Before the sun sets on this Ramadan, I am reclaiming the rest of this sacred month, I hope you will too. There are so many to-do lists and checklists, that we try to squeeze into this month, we sometimes lose the essence of Ramadan itself. What are we truly celebrating this month? I would argue that many of us get caught up in the actions or specific ibadah and the month leaves us feeling empty and exhausted. Why? Because we lacked connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). And that is what this month is truly about, our connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

“The process of reclaiming the self is one of reconciliation and meaning.”

Tariq Ramadan 

We fast so that we may become people of taqwa. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does not want you to do more, He wants you to do less. To create space. It is the absence of feeding our nafs that we are able to connect. I would suggest that the inability to attend social gatherings and experience Ramadan the way we usually do, offers a unique opportunity to connect with your creator in a profound way.  

I want to share with you something that has really enhanced my connection to my creator recently. Three reflections, the first is gratitude and the second is reframing my relationship with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to be one based on love, and the last is worshiping with authenticity. 

Gratitude

“And ˹remember˺ when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, surely My punishment is severe.’”

Qur’an 14:7

Every moment is a chance to connect to Allah. Ibadah can be created in all that you do with the correct niyyah. For example, we can see isolation as a blessing and utilize it, take time to reflect, and see what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) may want us to change. Changing the dialogue from “why is this happening?” to “What can I learn from this?” is also a powerful way to generate gratitude.

There is barakah in the darkest of nights, as Timothy Herr once said “the darkest hour of night comes just before dawn” I encourage you to enhance your gratitude for the rest of Ramadan, whether it be through catching your thoughts and shifting them or maybe it is a more physical experience of writing some of your blessings down. Gratitude births more gratitude. Fill your mind with thoughts of blessings and all that He has given you and watch it overflow and touch every interaction, experience, feeling in your life.

Reframing with Love

“I am as My servant expects Me to be”

Hadith Qudsi – sahih Bukhari

It is very easy to fall into a cycle of critical, judgemental thoughts. Toxic perspectives on your sins can imprison you and your relationship with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). We are often left feeling like we are not enough or that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does not love us. Nothing cuts the cord of the connection more quickly than this misunderstanding of the True One. Is that how you think Al Wadud perceives you? No, it is not. For His rahmah transcends the bounds of what we can even perceive. His love is not transactional, it is in endless supply. The moment I thought of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as being on my side and fighting for me, it changed my perception to be one of tranquility and peace. Yes, He will judge us on that day, however, until we part from this fleeting life we can infuse our fear of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) with love to foster hope in His mercy and our sacred connection. 

Authenticity 

“The work of Allah who has perfected everything (He created).”

Qur’an 27:88

The understanding that He is Al-Aleem. He knows all, including you. He knows you are trying and He knows you are striving. You are enough. In fact, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wants you to be authentically you, that is why He made you the way He did. He wants you to serve Him and worship Him in ways that build and grow who you are. It is not uncommon for us to feel that we need to worship in the way that we are prescribed. And this is important. However, there are many kinds of worship.

I spent the first half of Ramadan trying so intensely to complete specific recitations and I found this lack of connection and deepening frustration. Then I realized that I felt the most connected to Allah when I make connections between sacred knowledge and knowledge of the Dunya, then shared that knowledge with others. As well as, helping people with anything they need help with.  This kind of ibadah is more authentic to me. As a result, I feel more connected to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)  when I do these acts. There is barakah in all that you, as long as you do it for Him. Your connection to Him will flow when you embrace your fitrah and inherent way of being and align it with service in His name. So I encourage you to be honest with yourself, what does your authentic ibadah look like?

Connecting to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will give you everything you need. Have the courage to reclaim what is left of this sacred month as yours through gratitude, love, and authenticity. May Allah bless you for all your efforts thus far and increase you in goodness for the rest of the month and coming year.  

Angela Islam

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