This is a really good article that I thought I'd post now in case I forget to next year!! Definitely something we should be careful not to do next Ramadan. -- J.
Musings of a Recovering Ramadan Muslim
By Khalid Latif
September 10, 2009
I used to be a “Ramadan Muslim”. Actually, I probably couldn’t even be called that.
Growing up, no one really made me believe that I could be a Muslim. I was always told what was wrong with me and made to feel quite low by many in the Muslim community. I wasn’t “this enough” or “that enough” and the worst part of it all - I believed it. I believed every look of condescension, I believed every murmur and whisper, I believed every glare and judgmental comment and never thought twice about them. It was easier not to. People who “looked” Muslim thought I was bad and I thought they must have known what they were talking about since they looked the part so well.
In these past two weeks, I’ve seen a lot of “Ramadan Muslims” and I’ve wondered how many of them will make the mistake that I made: believing that they shouldn’t believe in themselves. These days, the mosques are filled with young and old, men and women, black, white, brown and yellow, all taking ownership of their Islam. But in less than two weeks, the month of Ramadan will be over and then what happens? Even more importantly, what happens now when the month is still in progress?
I think about how many Ramadans I didn’t utilize to the best of my ability because I didn’t see that my Ramadan was there for me and that I got to decide how I spent it. And ultimately if I tried to point a finger at someone else saying their coldness or their lack of understanding of my needs pushed me away from Islam, I still ended up being the one who lost the most. I can’t ever get those Ramadans back, but I still have this one to make use of.
In these next two weeks, I want to be able to make du’aa as much as I can, whenever I can. Through our Tradition, it becomes clear that there are a few critical times to make du’aa, which we should never pass up on at all because at these times du’aa are more likely to be accepted. Two du’aa that are said to be accepted are those of the fasting person until the time he breaks his fast and those made between the time between the adhan (the call to prayer) and the iqamah (the commencement of the prayer). That pretty much means that when its about time to break your fast, you want to be sitting and making du’aa, and when the adhan is called and you’re waiting for people to start praying, you want to be sitting and making du’aa. Your friend, your boss, that girl, your TV - all of them will be there ready to speak to you afterwards. Spend five minutes, just you and Allah.
And don’t let yourself think that because the sun has gone down, your opportunities have ended. Just because one is allowed to eat and drink doesn’t mean that all opportunity to grow and develop suddenly stops. Try to go to the masjid to pray, not because you’re supposed to or because you have to, but because it is your right to and there is good in it for you - incalculable good. We are taught to seek out laylatul qadr in the nights of Ramadan, a night so powerful that observing it can change your destiny. But that is only if you decide to seek it out. Just because you can pray for me doesn’t mean I can’t pray for myself. I have to use the opportunity to challenge others by challenging myself and shattering everyones expectations, especially my own.
I used to be a Ramadan Muslim. I used to be told that I wasn’t good enough. Now I’m a Muslim who loves Ramadan and I understand that I can always be better.
May Allah accepts all of our prayers, actions, and secret wishes, as there are no secrets from Him. He is the All-Knowing, the Merciful. Ameen