By Shazia Ahmad
Every person in this world has a life that’s an epic story, full of joys and sadnesses, challenges and opportunities, and ‘defining moments’; moments in which a person comes to a realization, a deep awareness about themselves, and decides to change something inside. Such moments are when a person makes an intense resolve from their heart; they make a commitment, an oath to themselves, and ‘turn a new leaf’, and their life becomes very different than it was before, by God’s leave. How can apply this on on Ramadan?
We find that Allah, the Most High, gives us ample opportunities in our lives for these moments – these chances to turn to a fresh page and a fresh start. Ramadan is one of them, and perhaps even the best of them.
It is a time for us to sit with our own selves and ask, ‘How long will you be happy with dry eyes and heart-less prayers? Why – when you think about reading the Qur’an – is the cover of that Book so heavy, as if it’s cover weighs a thousand pounds or more? How long will you keep convincing yourself that the sins you commit have no effect and don’t touch your heart, when it’s been so long since you’ve felt His Nearness?”
Ramadan is here, brothers and sisters, and it’s telling us: make this your defining moment. Isn’t it time? Hasn’t Allah, the Exalted, said: “Has not the time come for the hearts of the believers to submit and humble themselves?”. (Al-Hadid 57:16)
Make this the month that we come back to Allah, no matter how far we’ve gone, and how distant we are from His company and nearness. A poet said, ‘Come wanderer, O lover of leaving… Ours is not a caravan of despair’.
No matter how far we are from Him, and how long we’ve been away, know that Allah giving us life to witness this Ramadan is a sign that He has left the door open for us to turn back to Him. Your sins are great, and mistakes and weaknesses are many, you may say, but His mercy, compassion and loving grace to His servants are far greater and far more vast. Ours is not a caravan of despair, or of giving up; ours is a caravan of loving mercy and continuously turning back to Him.
This is the month in which we can strive to overcome the weights our nafs (human self) put down on us, that make going to the masjid so heavy and difficult, that make opening the Qur’an and reading it an impossible task, that make prayer so burdensome.
This is the month in which we can bring life to these acts, and in which Allah facilitates and makes them easy for us to help us taste their sweetness.
A poet said, in a loving welcome of Ramadan,
Peace be upon you,
O month of fasting
Month of night vigil
Month of Qur’an
Month of forgiveness
Month of security
Month of glowing lanterns
Month of sleepless eyes
Month of scented pulpits
Month of burning hearts
We welcome you O blessed month, month of opportunity, redemption and hope.
May you be the means for our lives to change, our faith to be rekindled and our hearts illumined in His nearness. Ameen.