When you think about Ramadan you associate it mostly with the nights, beginning at sunset. It feels like all the active worship is happening at night, the constant prayer and dhikr, forcibly waking up earlier than usual just to eat to fuel yourself for the rest of the day. The recitation of the Quran out loud, beatific and ethereal.
The day time feels like the bigger struggle, especially when it’s summer. Pushing yourself against the current, against what feels normal and natural. Desperately ignoring the questionable breath and the parched tongue. The murmur of your stomach before the hunger pangs strike. Fatigue that sprouts its way through your dry bones. You want to sleep until sunset, you want to stave away all eighteen hours, a thousand minutes you want blended into one. Even the last hour feels like it cruelly trickles by, each second dripping away at an infinitesimally small rate.
Surely this a punishment than a blessing?
But then, somewhere along the half way mark of the month, when the moon shines boldly, a lamp in a cloudless sky—something changes. Your body begins to weather the routine. In fact, not eating allows it to heal. And somehow, you need to heal too. Not your physical self, but the self you’ve been neglecting for the past year. The self you’ve allowed to be beaten and bruised because you’re not remembering. Remembering Him.
In Ramadan, it always feels like time has stood still, especially during the day. It’s as if this is on purpose, so that we savour every second and try to fill it with Allah’s remembrance. Try to focus our life and our very breath, our being and our bodies, just for His Sake. The reason why we were created and why we live on this muddled planet, a home that we often feel confused and unsafe in.
But in these drawn out moments where we often find ourselves struggling to push ourselves to the ‘finish line’, that’s where we realise why we’re doing it. We’re forcing ourselves out of a natural habitat so that we become more conscious of God in our lives.
When you think about it, that’s a natural objective in itself—once we emerge from Ramadan like butterflies out of a safe cocoon, we return to the regular ebb and flow of life with a little more mindfulness that our ordinary lives are connected to One transcendentally extraordinary.