As we all know the holy month of Ramadan is around the corner and all of us are busy in prepping for this beautiful month. However, most of the times these preps are just limited to the physical aspects of this month and most often than not we forget to prepare for it spiritually. I have been doing a lot of pondering about my existence lately and questioning my life choices, and with Ramadan around the corner it seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on my choices and fix what’s broken inside.
A little background to list a few flaws in the society I grew up in. As much as I like to believe I grew up in a religious environment, I now realize that I didn’t! The things that were taught and practiced were more cultural centric than they were religious. Praying 5 times a day, reading Quran daily, fasting, covering your hair, you face, memorizing the Quran and quoting the Hadith does not make a household/person religious. What makes a household religious is how you do justice to the teachings of Islam, whether or not you fulfill the rights of your fellow beings, how you speak, treat and make the people around you feel. If you fulfill the basic rights of greeting people with Salam and a smile even if you don’t want to, if you follow the sunnah and the Hadith as well as you quote it, if you do justice with the people you expect justice from, if you are humble when in a position of power, if you are kind even if you don’t want to be, if you judge yourself just as critically as you judge other people and if you forgive people like you expect to be forgiven. Islam is so much more than just prayers, fasting and reciting the Quran, IT’S A WAY OF LIFE!. So many of my beliefs came from the cultural environment it took me almost 30 years to realize how many mistakes I have made and how many bridges I have burnt because of that. It also took a few bad decisions, wrong friends, influences and ending up on the wrong side of a situation to realize how many times or how many people I may have wronged myself.
This journey of self exploration is a long one and should always be personal. Comparisons lead to disasters and we all know that. I have always been a very expressive person but my younger self expressed feelings completely different than my now self. Most of the times I sought attention the wrong way, from the wrong people, for the wrong reasons and my outlet of letting out my frustration was wrong in so many ways than I can list. In the past few years I have learnt to let go a lot. I have come to realize that not every action needs a reaction, I have learnt that there are only a handful people in my life who sincerely wish well for me. I have learnt to maintain a respectful distance from people who make me want to be unfair to others because I am being treated unfairly by them. I have come to realize not all you socialize with are your friends and most importantly people change with your circumstances. I now take solace in my loneliness and choose to surround myself with only those who uplift me and help me become a better person. I have also learnt that the good you do for people may not be returned to you by the same people but it comes back to you in ways you cant even imagine. Last but not the least I have realized not everything in life is black or white, there is a lot of grey and I am still learning to differentiate. So, I am teaching myself to give people the benefit of the doubt because that’s what I’d like to be done for myself.
I have come a long way from where I started, I am 33 years old, now a wife and mother along with being a daughter, sister, aunt and a friend. I have struggled with depression, rejection, highs and lows in life but I have learned that we survive. Things that seem important today may not be a priority in 10 years, pieces of our life that seem scattered today will be put together eventually and scars will heal. They say time is the best healer, so hold on to your loved ones, apologize, mend broken relationships, pray for the people you love, make dua for yourself, reflect on your mistakes because people we think have wronged us may also be victims of us wronging them because you may wake up 10 years from now and have regrets. If you believe that someone broke you so bad that its beyond repair than leave your affairs to Allah SWT but if you know in your heart that the damage caused to you by someone may also be a mistake you can make than try to fix it. Fix it for your own sake, fix it to bring ease to your heart, fix it for your own sanity or fix it to just please Allah!!
Alhumdulillah every year we are blessed with an entire month of opportunities to reflect on our shortcomings and granted a chance to fix what’s broken inside of us. Ramadan is a blessing for us where the shaytaan (satan) is locked up and we are free from his temptation. In Ramadan Allah SWT closes the doors to hell and opens the doors of heaven, its a month of forgiveness, a month when each good deed is rewarded 70x and the dua (prayer) of a fasting person is guaranteed acceptance at iftar (time to break the fast). Allah SWT is so merciful that he gives us so many chances to fix our mistakes even when we don’t deserve it, so why are we so arrogant to not give each other a chance. This Ramadan lets make an effort together to make one small change in ourselves everyday. Let’s make a list of 30 small steps we will take each day to benefit ourselves this Ramadan. Ladies lets ditch those samosa covers for one more day and focus on ourselves and prepare for Ramadan like we are meant to. As people we hold so much power within ourselves, we can make or break families, we can shape the future of our generations, this Ramadan lets soften our hearts and be the first ones to initiate peace, and lets begin with peace of heart!!
