Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Need Ramadan, I Need it Bad

Can you believe it? The month of Shaban is here which means Ramadan is just around the corner. Now regardless of the fact that Ramadan is one of the most blessed months of the year and how it’s a chance for Muslims to cleanse ourselves of sins and get a spiritual boost, the emotions for its arrival are undoubtedly mixed.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a great number of the faithful who are excited for Ramadan and are looking forward to the abundance of good the month contains. However, I’m sure there are folks out there dreading this month. They dread the dropkick their schedules receive, whether it be work/school or their regular eating pattern. They groan at the thought of starving all day, cutting out all the fun shenanigans they occupy themselves with on the daily and spending the nights assembled in the congregation lines at the crowded masajid for Tarawih prayer. The thought of listening to the Imam drone on as they stand with aching feet and full stomachs for an extra long rakat of prayer is their own personal nightmare cause all they wanna do is pass out from a case of “the ‘Itis”.

It’s funny because these same folks are even addressed by the Prophet(PBUH) as those who reap no benefits out of Ramadan and quite frankly are just wasting their time and energy:
"How many persons fast and get nothing out of their fasting except hunger and thirst and how many persons pray at night and get nothing out of it except staying up late."
Thankfully, I’m not one of those kind of folks. I’m delighted Ramadan is almost upon us. In fact, I need Ramadan, I need it BAD. And I’m sure there are many people out there who feel the same way.

The Ramadan Offseason Slump


It’s no secret that Muslims--despite possessing the truth of Islam, the ultimate guide to life in the Qur’an and the ultimate role model to follow in Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) –are not super-de-duper flawless creatures. We all have our ups and downs when it comes to our Iman (faith) and adherence.  It’s called being human.

We’re not immune to slumps and we can surely experience a “sucky Muslim” phase. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. Those times when your language is a little looser cause you aren’t guarding your tongue as adequately as you should. The times when you may not be lowering your gaze as much and your eyes are leering at stuff you’re not supposed to. Where you’re getting a little too attached to the dunya(worldly/material bull) and find yourself wasting hours entertaining yourself, blasting music, watching movies, playing video games, chillin’ out with your friends and staying up late. This ultimately leads you to sleeping late and missing Fajr (the obligatory dawn prayer). 

Multiple fajrs. 

Like more than one.

Consecutively.

For weeks at a time. 

I know Urkel, it's shameful! Don't judge me!

Now the “sucky Muslim” phase doesn’t mean you’re saying “Eff it”and are running around and being a kafir. No, no, no. You may be fulfilling the bare minimum, but that’s just it. The bare minimum! You’re not going above and beyond.  Your salat is getting done, but the Qur’an isn’t being picked up. It’s just sitting there on the shelf, never being read, never piercing the hearts of those who need it (You). Even worse, the dunya-love which manifests through entertaining oneself with play and amusement can detrimentally effect your productivity, preventing you from accomplishing meaningful tasks and goals. The spiritual low which the "sucky Muslim" phase emits inevitably spills over and affects all  aspects of your life.

Take myself as an example. I’m a blogger and part of living up to my job description means committing myself to REGULARLY update PhilAsify 101. But would you look at that! My blogs have gone from a steady consistent stream of weekly updates to a rare post few and far between. Why? It’s all symptoms of the dreaded “sucky Muslim” phase.

The Remedy is Ramadan


Now of course, you can snap out of the “sucky Muslim” phase any time of the year with a little discipline, some duas and a self-delivered kick in the pants. But sometimes results can be temporary. A surefire solution is Ramadan. This is the divinely mandated period when it’s your religious obligation to send the routine of your life crashing into a fiery nosedive so you can devote yourself to Allah with the intention of purifying yourself and getting much-needed Taqwa (theres many definitions ie. fear, God-consciousness, awareness. In this case, and being as blunt as can be, it's getting your s*** together religiously) back in your system.

You hear it said to the point of being cliché but Ramadan is a blessing and mercy for us for this reason alone. It is the ultimate method of getting us back on track. Yeah you’re shutting out food and drink but more importantly you should be shutting out the plethora of distractions this world bombards us with. What does that leave us with? TIME. And lots of it. And this time should be used for what I like to call, “getting your soul swole”. (swole def. The state of being very muscular and/or buff and in good shape.)

Read and understand the book on the shelf over there being ignored—The Qur’an. Develop a relationship with this book so after Ramadan is done, it’s still being opened up. Read about the life of the Prophet and the Sahaba. Read a good novel or self-help book. It doesn’t all have to be an Islamic cram-a-thon. Just read! Get organized, get your life in order and pinpoint ways where you can get more productivity out of your days and not squander those precious hours and minutes. And for guys like myself, write!

A World Without Ramadan?


The month of Ramadan, even to some Muslims, is erroneously seen as a temporary sort of suffering as a means of wiping out sins. Talk about making something sound so unappealing! Ramadan is much more than just a sin erasing opportunity. Ramadan is supposed to be a lifestyle kick-in-the-butt. It’s a reminder of our duties as Muslims. It is a means of weeding out all the clutter of this world and recognizing the bare essentials that’ll get us to our next destination. You know how life hacks are all the rage nowadays. Well Ramadan is a life hack to improve our condition, jumpstart our productivity and revitalize and rejuvenate our hearts and minds and make us the best we can be.

Can you imagine if Allah didn’t bless us with this month? Imagine if there was no month where sins could be wiped clean just by staying away from a few simple rudimentary actions for a few hours? Imagine if there wasn’t a month where our good actions were multiplied many times over? Imagine if we were never given an opportunity to take a break from all the bells and
whistles of life so we could take a second to evaluate ourselves, recognize our purpose and our future destination? Imagine just how SCREWED we would be, to put it bluntly?

Alhamdulilah, we don’t have to worry about this because Ramadan has been gifted to us by our Creator. I think it’s pretty safe to say we desperately need Ramadan in our lives. Oh yeah, we need it BAD. Thank Allah, it’s on its way.

1 comment:

  1. It is expressive of the hunger and thirst felt by those who spend the month in fasting. As opposed to other holidays, when people often indulge, Ramadan is by nature a time of sacrifice.
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