This Ramadan was very memorable to me because I went through many tests and trials. I also saw much of my family go through their own struggles as well. I realized I need to turn to Allah and seek His help in hopes that He will answer my duaa. Making duaa for something you need at that moment requires a ton of patience. It’s a test in and of itself to wait for His answer. Sometimes that answer may be in the next life for you, or that answer may be in the form of something good brought to you during another situation you need help in. The key is knowing and believing that your Lord is there for you, and that He is always there to listen to your worries and troubles. He is always there to help you. That should suffice in helping keep you patient in this life. Something else that truly helps is making tahajjud prayer in Ramadan. The nights are so short, so this is to our advantage that it is made easier for us to wake up and pray to our Lord and make duaa for what you want and need in life. Allah is listening to you. This ramadan was so memorable because even though I was tested, making duaa during the blessed month turned out to be very fruitful. I was able to see the benefit in all of these tests that were given to me and my family. I was able to internalize the struggle and be grateful that Allah brought me through it. Be patient, because it truly pays off, for Allah is always with you.

I’ve noticed something as I’ve gotten older. People sometimes shun the idea of being gentle. Having a tender heart that feels is something not typically viewed as strong or brave. It’s as though not feeling much with your heart and being able to go through life mastering this is more stronger and helpful in the long run. That’s the idea anyway. But when it plays out in reality, a lack of gentle emotions and gentle behavior tends to create more troubles. People can’t relate to someone who is rigid in manner and behavior. They can acknowledge and work with it but they can’t relate and get to the core. Because we connect with our hearts. And if we have locked up our heart then we have locked up that ability to connect. Maybe there is good reason why it’s locked up. But it’s time to open it. Especially when it comes to humans and children in general. Showing them our gentle emotions and allowing them to feel their gentle emotions lets them work through it to be more capable of handling them when they come again. It’s a healthy way for them to be able to understand something they don’t understand much of. And it’s something that heals relationships. Just being gentle and removing the sarcasm and jokes from your outer layer. Even though it can make you vulnerable to pain when someone else doesn’t view it as strong or makes fun of it, that’s actually only because their heart isn’t yet gentle. Maybe after seeing you gentle they may change. Whatever the case, you are responsible for you and your heart is meant to feel softly. And you have to start by being kind and gentle to yourself. Forgive yourself and start new.

The world has been going through some very harsh times. Not only the earth but also its people. People are being slaughtered and shot in games of war. Lives are being treated like currency. Exchanging this life for that. All without the say of the people involved. When the news at home has stories of all this fighting and hurt and all of our social media pages reaffirm what’s going on, what are we to do? What’s missing?

On a minimal scale, we are missing empathy. That powerful ability to understand someone else. To be able to put ourself in their shoes and feel what they feel as though it’s our own pain, our own hurt. Empathy should be in our hearts. It should drive us to feel the pain of others’ losses. It should drive us to donate out of the comfort of our homes to those who live and eat cardboard boxes. It should drive us to use our resources to reach out. It should drive us to be able to recognize someone’s difference and still accept them as our fellow humans. We are the inheritors of the earth, if we don’t take care of its people, then what are we even doing?

There’s a need in our world today to disconnect. Disconnect from the screens. The internet. The tv. The iPad. The phone. The news. The gossip. The trends. The status updates. But what do you do when you disconnect? Something that we have forgotten is the rest of our five senses due to our staying so connected to technology in the age of information.
Sometimes it helps to remember things we used to do before we became so dependent on our phones and screens. We used to talk to people one on one without looking down at our phones. We used to play and engage with children and be present. We used to be mindful when we ate and actually enjoyed majority of our meals. We used to go to the park and actually look around and feel the breeze and notice the green trees and grass and hear the children’s laughter. We used to walk and feel the ache in our feet and the feel the distance in our muscles. We may still be doing many of these things but we sometimes lose mindfulness of the smallest activities. We just add a screen to the mix and we aren’t fully there anymore. This Ramadan I noticed myself letting go of screens and actually connecting to the world around me. The world that existed before and the world that will be there long after. But the world that is ever changing and I’m missing it because of my screen.

May Allah help us all to create healthy habits with our electronic devices. May we engage and connect to all the blessings around us. Ameen.

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