One Third of the Way- thats how far we have gotten! Ten days ya’all, good job on hanging in there! Thats the crazy thing about Ramadan, the month seems like its going to be so much but then it comes and goes. We all are left wondering where did the time go, just out the window?
This post is from my buddy Abrahim, who is currently in Mexico City. He went on a little journey there, and you can follow him on his blog American Accents. He advised that this Ramadan you “accept, learn and see the lesson in the failure.” So immerse yourself in your Ramadan experience so you can let Ramadan in and not pretend that you are doing the most with it, rather do make the most of it.
Journeys that involve loosing oneself are the most likely to produce the real self, and I believe that’s what Ramadan needs to be. We- and I am speaking to myself first get caught in the game of wanting to do for others, which is good, but we often times lose ourselves in maintaining a certain life style, or present ourselves as something we are not, or become beholden to societal pressures of what is acceptable, “normal”, proper, socially and culturally reasonable. Shakespeare’s true about the world being one giant stage on which we are all but little actors, the sad part of this whole farce is that we never really play the characters we are inherently able to be. God has given each one of us the ability to be the best we can be, but because we go around chasing these illusions that others around us have mandated, we merely play the back up actors or worse some people are the rocks and trees and shrubs!
If we truly want to be that person that we have been given the capacity to be, then we must loose ourselves in inner reflection. Question why you are who you are. Question what are the good traits and bad traits you have. Question whether you are living to your potential or not. Loose yourself in your inner reflections. Reflect on why you feel the way you do, why you act the way you do, why you don’t feel or act the way you think you should. I mean if you get upset at something and that reaction then infects the rest of your day and the way you interact with other people, then you should work on addressing the way you react to unpleasant things and also how to discuss that first reaction. People try to change other people because its easier to try to change other people, the alternate, to change yourself, is much harder and more painful.
I always remember this story of how a Muslim scholar set out to change the world, when it wouldnt change he looked around and decided he would change his country. When he couldn’t change his country for the better, he looked around and decided to change his region. When that failed, he decided to work on his city and to change his city. Sadly that didnt work to well so he decided to focus on his neighborhood, but that failed. Finally he gave up and focused on changing himself to be a better person. His change inspired his family to be better people. Then those around his family were inspired to become better. Then the neighborhood was focused on being better Muslims. You get the picture, at the end the person focused on bettering themselves has a greater impact on society, you are the person you have control over most.
Before closing, I want to say this, because you focus on yourself, shouldn’t mean that you lose sight on whats going on around you. We as humans will never be perfect. We were not designed to be. The Quran tells us that Allah told the Prophet SAW that he was to tell others that he is only human. God admonishes the Prophet SAW in the Quran for his mistakes. Perfection is a state of being we should strive for, but not get lost in. We need to balance our self-reflection and betterment with our responsibilities around us- family, work, friends, community, volunteer work.