Day 1: Say Salaam and wish Ramadan Mubarak to someone we have recently ignored purposely because we were angry at them. (Text, call, meet in person)
Day 2: Dedicate a page of Quran you read to a loved one.
Day 3: Share a meal with someone, if you can’t host, make a small plate and send it to their home.
Day 4: Send a tray of food to your local masjid.
Day 5: Call/text an old acquaintance and check up on them.
Day 6: Share something knowledgeable today!
Day 7: Visit someone sick or call to check up on them.
Day 8: Write down your blessings. Written visual is so much more comforting than an imaginative one.
Day 9: Accept the things you cant change and find comfort in your heart.
Day 10: Reflect on your shortcomings today!
Day 11: Visit/call your parents! We tend to get busy with Ramadan so much that we forget to check up on them.
Day 12: Pray 2 extra nafl today and dedicate them to someone. A silent prayer from a secret admirer is more effective than a spoken one.
Day 13: Remember a mistake you made and think about how you could’ve done things differently.
Day 14: Read extra Quran today!
Day 15: Forgive someone today and do it sincerely!
Day 16: Donate to charity!
Day 17: Remember the mistake you reflected on the other day, think of a way you can fix it!
Day 18: Help your spouse in household chores. It starts at home!
Day 19: Call your in-laws and check up on them. They are your family too!! Sometimes we may not like them as much as our own but the person you love the most in your life (your spouse) is a part of them.
Day 20: Call/text your siblings today and check up on them! We get so busy with our own family we forget where it all started.
Day 21: Try to makeup with someone you’ve fallen out with. Everyone makes mistakes, in order to move forward you have to make peace with your past.
Day 22: Leave water for the birds in your backyard!
Day 23: Pray Tahajjud today! Make extra dua tonight!
Day 24: Commit on giving up on a bad habit and make sincere dua.
Day 25: Make dua for your family today, their well being, their health, their livelihood, their rizq, their happiness, their children, their maghfirat and most importantly don’t forget to ask all those things for yourself!
* My uncle once told me a how to make dua and its stuck with me all these years, I hope it stays with you too. When making dua most of the times we cant remember every individual so in your dua include your Dadihaal (Paternal Family) Nanihaal (Maternal Family) Sasural (In-Law Family) Doost (Friends) Rishtedaar (relatives) and everyone who has ever been a part of your life or impacted your existence in anyway.
Day 26: Ask someone you’ve wronged for forgiveness!
Day 27: Plant a tree or a bush with an intention of Sadqa e jariya!
Day 28: Take your children for a walk! Spending time with them is so important. This is the time we can shape them into human beings who will make a positive impact on the society tomorrow .
Day 29: Give charity today!
Day 30: Make dua that everyone’s good deeds and intentions in the last 30 days are accepted even if there were shortcomings or mistakes made, along with yours!
I am not an Islamic scholar, religious figure or anyone with an extensive knowledge of deen (religion). I am just a regular woman who has made a lot of mistakes and just trying to reflect on them to make myself a better person. This is my story, I am sharing it to encourage others to share their own or to know that other people may have made the same mistakes or to accept their shortcomings and take a step at being better versions of themselves.
I hope you find this piece of writing beneficial then share with someone who could benefit from it. Please correct me where I am wrong and please add to this list in the comments so I can benefit from your ideas! May This Ramadan be a blessed one for the Muslim ummah, our families, loved ones and for each one of you reading this right now. While you are making dua this Ramadan for your Family members please don’t forget to make dua for all those sick, elderly, in debt, in trouble, facing hardships, suffering a loss, facing a mental illness, hoping for children, looking to get married and the Muslim ummah in trouble. Please remember my parents in your special duas, especially my father who is ill and last but not the least my family. May Allah SWT give us all an opportunity to witness this Ramadan with Imaan and the next one, Ameen!
Until next Time,
The Trippin Mommy
Fatima Maniya Soorty