This Ramadaan I decided to keep a journal. I realized that I had not documented any of my previous Ramadan’s so the purpose of this journal was to document my experience, feelings, spirituality and in future years to re-read and be able to reflect on my relationship with Allah, with the ultimate goal in mind to be able to use these reflections to draw closer to Allah Azza wa Jal.
Here follows excerpts from my 2018 (1439 AH) Ramadan Reflection Journal
16 May 2018
So much is going through my mind. This will be my 6th Ramadan in shaa Allah and so much has changed during these years. Most notable is my financial situation which is on the cusp of disaster, Alhamduliah. I won’t be able to afford much food. And this will be the first Ramadan that I will only be able to afford milk. My darling and beloved brother will provide me with eggs and cheese from the farm, Alhamdulilah. I have not told him about my situation. I just feel like this is an opportunity for me to face my fear of loss, and not having and to really surrender and submit myself to Allah and rely on him.
Despite my challenging financial situation I’m feeling happy and contented. I’m excited about my Tajweed lessons online right after fajr in shaa Allah. I feel it’s a beautiful way to start the day, in Shaa Allah.
Today during tajweed lesson I felt a deep emotion rise up from inside of me and grab hold of my heart. I was reciting Surah Al Ikhlas and for the first time the simplicity yet absolute majesty of the message reverberated inside of me first slowly and then sending tsunami waves to wash away ignorance and allow me to feel the words.
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
My goal is to draw closer to Allah, through regular tajweed lessons, reflecting on the Quran and on my life. My uncle Rudolph died yesterday and his death causes me to remember that one day I too will be in the grave and I ask myself am I ready? Will I have nur (light) in my grave? Will I be handen my book in my right hand on Judgement Day?
17 May 2018
It’s afternoon and there are about 6 or 7 hours of fasting left. Last night I went to bed after Isha and I didn’t wake until the athan for fajr. My last meal was more than 24 hours ago, Alhamdulilah and my last drink of water was at approximately 8pm yesterday. I feel fairly well with only a slight headache, I haven’t had anything to eat. I’ve been reflecting on my journal entry from yesterday and I have realized that I have become so used to having “more than enough” of “enough” that I failed to understand that what I have now regrading food is still enough, and in my humble opinion more than enough. The human body doesn’t need a lot to keep on going. And I find that the blessing comes from realizing how much Allah has given me in my life. It took not having’ to appreciate all that I have had and I am really awestruck by Allah, and I think of one of His beautiful names, Al Razzaq, which means the Total Provider. Those of us who live in comfort don’t always understand that as long we have enough food to provide us with what our body with the nutrients and energy it requires we have enough and all the rest is just excess. I fear that during more financially prosperous times I became complacent. I originally wrote “better times” instead of “more financial prosperous times” however I have realized that these are better times because through my struggle I have developed a deeper and more authentic sense of gratitude for the bounty Allah has provided. You can’t really appreciate the smell of a rose until you’ve experienced the smell of poop, haha. But seriously, I’m humbled by Allah’s generosity. He’s always taken care of me, and now He’s giving me guidance, and that is the best thing of all. It moves me to tears. I love Allah.
The ayat that comes to mind today is from surah Ar Rahman and the first time I remember hearing it made me cry and still each and every time stirs me emotionally.
“So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?” (55:16)
I ask myself this question and I think of which sins I’m unable to leave and of decisions which may be keeping me in a state of denying the favors of Allah. And with a sincere heart I ask Allah to make it easy for me and to provide me with a sound heart, Ameen.
I keep this ayat close to me and reflect on it often to help me remember to not deny my Lord, Rabbi. It’s hard sometimes because in some aspects I am weak, but even this weakness I surrender to Allah and ask for strength.
I also pray for our ummah for those struggling and finding it difficult whatever it may be. Allah only you can help them, please make it easy for them.
