Alhamdulillah, Ramadan is upon us once again.
I sit here now, reflecting on my previous two Ramadans, and pondering about the one which I am about to face, insha’Allah. My goals have become more personal as compared to my first Ramadan, where I expected myself to “read the Quran from back to back”, and where I fondly remember myself repeatedly listening to (and first loving) Surah Al-Qadr during the night where I first heard to be the night of Lailatul Qadr. I bought dates, and made myself drink water first instead of immediately digging into my iftar, because I had learnt that it was sunnah. I joined Tarawih at the mosque just opposite my house (what a blessing, alhamdulillah!), mostly alone, and I got confused because I couldn’t count properly and thought we ended Tarawih with 13 raka’ats. I didn’t understand what people were reciting in between, and at the end, I was really quite frustrated.
But I digress. For this Ramadan, my goals have become strikingly clear to include some very personal ones, because even though there is still the outward deeds of fasting and prayer, it should also affect inwards. And as these goals are very personal, I was wondering whether I should even write it here. I decided to, in the end, because it is my way of admitting my faults and moving on to seek His Mercy and Help to overcome them in my journey to be closer to Him. So here goes (deep breath).
I don’t know when my heart started becoming dull. I could find an excuse for it, but you know that when your heart gets dull, you start getting distracted from your own flaws and focus on other people’s. I got distracted by other people’s private lives (which, unfortunately in this era, is unrelentlessly displayed for all the world to see in social media). I got distracted with my relationships with people and they did not meet up to my warped expectations of how I wanted our relationships to be. I got distracted with other people’s behavior, and how they weren’t behaving the way my high and mighty self expected them to behave.
Now, please replace the word ‘distracted’ with ‘envious’, ‘critical’, and ‘judgemental’. It probably sounds far worse than what you’ve read a few seconds ago. And it represents my fear- that for now, this distraction may only be just little thoughts planted like little seeds my head, but these may eventually consume me and end up reflecting in my behavior, my character, my speech.
As any Muslim would know, Ramadan isn’t just all about fasting. It is about controlling our physical and emotional urges. This Ramadan, with Allah’s Help, one of my goals will be to fast my mind and weed out the seeds of impure thoughts from even surfacing toward the people around me, be it my friends or strangers whom I barely know. It’s so easy to judge someone, to complain, to think negatively and be critical of the things around us. But how difficult it is to judge ourselves, to focus on reworking our own flaws!
May this Ramadan be a time of reflection for us, to begin transforming our own hearts to match our outward deeds, insha’Allah. Amin.