The Islamic Garden
Will You Lose Your Identity
or Find It?
Sometimes in life we feel that things are spiraling downward. Sometimes life takes on a slow, easygoing atmosphere. It can be like that in Ramadan. It is so easy to become bored and forget who we are and who we can be.
At the beginning of Ramadan we often feel excited. But after the initial buzz, there is danger that feelings of apathy will start to seep in. The challenge is whether or not we succumb to these feelings and just drift along or whether we make positive things happen this blessed month.
Something for Your Way of Life
Being a Muslim in today's world is not always an easy thing. It takes knowledge, practice, commitment, patience, and reliance on Almighty Allah to stay on the right track. This might sound easy, but when tests come along — and they invariably do — we may or may not make the mark.
Speaking of being tested in life, who said that we would not be tested in the Ramadan? If we really understand that we face tests all our life, we will realize that Ramadan is also a test; to see what we will do with the time we have on our hands.
Once you realize this, it will be easy to see the need to gain knowledge and start practicing Islam more. This means performing the five daily prayers, fasting more sincerely, dressing modestly (women wear hijab, but modesty also applies to men), giving charity, preparing to perform Hajj, as well as carrying out our duties toward the family.
Once you get that sorted out, you can branch out into serving the community and spreading the message of Islam, which is, after all, about mercy, forgiveness, and seeking the pleasure of Almighty Allah.
Your Body's Rights
Another part of Islam that is sometimes overlooked is the need to be fit and healthy.
Being fit makes us feel better about ourselves and also makes us more motivated to be better and develop ourselves.
If a Muslim has more energy and health to work for his family or gain knowledge or help others, he will undoubtedly benefit himself and others more. Ramadan is a great time to concentrate on good nutrition and take on healthy habits. It all starts with a plan.
Take some time and sit with someone you know and trust and make a plan that matches what you need to improve in yourself. It might be losing some weight, or gaining some; it might be getting fit or getting fitter!
Don't forget that part of having a healthy lifestyle is getting a good night's sleep. Staying up all night and sleeping during the day is a bad habit that negatively affects your biological clock and how you feel each day. People often feel sluggish in Ramadan because they fail to get enough sleep. Watching TV can tempt us away from getting that sleep.
Discover Who You Are
As we experience life, meet new people, and venture forth, we learn about ourselves; we learn about what we can do, what we like to do, and what we do not.
We also see how other people react to us, and all this helps us to see ourselves more clearly. So part of knowing who we are, is interacting with others. If we stay isolated, like in front of the computer all day or reading all day or listening to an iPod all day, we are not improving our own self-concept or our self-esteem.
We all know that life is full of challenges and it takes courage to face them on a daily basis. If we fail to do this, we will not have the chance to stretch ourselves out and see who we really are.
Almighty Allah created us as social creatures — we need other people and they need us. Ramadan is a great time to reach out to others and engage in conversation or to take part in whatever activities are taking place.
Be a part of what is happening and if nothing is happening, then look for ways to make it happen and join forces with others who think like you.
The Idea of Time
Wasted time causes some kind of pain within us. If we look back on time wasted, we have a certain kind of negative feeling. Maybe we have all felt this at some point of our lives, so the lesson we should learn is not to repeat it.
It would be great if we could perceive how we would feel if we miss out on lost chances and so use wisdom and be determined not to waste time, to avoid regret altogether.