Each of us has a friend who reminds us of the who we are, who we should be, who we are striving to be. It is a friend who forces us, gently but firmly, to re-examine our lives and our preoccupations, who asks us to look deep within ourselves to the very essence of our being, the very purpose of our existence. It is the best of friends: wise, compassionate, inspiring and joyful.
This friend is Ramadhan.
The fact that Ramadhan comes every year, like clockwork, is a mercy, a mercy from Allah SWT. Just as we need an alarm clock to wake us up for Fajr, so we need a Ramadhan to wake us up to the reality of our lives. If we are steeped in forgetfulness and sin, Ramadhan will wake us from our spiritual and moral sleep. If we are far away from the book of Allah SWT and knowledge of the deen, Ramadhan will wake us from our complacency. If we are overwhelmed by the many distractions and petty upheavals of life, if our hearts are hard, if our tongues are stiff and dry due to lack of remembrance, Ramadhan will wake us to our ultimate purpose. If we have fallen short of the standard that our Lord has set for us, Ramadhan will wake us to the wonderful potential for growth and change that lies within each one of us.
And you know what the most beautiful thing is? One of the miracles of the month of Ramadhan is that so many of us actually listen to the wake-up call. During the month of Ramadhan, with mercy and rewards all around us, we take stock of ourselves, we search our souls, we vow to be better, to do better. We picture the person we want to be, as Muslims, as women, as wives, mothers, friends, colleagues, and we strive towards that. And that is a beautiful and precious thing.
For me, as for many others, the month of Ramadhan is a haven. Despite the inevitable difficulties and trials, Ramadhan brings with it a sense of peace, of rootedness, a reminder of the true state of our lives: that we are all on a journey. Our sole objective is to prepare ourselves for the journey, the journey towards Allah SWT and the next life. Ramadhan is the perfect time to have a look at our bags and assess how prepared we are.
May Allah SWT accept our fasting, our prayers, our charity and good deeds. And may our friend Ramadhan make a lasting impression on us, leaving us rejuvenated, stronger, more committed and more mindful than before.
May Allah bless you and yours on this, the first day of Ramadhan, and every day afterwards.
Na’ima B. Robert & the SISTERS family