اللهُ أَكْـبَر، اللّهُمَّ أَهِلَّـهُ عَلَيْـنا بِالأمْـنِ وَالإيمـان، والسَّلامَـةِ والإسْلامِ، وَالتَّـوْفيـقِ لِما تُحِـبُّ وَتَـرْضَـى، رَبُّنـا وَرَبُّكَ اللهُ
Allaahu 'Akbar, Allaahumma 'ahillahu 'alayna bil'amni wal'eemaani, wassalaamati wal-'Islaami, wattawfeeqi limaa tuhibbu Rabbanaa wa tardhaa, Rabbunaa wa Rabbukallaahu.
Allah is the Most Great. O Allah, bring us the new moon with security and Faith, with peace and in Islam, and in harmony with what our Lord loves and what pleases Him. Our Lord and your Lord is Allah.
Wow, either I am getting old or time has flown past in the last year, as Ramadan is here again and I am trying to focus less on the mundane trivialities of my life, and more on my deen and on the spiritual aspects of my existence. In fact this is the fifth day and I am settling into my Ramadan routine when I go back to studying our glorious deen, and trying to live more in accord with the teachings of the Noble Quran.
I have always loved Ramadan, maybe as a little girl because I knew at the end there would be presents and parties. Later, after my dear Papa (may he rest in Jannah) had patiently taught me about the Holy Month's true meaning, because it was a time when, out of school anyway, I could find peace and start to learn more about myself so I could come a little bit nearer to pleasing Allah (subhana wa ta'ala).
Now it is more a time of reflection which, in my case, is not always a comfortable experience as I look back at all the mass of things which I promised myself I would do this year. Too many things remain undone but I have also done things which I have been promising myself I would do for ages. However...........................
I am still unmarried, still childless, a state of affairs which horrifies certain sections of my family, even if my siblings are more laid back about my solitary status. I have problems with my ex in-laws who are afraid that I will sully the reputation of their wonderful son - may he too find peace in Jannah. In many ways I can understand their concern; young widows just do not exist in their world, they are remarried as soon as is decently possible after the statutory period of mourning. So to have a daughter in law who is not only unwed but who is living away from what they see as 'home' is, to them, a horrifying and potential catastrophic state of affairs.
Me? I don't see myself as a catastrophe waiting to happen, but I do realise that I have gently and almost imperceptibly (for me anyway) swung away from the standards that I learnt from my dear Papa. So I am using Ramadan as an opportunity to refocus on my deen and to try and rectify my failings. One of the on-line groups I belong to, a wonderful sisters-only haven and peace and great advice, published a Ramadan Check List of things that we, as Muslims, should do daily during this month. I printed out two copies - one I stuck to the fridge where I would see it whenever I got a cool drink during the day (I drink bottled water liberally at this time of year when it is so hot here), and the other on my 'office' wall where I can see it when I look up from my computer screen. Like now................
I love the Check List but I am rather like Amina who says, almost whenever she sees the one fixed to the fridge door, "Oh NO! I have forgotten to do................." and then cites whenever is on the List and which she hasn't yet done that day. We are only at the fifth day and already some of the Check Lists boxes are already starting to remain un-ticked. One of them, "Gave some extra food from Iftar to my neighbours " remains unticked for 3 days so far. And that is pricking my conscience as our neighbours are a poor family who have a tiny house 500m from here who have been very grateful whenever Amina and I have dropped in with some food for Iftar.
And why? Because it takes time, because we have to change into 'decent' clothes before leaving the house, because it means a kilometre walk there and back when it is still very warm outdoors, or else having to get out the car and drive there. Because, because................. None of these reasons - No! they are plain 'excuses' - are valid. All they prove is that I am not doing those things that make Ramadan so special. So I have red-ringed all the boxes about giving food to neighbours and both of us are determined that we will make that trip each evening, insha'Allah.
Now I must go as my Check List tells me it's time to read one new Hadith and to study its meaning. But, now I am blogging again, I think I will add a new (maybe weekly) box to my Check List: "To write a regular Blog, and to be honest when I do so insha'Allah."