Written by Iqra Yousaf
Ramadan during this pandemic may seem disheartening but in some instances, it is a blessing in disguise. The ideal time for reflection of our small privileges and blessings we never took much time to consider.
So far is has been beautifully challenging. Encompassing a rollercoaster of emotions (and I am not the emotional type). I approached this Ramadan with the ‘usual’ mindset + some renewed intentions. I, yet another wayfaring traveller in hope of discovering myself, wanting to strengthen my relationship with my Rabb and attempting to understand this dunya we call home. This beloved month of reconnecting, detoxing, replenishing and reviving traditions, all in the hope of finding sukoon (peace of mind). We present forth our tired hearts, parched lips and khawahish (wishes) with complete umeed (hope) in our Rabb.
I go to greet my Rabb, after eating suhoor. I don’t know how to explain it but reciting the Qur’an in the early hours of the coming day is a feeling like no other. I reside to my room, my family beside me in a state of dhikr. And as I turn each page, I can feel my heart lighten, the warmth, tranquillity and security of each verse, as it escapes my lips.
By now hours have passed. I am crossed legged on my janamaz (prayer mat) having prayed. I now and again find myself pondering on why I am struggling, stumbling on my words, why are the tears not flowing though my heart is aching. Then at times I have found myself filled with this emotion I can’t explain. It is as if my heart is being reassured, as there is a deep sigh of relief and a tear trickles down my cheek.
One of our traditions during Ramadan as a family is we tune into Shan-e-Ramazan, (a Pakistani Ramadan programme) that tells you stories of the prophet (peace be upon him) giving life lessons, our family favourite Naat-Khua’an’s make an appearance and has beautiful tilawats (Qur’an recitations). It ends on the Maulana making a beautiful dua, that never fails to hit a chord. As he finishes up, our hands remain raised as we make our personal dua’s. Thinking of our loved ones. Those that are close and far. Living and departed. Blood and water. Soothed and aching. Our dastarkhan (table spread) laid in front of us. One is teary, another’s stomach rumbles, the other announces there is a minute remaining, we grab our dates. We break our fast by reciting the dua in unison. It is just a beautiful moment that lasts for only a couple of minutes but remains in our hearts for a lifetime. There is so much peace in that moment, as we delve into worlds of our own, forgetting about the chaos of this dunya. Just ourselves surrounded by loved ones.
I find immense comfort in these moments of solitude. A nasheed playing in the background, the occasionally tears racing down. Although on the surface I am unsure as to why I am in this state, in my heart I know. My Rabb knows. For he knows every tear I have shed for my loved ones. For the times when my heart has sunk in sadness and despair. For the countless, untold battle fought. Undoubtedly, for every “Ya Allah”, “Ya mere Rabb” that have escaped from my quivering lips. And though my dua’s may be a secret to the world. The sound of this weary heart resonates in the heavens. Soon it will find its home. Soon it will settle. Soon it will heal. May Allah’s Nur (light of God) enter our wounded hearts. But this isn’t my promise. This is the promise of my Rabb.
Featured photography by Dana Mahmoud @dana.mahh
Thank you Iqra, for sharing such a beautiful and deeply comforting and resonating reflection.