What Ramadan means to me

First off, I just wanted to wish everyone Ramadan Kareem. I never really thought about Ramadan too much growing up as teen or into a young woman. But as I’ve matured into a more spiritual mindset over time, the definition of this month has absolutely evolved for me.

Growing up, the Holy Month of Ramadan was all about curbing my thirst for water and hunger for food. But as a 30 something Muslim woman, hunger and thirst, seem like the last thing that Ramadan is about. As Muslims we believe that during this Holy month Shaytaan and his passé are locked up in chains, so whatever sins we may commit during this month, has been committed through no other fault or judgement but our own. When you cancel out all the time spent on choosing where to eat, whom to meet, what series to watch, you begin to realize how much time you really have on your hands. And what better way to use that time, than through reflection and contemplation. We all have our shortcomings, and  although we may call ourselves “Muslim” , how many steps do we really need to carry out to truly be “Muslim”.

For some of us, it might be our speech, where every other word is laced with a cuss word. For those in bigger social circles, it could be about gossip and backbiting. For many of us, it could be about controlling our sexual desires. For those that are overly privileged, it could be about finding humility and appreciation in life’s smaller gifts. How many of us have complained about the most trivial matters and have turned a blind eye to the blessings around us ?Most of us forget that even breathing is a gift. Ask someone that’s prone to asthma attacks how they value breathing.

The main essence of Ramadan is to feel what the under privileged are feeling, and the only way of doing this, is by stripping ourselves of our everyday luxuries and putting ourselves in their place. I just came across this video that Yasiin Bey; formerly known to many as Mos Def, did regarding Guantanamo prisoners being force fed. The fact that he tried this procedure on himself  just stirred something within me. Here we are fasting on our own will and accord, and on the other side, you have these ‘prisoners of war’ or as most people would call them ‘terrorists’ that are being forcefully fed. On a daily basis, they have to fight and face the harsh treatment of tubes being stuck down their nasal pipes. Just typing those words out make me cringe.

This video made me realize how lucky I am, to not be oppressed. I have the luxury of choosing not to eat or drink at my free will, and breaking my fast, at my own accord.  We all have our epiphanies and “eye opening” moments. I am no where close to where I need  to be with in my Deen. Every day is a struggle, a battle with my self  and my demons, but the fact that I’ve been given this month to do everything I can for my Creator, a chance to truly repent and ask for His Guidance and Mercy, gives me hope. Inshallah t this holy Month of Ramadan gives you some sort of fulfillment, and if not that, I hope at least, that you feel the gratitude of where you are and what you’ve been given.

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