It was about 5.30 in the morning when I heard the echoes of people reciting the Quran from the Surau a few kilometres away from my house. Actually, the air was also filled with the sound of chirping birds, the subtle whistling of the mildly cool wind and the rustling of the trees. It was the music of nature remixed with the lead singer, the Quran reciters. Suddenly, what used to be just some inconspicuous sounds in other months have now magnified during the month of Ramadan.
The quietness of my room wasn’t unsettling; it was rather occupied with peace and contentment.
Peace to me would be like immersing your thoughts with nothingness – not numbness – but purely free from worries of what is about to come. And the physical equivalence to contentment would be like having a cat knead on your chest while you are attentively listening to the sounds of the cat purring (if you are a cat-lover, of course). I guess I am not the only one who feels that Ramadan is a supposed to be a month that is full of peace and blessings. And I wish it isn’t just during Ramadan that I feel this way.
“Live the life like every day is Ramadan, and your Akhirah will be your Eid” – Anonymous
But the reality is, there may be some who might not have yet ‘felt’ Ramadan.
And honestly, I thought my first day of Ramadan was not extraordinary, nor had it been for the past week. It had been okay for the most part, but nothing so transformative, if I am going to be real to myself.
So, that leaves the question of “why am I not ‘feeling’ Ramadan?”, or the question of “why do I feel that it’s just like any other month?”, except that we don’t eat and drink during the day.
Our lives are created by some peaks of great moments, but most days are occupied with mundane routines and responsibilities. There is nothing new about that, and we do need those low moments in our lives to progress. And usually, when our lives are at its climax – overwhelmed with conflict and hardships – only then, we’d be motivated to change to a better state in life.
As a human being, we have the tendency to wait for that ‘moment’ when our lives are at stake – when we feel like our lives are at the edge of a cliff – to change. And if we are lucky enough to stay alive to change, we’d feel as if ‘this is it’.
This leads me to the best Ramadan I had a few years ago when I was in a transformative phase from someone who treated Islam just like a name tag, to someone who finally understood the meaning of life. Because I was going through a ‘moment’ in life. But I didn’t realise that the process of change would go downhill if I also treated this turning point as a ‘moment’. And it went downhill – many times. But it wasn’t made for me to give up, but it was for me to realise that change isn’t a moment.
In other words, the state of our spirituality is continuously in motion; it will always try to find a safe place to settle in. It changes all the time and that’s why we have iman dips. Our physical actions and mentality would continuously fill the gaps within our souls and so, it is up to us what we’d want to satisfy it with. Otherwise, it’d be empty – just like what some people might say when we ask how they feel.
So, if you have a question of “why I am not ‘feeling’ Ramadan?”, it’s okay. It’s good enough that you have asked yourself that question, rather than not asking at all. But if you do feel this way, then start doing. We must work for it. Guidance will come – if God wills it – when we are no longer in a state of denial.
It could be the Ramadan when you finally let go of the past and forgive other people. It could be that you have finally found the courage to heal yourself from something that is holding you back from truly living. It could also be the month when you understand fully to not take things for granted. Whatever Ramadan means to you, as long as it hasn’t left your soul empty, then you’re on to something good.
I mean, it is never too late – whether we are in Ramadan or not. But realise the speciality within this month because good deeds are multiplied and the only month when the door of Jannah is open, while the door of hellfire is closed. So, take as many opportunities as you can, while you can. Without even realising it, you might be surprised that the change that you’ve felt within yourself would soon be translated to your attitude and hence, the motivation to contribute to society.
It is a time to be completely vulnerable in front of your Lord and have those moments only for you. To completely let go of the ego. To ask forgiveness of God and to also, forgive other people. To accept that as Muslims, we will not feel at peace until we fulfil our purpose.
I hope you have your own version of my ‘5.30 am moment’.