Written by Naman Siad
Sadness is not unprecedented in Islamic tradition. Our most beloved role models from Prophets to Sahabah have all experienced sadness, anxiety, and difficult obstacles in life. Often we are fed this narrative that there is no room for sadness in the hearts of “strong believers”, that exhibiting sadness is a form of being ungrateful for the blessings we are given. I have felt this especially in recent times. Constantly feeling that tension between feeling sad about the loss of normality, and feeling guilty for feeling that way when the daily death toll exceeds 800 here in the UK. How can I be sad about missing being with friends and loved ones during Taraweeh and Iftar when there are people entering Ramadan with the fears of food insecurity or mourning the loss of a loved one?
This Ramadan has approached differently to other years. Whether it was in the middle of an exam period or during the long summer working hours, I have always felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be. Stumbling to cut off bad habits that have grown throughout the year, days before or trying to play catch up with the list of goals I still haven’t achieved from last Ramadan, I always felt like I was rushing haphazardly into the month. This Ramadan; however, comes at a time unlike any other.
Our hearts are confused, filled with fear and uncertainty, and a collective yearning for our former daily lives that we often took for granted. For the first time, we have all had to take a pause, allowing our minds and thoughts to catch up. The slow removal of the day-to-day distractions has forced so many of us to truly look inwards. In a strange way, it has felt like a sort of preparation for the introspection and reflection that is asked of us during Ramadan. What other time have we felt like life has slowed down like this, ready to welcome Ramadan’s embrace? Ramadan, with its blessings and light, is almost like a refuge, arriving to heal the hearts of so many of us who feel broken.
If I’ve reflected on anything in these times, it is to be kinder to ourselves. To give ourselves that space to feel. And to use this Ramadan to turn to Allah (SWT) as our source of comfort in such a strange and often terrifying time. To turn to Allah (SWT) to heal our hearts in a time where everything feels uncertain and grim. And to additionally be there for one another. This Ramadan will not be easy for many of us. Isolation, while good for deep reflection, can lead us to feel alone and helpless, a void of that warm community feeling that Ramadan is usually associated with. Now more than ever, it is important we show up for each other in whichever way we can. Checking in on friends who are experiencing this Ramadan alone, helping the most vulnerable members of our community get through the month, this month will be an opportunity to truly heal our communities, our homes, and our hearts.
In a time where silver linings have been scarce, may Allah fill our hearts with His light and blessings this Ramadan. May He (swt) provide ease for those who are carrying heavy burdens on their hearts and for those who will be tested this Ramadan. And may He (swt) allow this Ramadan to be a collective healing for us all. Ameen. Ramadan Kareem.
Thank you Naman for your resonating and healing words.