Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ramadan 6: Perserverance


Keep going.

Yesterday and today--right now, infact--I am telling myself, "Keep going."

The fun of Ramadan has somewhat dimished.

I mean, Ramadan is fun in the beginning: the planning, the shopping, the cooking, the greeting one another with "Ramadan Kareem!", breaking iftar together, the joy of deeper faith, and the increased knowledge from more readings of Quran.

And then?

Well, come on, get real...then you get tired. You start to drift off the fun and veer into something else. Duty? Commitment? Something like that.

Most of life is like that.

Marriage.

Being a parent.

Working just about any job.

The initial start-up energy wanes and you are left with the remains of the day. That is normal.

So often in religion, we don't want to admit the true feelings that don't seem all sunny and light. We become fake in our quest to become really good. We fake our faith. We pretend that we never have any downs or moments of negativity.

The problem with that is that those thoughts fester in us. We don't share them with a soul, for fear of being found out as a fake. We don't even want to go to God with our issues. In not doing so, we actually become the person we hate. We then wish we felt things deeper without realizing that we ourselves are to blame.

Let's admit that Ramadan stops being fun.

Fun is a very Western thought, ya'all. Fun isn't promised in The Quran. Happiness isn't promised either. What we are promised is peace.

When we loose our feelings of excitement of the new, we finally begin to gain our connection to the now.

About now, once the fun has died away, we have to examine why in the world we would:
get up when we're tired,

eat when we're still a little full from last night,

pray when we would rather lie down,

read Quran before the sun gets up,

and not eat when we're starving.

Why? Because we are fasting for Allah. He commands us to fast for the month of Ramadan. Allah doesn't actually spell out each individual reward we receive in our day-to-day lives for fasting. We have to discover those ourselves. We only know that there are rewards in the life to come.

So, keep going with Ramadan, even past the time when Elvis has left the building, and discover for yourself why you fast for Allah in Ramadan.

7 comments:

sister in MN said...

Yosra,
I really appreciate how you can put yourself out there and admit things that many people are afraid to.
The fact of the matter is that Ramadhan is hard, and persevering and being pateint is what gets us the ajir/hasanat. The feeling of accomplishment, after surviving without a meal, after fasting a day, after adding another day, and so on, that is what gives us peace. And when we have peace, we can feel happy and accomplished inside. When I say happy I don't mean all jumping off the walls like its supposed to be fun, but rather feeling joy and serenity.
As for our faith, it is acknowledged in Islam that one's faith is not expected to always be up there. We have our highs and we have our lows. When we have our highs, we should try to capitalize on the opportunity in the hopes that we can get some momentum going to push us through the lows. That momentum in the midst of our lows is manifested in our going through the motions. Even if we're not feeling our prayers or our fast, when we go through the motions, we are keeping ourselves going, so when the next wave comes along, we'll be ready to ride it into our next high. Many mistaken the motions as being hypocritical, but its NOT!
While we have to be true to ourselves and only do what we believe in deep down inside, before that, we have to be true to Allah, and do what he says, even if we're not feeling it.
I hope all this makes sense..
I'll get off my soapbox now ;)
Love,
sister in MN

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Sister in MN,

Your comments are just A+ terrific. You fill in any gaps I've missed and smooth over any explanations I didn't spend enough time crafting.

JAK for what you've said. No soapbox needed. I give you center stage, the microphone, and spotlight any time you wish. :)

[[[ x Smiley x ]]] said...

subhanAllah! great post sis!
may Allah rewrd you for sharing. Allahuma Ameen!
:D

Karim Baz said...

As'salamu Alaikum,

You know what's interesting is that I was thinking somewhat similar thoughts yesterday. I agree with most of what you said but there is one point that stuck out that I have some thoughts on.

"Fun isn't promised in The Quran. Happiness isn't promised either. What we are promised is peace."

I would say that being happy does not necessarily mean you are at peace. But, if you are at peace then are you not, by default, happy? Were it just a comment I wouldn't put this much thought into it - but it is being attributed to the Qur'an so we should try to be as careful as possible.

Also, with fun - we know the Prophet (saw) and his wives used to have fun. So really, in my opinion at least, fun, happiness, and peace are all a part of our deen. The difference, however, is that Allah (swt) guarantees His servants that these emotions and feelings will last forever in Jannah.