18 May 2018
Going without physical food has caused me to reflect on spiritual food. In this blessed month of Ramadan it’s much easier to feed yourself spiritually, but how do you transfer that to daily life the rest of the year? My lack of structure outside of Ramadan makes it difficult for me to maintain the level of Ibadah I have in Ramadan. Therefore, I have put it in my mind that what I put into place in Ramadan is a normal part of my daily life. I had already committed myself to tajweed lessons before Ramadan and intend on continuing, in Shaa Allah. What I would like to add is learning supplications (dua) in Arabic, in Shaa Allah, realistically I can learn one a week, until my Arabic improves. I’m committing myself to drawing closer to Allah, it’s not just something that happens it’s something you need to work on, constantly. May Allah make it easy for me.
24 May 2018
The pull of dunya at my heart is strong. I feel dunya creeping into my heart though my heart was designed for Allah alone. But I can’t lie, I find the balance difficult. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got dunya in my hand where it belongs, and then boom something happens, or worse yet, a slow unnoticeable transition and dunya ends up back in my heart. I cry out to Allah for strength, and I pray that He gives me the courage to choose Allah in those moment when my nafs would rather choose dunya.
اَللّٰهُ يَبۡسُطُ الرِّزۡقَ لِمَنۡ يَّشَآءُ وَيَقۡدِرُ ؕ وَفَرِحُوۡا بِالۡحَيٰوةِ الدُّنۡيَا ؕ وَمَا الۡحَيٰوةُ الدُّنۡيَا فِى الۡاٰخِرَةِ اِلَّا مَتَاعٌ ﴿13:26﴾
“Allah grants the provision to whomsoever He wills abundantly and grants others in strict measure. They exult in the life of the world, although compared with the Hereafter, the life of the world is no more than temporary enjoyment.”
I try my best to remember that this life is just a temporary enjoyment, and the choices I make now will not be temporary in the sense that they will determine my afterlife. May Allah shower me with His mercy, cause I sure do need it. Ameen.
1 June 2018
This Ramadan has been filled with so many chandler surprises. I am surprised by the power of my own nafs, overwhelmed by the pull of dunya and my struggle to fight back. I’ve been faced with challenges that are exposing my nafs to myself, feeling things I didn’t even know I felt, and having desires I didn’t even know I was possible of. At first it frightened me and actually still does, but then I realized it’s something that can be used to draw closer to Allah. Only He can help me and only He knows my heart. In order to grow and prosper spiritually, I need to face my own darkness and beg Allah for light.
This internal struggle reminds me of that beautiful surah I repeat in every salah.
“You alone we worship and you alone we ask for help.”
Why turn to anyone else when you can run to your Creator?
“Guide us on the Straight Path”
Really what other path is worthy? None, only this blessed one will lead to Paradise. Allah guide me to paradise, spare me from the torments of the grave and the hellfire. Not only for me but for my family, my friends and the Muslim ummah.
Thank you for the struggles, the pain, the joy, the laughter, the tears. Thank you for every moment of my life.
Ramadan feels like it was eons ago. I’ve realized that in order to stay connected I need to continue this journal. It’s now my “rest of the year not just Ramadan reflection journal” in shaa Allah. Today I’m reflecting on my struggles during Ramadan and on my blessings. It’s not thorough to reflect just one month a year, it’s something that I need to do on a daily basis, in Shaa Allah. After all Allah loves consistency.
The main lesson I learned during this Ramadan is the importance of working on your relationship with Allah. Our imaan goes up and down and it is vital to continue working on drawing closer to Allah. The death of my uncle is a reminder that no one knows when their time is up, and it is vital to make deen a daily part of life, through prayer, dua, frequent repentance, and the remembrance of Allah. My goal for the next Ramadan is to have a closer relationship with Allah, in shaa Allah and to work on doing many good deeds so I can be on good standing on Judgment Day in shaa Allah. This is my lifetime goal.
Nour M. Fox