Sunday, 4 September 2011

How Ramadan changed me…

By Sidra Hussain
All my life if I have wanted something I knew what it was that I needed to do to acquire it, whether that was to work extra hours, ask my parents, or just wait and save up.
This Ramdan I learnt something amazing;
To ask Allah Jala wa a’ala!
Of course, after each salah when I would make dua, I would ask Allah Jala wa a’ala.
When I was stuck or in a difficult situation, I would raise my empty hands and make dua, but this was different, I learnt to ask in a way where if I didn’t get what I wanted I was still content, something I struggled with before.
 If I don’t get what I want or my own way or at least what I deem to be good for me then I am content with the fact that it was not destined for me, and I thank and praise Allah Jala wa a’ala.
Either way He(swt) knows what is best for me.
The Arabic proverb comes to mind ‘…What is destined will reach you, even if it be underneath two mountains. What is not destined, will not reach you, even if it be between your two lips…’
I would like to share my thoughts on how I came to this realisation and I am sure many of you can relate.
As a child, teenager and even recently I have always wanted things to go my way. I was never content with a relationship unless it went my way, and many a times I ruined these relationships because I was afraid that if it went any other way it would be destroyed. I needed to organise my room a certain way, I would make a list of the things I needed to do for that specific day, I had my own routine, and a huge part of that routine was believing people when they made a commitment, as I always kept my side of the bargain, so why didn’t they?
The danger is when we have people who think that just because they mean what they say and keep their promises, they think other people are just like that and mean what they say and will keep their promises. That was me in a nut shell.
When Ramadan began, my friend and I like everyone else decided that wewould use this month to better ourselves, to gain more ajr, knowledge, taqwa, sabr and cleanse our souls. Being a student of the Quran, I was “raring” to go, to be able to read the Quran and get 70+ hasanats for it – wow – SubhanAllah!
To listen to tafseers, catch up with my memorisation, and like most Ramadan’s I have shared with my friend I knew that throughout the whole month we would go “crazy” texting each other, e-mailing one another about new hadith we had learnt, new tafseers, brilliant small imaan booster messages, but we entered the second week of Ramadan and nothing…
Why had she not been in contact? My normal reaction would be to ask her what was wrong, this isn’t what we had planned was it? It wasn’t going my way; it wasn’t going the way I had planned out in my mind.
Ironically at the time I was listening to a lecture entitled; ‘how to make the most of Ramadan’, and I heard the speaker say ‘…to let things be…’ this was an alien concept to me, how could I let things be? I have always known what I want, how to get it, how to solve a problem. Ambiguity and I have never seen eye to eye, why was he saying this???
Hearing these words and repeating them to myself a numerous amount of times, I finally reached a point where I was ready to accept that perhaps my way is no longer the best way, I was upset and angry at myself for being upset, and I wanted to change, and what better month to change than Ramadan.
I couldn’t continue living my life like this, getting upset over such trivial matters. I took a deep sigh and realised that this wasn’t the first time someone had let me down, or things had not gone the way I expected, so perhaps by allowing things to be I would finally gain a piece of mind.
Allah says in His Book ‘…Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves.” (Qur’an, 13:11).
Do not get me wrong, I love my friend, the problem here wasn’t her, it was me, always expecting people to do what I feel is right. I knew she was busy, I knew she had to concentrate on her own self and how to bring about change for herself, yet my selfishness was taking over me and not allowing my rationale to speak.
At this rate I was not going to make the most of Ramadan, I needed to find a way to break free from this detrimental habit.
I turned my attention, emotions, and time towards Allah, I placed my expectations with Him. I love my family and friends, and I have a good relationship with them because I know them, I know ABOUT them.
So I decided to learn more about my Creator and His qualities and how I can become a better slave. I wanted a relationship with Allah Jala wa’ala.
Allah swt says in the Quran: “…whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.” (Qur’an 2: 256)
This was sufficient for me! I felt like I had been under water and all of a sudden something pulled me out and I could finally take that breath I had been longing for.
All of a sudden things began to make sense; as Sheikh Hamza Yusuf once said; ‘… If you seek something false, Allah will make you fall so you restore yourself- this is out of His mercy for you. ..’ I believe Allah azza wa jal had made me fall so I could restore myself.
To an extent my heart had been shattered because all my life I have had expectations from others and when they failed to meet my expectations (which I know realise are not always correct or best for everyone) I felt a pain inside of me.
The pain I felt was a pointer to my attachments, these false attachments. The pain and the sheer disappointment, combined with the anger I was feeling was what made this false attachments evident. I realised it doesn’t matter how deep ones love is for one’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, friends and family, there will always be some element of disappointment. This is why we must always do things for Allah swt alone and everything else should be secondary.
This way if I am disappointed by people, I didn’t do it for them anyway. I recall crying and a feeling a sense of relief because I had been after this closure for all my 21 years of life.
With the last days of Ramadan approaching, I am still learning and will continue this change I have embraced. Just earlier my cousin told me to meet her in one hour. I waited two hours and forty five minutes, but that’s ok because, I am not the most important point of her life, just because we agreed it doesn’t mean its set in stone. It actually turns out her son was ill.
I am learning that I need to treat a situation with my rationale and to tie up my emotions and not let them get the better of me, to understand that we are all different and to embrace that difference.
I will become unbreakable, because my handhold will be unbreakable. I will become unconquerable, because my supporter ALLAH the All-Mighty can never be conquered. And my worst fear of being empty, well I will never be empty because my source of fulfilment is never ending and will never diminish. There really is no greater comfort in life other than knowing Allah is aware of how we feel.
He is the All-Aware, the Provider, the Healer, and the Caretaker of us all.
I guess we have to continue on in our journeys and know that nothing happens without a reason and for some greater wisdom which we may or may never understand, but that’s ok because He is ALLAH the ALL-KNOWING and if sometimes things don’t make sense then that’s ok because His Knowledge is vast and mine is so limited and small.


Rooshna said...

Assalam Alaicum
MashAllah, so young and so pious. May Allah bless us all with such overwhelming wisdom. Subhan Allah! I especially was touched reading this: I will become unbreakable, because my handhold will be unbreakable.....He is the All-Aware, the Provider, the Healer, and the Caretaker of us all' jazak Allah for this post Xenia (:

Xenia said...

Alhamdulillah Such an inspirational story from such a young sister Jazaki'Allah kheyran dear Rooshna:)