Reflections after Ramadan

All praises is due to the one and only Allah, who through Him, we have been able to conclude another beautiful Ramadan. There are so many beautiful aspects about this month, but to me, one of the most beautiful things is the unity it creates among Muslims from all over the world. During Ramadan, you can travel anywhere in the world and see Muslims from different regions fasting, visiting their local mosques from sunset to sunrise, and gathering with their families and friends to break their fast. Although many Muslims continue their full-time schedules, Ramadan provides an escape from the stresses of the world and puts our lives back into perspective. We all go through different things that test our faith, but with our forehead on the ground and Allah’s words flowing through our tongues, we all leave our prayers with one question in mind: what is the purpose of my existence? Why am I here?

Everything has a purpose. God did not create me, you, the rich or the poor, the just rulers or the tyrants without divine wisdom. God says in the Quran, “We did not create the heavens and the earth, and everything between them just for amusement.’ (21:16). You are a creation of The Magnificent Creator. You were not created to be made to feel worthless, useless, or lost. This world has the ability to pick us all the way up onto cloud 9, and then suddenly throw us lower than we ever were without warning. We are utterly overwhelmed by our own lives and the horrific news that surrounds us, that without faith in Him, most of us would drown in our despair. Speaking from personal experience, I know I was. But when I heard His beautiful verses recited during the long prayers of the night, “I have only created men that they may serve Me” (51:56), “Surely towards God they have to return, then it is God who will call them into account (for their actions).” (88:25-26), a sense of bliss overcame me. These may not be the typical “comforting” verses people usually talk about, but through contemplation you can find serenity in any of His words.

As you get older, you discover that there will be times you have worked your 100% best and for one reason or the other, the results still did not work in your favor. We also see people rewarded with things or put in positions they clearly don’t deserve. Remembering these verses provide a sense of escape out of those “what if this, what if that” moments we get during those times as we are reminded that God judges, rewards and punishes based on our intentions and our effort. The results of our effort are beyond our control and He knows that. Along with that, we are reminded that no matter what position we are in life, good or bad, our purpose is still the same: to serve Him. When God tells us to “serve Him,” He is not talking only about prayer or memorizing the Quran. To serve God is to serve others. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) said: “What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.” (Bukhari)

This is Islam. It’s not that complicated. It doesn’t take rocket science to be noticed by Allah. In God’s eyes, it doesn’t matter what title comes before your last name or how much money you have in your bank account. What matters is the impact that you have on others. And through His mercy, we actually CAN attain His heaven by serving Him with good character. That paradise that Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) continuously remind us of isn’t as impossible to attain as we make it to be. So let’s actually TRY to attain it.

We are plagued with various diseases of the heart that affect our spirituality on the daily: greed, jealousy, anger, sadness, hopelessness, lust..to name a few. It is easy to get sucked into it and forget our direction in life. Thankfully, Ramadan comes once a year to remind us of ourselves, our final destination, our meeting with Him, and His mercy and forgiveness. Ramadan may have left us, but He is always there, ready to hear our every call. His Quran is still here, ready for us to read and reflect.. it isn’t exclusive to Ramadan. We have the resources and it’s up to us to take advantage of them.

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