and volunteer to those who need it more than me. I can spend an hour watching a tv show or I can give that time to a local organization to help the less fortunate.
Ramadan to me is how I repent for all my sins. I know you’re probably laughing but we all sin in different ways and this is month is how I ask for forgiveness as well as forgiving those who have wronged me. This month is my blank slate to God, to myself and to my life. I like to reflect on who I am, who I’d like to be and how I can better myself. I’m not even talking about in religious terms but as a person because at the end of the day that is the foundation of it all. How can you follow rules, regulations and any religious practices regardless of who you pray to if your heart and soul are as black as coal? I use this month as a journey for myself to heal, to mend and to become a better me with the help of God.
Approximately 1.6 billion Muslims around the world exercise their religious duties by taking part in the holy month but I’d like to think that our spiritual goals and journey are different. My goals and journey for this month may not be the same as the person sitting next to me and that is something we all have to respect and love. I find it highly disrespectful when other Muslim’s pick on others by calling them “part time believers” or judging them for their choices. That is not what this month is about. It is not how you think your fast is more accepted than someone who leads a different life than yours. It discourages people from fasting even if they just fast a couple of days out of the month because what if this was the Ramadan that they turned their life around but it didn’t happen because of your nasty remarks? What if this was the last Ramadan they will ever see but they didn’t repent because you wanted to make fun of them for attempting to better themselves? With your fasting, prayers and charity don’t forget that we are to encourage others and their spiritual journey. Our path to God and how we serve him differs on each person and if we are to unify we need to start being more understanding of that. We all come from different walks of life and have different experiences so you never really know what someone is going through.
Ramadan to me is about my journey to better myself, reflection, healing, repentance and to spiritually come closer to my creator. I hope your journey is as successful as I hope mine will be.
Ramadan Mubarak from my loved ones and I to yours.