Ramadan is often a month where food is emphasized… More often than not, I find myself sharing iftar and suhoor with my fellow converts and other Muslim friends. Iftar, even back in my mosque, tends to be a sumptuous banquet, where we tend to forget the self-control part completely.
Yet, this year I think I am going through a “true” Ramadan experience. Despite the difficulties, I find myself getting closer to Allah although in ways I did not imagine.
After finishing a degree where I mainly learned how to analyze (break things in parts), write (pretend I know about the world) and convince people (making people do things they don’t want to do) A.K.A a degree in Arts, I face the reality of being unemployed, school-less and dream-crushed.
Things have not turned the way I planned them. However, it seems to be some sort of a trial. Being in this position has made me much more aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and although I have been in distress, creativity is flowing in my mind.
This year I decided to put all the religious literature on “how to go through Ramadan” aside; not that it is not important or useful for some people, but I find that after being told how I should experience Ramadan I have not been enabled to find a true connection with Allah.
Ramadan came just in time to remind me that despite my community’s emphasis on food (and the lack of it), Ramadan is a month of refection. A time to try and fail, to learn and dis-learn and to get and give away. I have let go of my capitalist needs (i.e. shopping) learning probably more restrain than simply giving away food. I have learned to let go and be flexible; and I have been encouraged to give away the “excess” in my life. I have also grown closer to Allah through prayer… and I do not mean just standing there and doing sujud afterwards… I mean remembrance of Allah and self-awareness of my place in the world. I thank Allah for everything I own and everything that it is not time to experience yet…
Not everything has been easy, I have had moments of despair where I ask, why me?. Sometimes I even get angry or emotional. Nonetheless, I always come back to calmness and to reflection. Now, half way through, the fasting goes on, but I felt I have acquired initiative and creativity. I now feel that things are falling into place, although not necessarily the place I would have assigned.
I am now curious to see what the skills acquired during Ramadan will bring along…
Happy Ramadan! Ramadan Karim! ¡Feliz Ramadán!