Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ramadan Reflections: Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hey there gang. Your favorite PhilAsifer is back on Blog street after a month long sabbatical observing the month of Ramadan. So let me quickly get you up to speed on what's my month consisted of, aside from the heartburn I endured from being without food all day.

I spent most of the month trying to get tight with the Qur'an like crossed fingers and soak up in that Iman(faith) boost that's customary at this time of year. This followed up with the inevitable Ramadan slump where the consistency that was prevalent in the first week just started falling apart. The Ramadan nutrition and workout regimen that my wife and I tried to follow just wasn't happening anymore so we went from working out at Suhoor time and after Iftar at the gym to NOT working out at all. This seemed to have a domino effect with the rest of productive goals during Ramadan.

I had hoped to start and finish reading the Qur'an, both reciting it in Arabic and reading the English translation but because of work, the messed up sleep schedule, and my tendency to make up excuses when I very well could manage my time better resulted in me falling way behind. Unfortunately I only finished 10 juz (parts) out of 30.

But no need to pout. Ramadan should serve mostly as a self-evaluation period which most people don't take the time out to do. If anything is to be gained during Ramadan aside from what's typical, it's a keen sense of self. You begin to notice what you suck at doing, what you don't put enough time into, what you procrastinate on, what bad habits that you have trouble breaking. The old cliched phrase certainly rings true, "The first step to solving a problem is to recognize that you have one." And Ramadan does that!

A friend of mine on Facebook put up a status that summed up the end of Ramadan profoundly as compared to the rest of the year. I'm merely paraphrasing but he said, "The preseason (Ramadan) is over now the real season begins". Using this sports analogy couldn't be more accurate. Just as in sports, preseason is when you start shaking off that rust from being away from the court or field and start whipping yourself back into shape. Preseason is when you start recognizing your flaws and putting in the hard work hours to eliminate or reduce those flaws so when the Season begins, you're clicking on all cylinders.

Ramadan is not to be treated as a spirituality/religiousity binge. It's not a time where you get extra generous, empty your pockets to charities, do all your prayers and show all your hospitality in the span of one month and then the rest of the time you're a sinning, lying, cheating, cussing douchebag. The beauty of Ramadan and fasting from not only food and drink but from distractions like TV, the Internet and such is that you have A TON of time on your hands. Time that you don't normally have (or make) the rest of the year because your busy watching YouTube videos, working, and all-in-all wasting time. Ideally with that time, you evaluate yourself, find out more about yourself, your flaws and what you can do to improve yourself for the real test, which is the rest of the year! The Season!

I'm writing this blog out mainly for my own benefit over anybody elses and this advice is directed to myself first and foremost as a reminder. Evaluate yourself, fix your flaws, set realistic goals and put in the work to make things happen and InshaAllah success will be in your future.

Marinate on that until next time.