You know what else is interesting? I run a blog about blogging and I just finished writing a post about characteristics about qualities of a successful blogger. The last point on the list is to make sure we have the right intention - which is to say that we should be doing everything for the sake of Allah.

So Jazakumullahu Khayran for blogging about something more beneficial than most and Jazakumullahu Khayran for writing a thought provoking "peace"

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Smiley,

First, I have to comment on your name. Don't know why I didn't the first time you commented.

One time, when my son was three and my daughter was a little baby, I was cooing at her on the changing table.

"Ooooh, you're soooo smiley," I was gushing at her. "You smile so much, maybe we should have called you 'Smiley'".

My little guy piped up, "Maybe we should have called her 'Spit up'".

LOL!

OK, now for YOU! You are terrifically wonderful to just drop a comment filled with praise for this post. I was happy with it too, alhumdulillah. I am writing these after starting my fast,praying and reading Quran--so no better prep! LOL!

I've had a tough day and night so your nice comment was very welcome a the end of all of the challenges. JAK!

Asalamalaykom Karim,

And also Ramadan Karim, Karim. Just had to say that.

I really enjoyed your comment. I can tell that you fear Allah. You also want the absolute best info on Islam out there. All of that intention is very evident and appreciated. JAK for caring.

We are in agreement about what you say. Maybe I feel the need for stating what I did since Mr. Florida (that would be the last husband) was very keyed up on the quest for happiness. I'm not sure where you are writing from, but in the U.S. this hunger for good times just ruins so many lives.

Peace. Yes, peace can lead to many other good feelings; happiness and fun among them. But happiness doesn't necessarily lead to peace. The same is true for fun. I guess what I'm saying is that the foundation of peace with Islam IS promised by Allah. The other feelings are possible by-products.

Did Nabi Yusuf, pbuh, feel it was FUN in the jail? No. But he went willingly since he no longer had any peace with his master's wife making advances towards him. Eventually, that peace led to happiness. Later, with his family beside him, I'm sure he then had fun.

What if astragferallah he had gone for the FUN with his master's wife? That wouldn't have led to happiness OR peace. You see my reasoning?

I totally agree that as a people Muslims can enjoy happy times together. Alhumdulillah, some of the BEST times have been with my sisters in Islam. Mashallah, I love these friends as if they were true, true siblings.

Your blog...did I get your Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval? You didn't provide a link, so how can I go back and read your post for successful blogging? If I'm not successful, can I then blame you?

Karim Baz said...

As'salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatu,

I was hesitant to leave the address because I didn't want you to think I was just spamming your site. Since it's got the ok to link it, the site is www.themuslimblogger.com

The article I was talking about should be featured on the front page. It's called "Six Characteristics and Qualities of a Successful Blogger".

By the way, after I wrote that post and then reading/commenting on your piece here, I did a short 5 minute clip. There's a reference to your site.

I didn't look all around your site and stuff but if you want, I can do a "review" with recommendations and post it up on the front page. Let me know.

As for me, I was born and raised here in the d.c. metropolitan area. So I got you know - I think it was just an issue of how each of us was defining the word "fun" for your post. Good stuff.

Allrighty then - As'salamu Alaikum

Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam Karim,

Thanks for responding so quickly--obviously, you are not a bureaucrat in D.C.

Is "Good stuff" your gold star? I was hoping for "thumbs up" or "smiley face"...oh, wait...Smiley already gave me that up above this comment. OK, I'm going to claim that "Good Stuff" from you makes this award-winning. Sure. Why not?

I'm watching the video clip right now in slo-mo, since I'm suffering through dial-up (but alhumdulillah for that). You are this super young guy, mashallah.

Ahhhh you just mentioned the content on my blog. That's good.

Would I want you to search around my site and give comment on it overall? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! LOL! You will no doubt want to tell me how I've been in err and I'm pretty sure that I can't handle that right now. Feel free to look around---just tread lightly on the advice on how to improve it. I might ask you someday...just not today :)

This is my second blog. My first told absolutely everything in my journey getting out of a marriage which was heading towards polygyny with a man who was losing his mind. I know that you really would not have liked that one. I ended up not liking it either.

This blog doesn't tell everything. It tells some of my life and explorers issues more.

JAK for being so professional in what you do. I am more creative than professional. I would enjoy having you around to keep me in line (when I chose to follow).