Ramadan started off pretty weak for me. I didn’t pray as much nor did I read many pages of the Quran. There’s a certain realization that hits you during Ramadan. It’s the realization that it’s all you, not Shaytan (Satan) who is locked away during the holy month. That’s the realization that hit me this year. It’s all me. Maybe I really am not as religious as I thought I was. It’s easy to blame Shaytan for the sins you commit during the year, but what about our deeds during Ramadan? Who is to blame for the bad deeds? 

#1: I am way too invested in this dunya that I have forgotten about the afterlife. I care way too much about this world. I want to succeed and become rich. (Oh come on, you didn’t think this post would be humorless now, did you?) It’s true, though. I have spent too much time on studying and working and trying to succeed and have a lavish lifestyle. But this is all materialistic. Yes, Allah commands us to seek knowledge and help others; we should not be idle souls. But maybe I focused too much on that and forgot that I have to thank Allah and worship Him as well. I should pray five times a day (or at least strive to). I should try to read the Quran whenever I have time. It’s a small gesture of gratitude for all of the great opportunities I have received thanks to Allah.

#2: I have pretty much received everything I have prayed for. I have made many duas asking for materialistic and not so materialistic things, and Allah has granted me those wishes. I am blessed to receive His kindness and mercy, but I have done nothing to repay Him. This ties along with the previous point. I am way too invested in this world and what people think of me that I have forgotten to thank Allah. 

#3: Fasting is the one form of worship that I truly enjoy partaking in. During this Ramadan, there were two times where my whole family ended up sleeping in during Suhoor and didn’t hear the alarm go off. Both of those times, my mother, alhamdulillah bless her, fasted without eating Suhoor. I only did that once, but during that 24 hour long fast I realized that fasting is the one thing I truly enjoy. It’s the one form of worship that I perform from the bottom of my heart. I feel at peace; I feel one with Allah during my fast. I could not fast the second time for lady reasons. During the week of not fasting, I feel terrible. I want to fast; I want to pray and read the Quran. 

#4: Helping others and charity is another aspect of Islam I truly enjoy. When we visit Pakistan, we see beggars on the streets or sitting outside shops asking for some money. Usually people tell us to ignore them, they’re not really poor. Sometimes we turn a blind eye to them, but other times we don’t and we give them whatever loose change we have with us. One time, we went to a market. There was an old man, possibly blind, sitting on the floor with a little bowl. He wasn’t asking for money, but some people would throw some change into the bowl. My mom and I decided to give him a 100 rupees (which is about a dollar, but you can buy a few pieces of roti with it), and these ladies walking by stared at us like we had two heads. I just think that if you have the money and ability to help out others, then you should. You will be rewarded for your charity by Allah. There’s also a sense of happiness you feel after you donate or give money to someone who needs it. I tried my best to help out people this Ramadan whether it was money-wise or doing a simple thing as taking their shift at work because they felt sick.

#5: Praying does help you feel better. I suffer from the occasional burst of depression. There’s always a lingering feeling of sadness every day, but then there are those episodes of sadness where I feel nothingness and experience haunting thoughts. Those episodes continued to occur during Ramadan, but after praying or reading the Quran, I felt a bit better. My heart felt more at ease. These episodes were exceptionally strong this Ramadan due to the genocide of Gazans occurring in the Middle East. I won’t talk politics, but those few words will provide a hint as to which side I support. Prayer and reciting the Quran made me feel better.

I won’t make any promises. I hope to continue worshiping and praying even after Ramadan ends. I am a self-confessed Ramadan Muslim. Usually, this doesn’t last, but I’m hoping I find the strength to remain somewhat pious. There is a week left of Ramadan. I will start fasting again tomorrow, iA. I hope to make the best of the last week of Ramadan.