Ramadan is a time when you can really see how much importance you give to your ego. Throughout the year, it can become second nature to assume that when we get angry or get into arguments, that it was due to the shaytan (devil). But during Ramadan, since shaytan is locked up, our damaged selves are laid bare for us. I feel this is also a mercy from Allah because now we can tackle our negative traits with more focus. We can see that outside of Ramadan it has the potential to get worse. So even if we neglect to work too hard on bettering our characters, I feel fasting tends to put the ego in perspective. Even if it is the last few days of Ramadan, fasting truly helps to see that we can argue all we want, but essentially the hunger pains act as a constant reminder of our strife and commitment to Allah. They remind us of what really is important in life. They remind us of those who have these hunger pains all year long. They remind us of how much we truly depend on Allah for all things. Nothing good comes from us alone. Allah is always there. And this hopefully softens our hearts and diminishes our ego. May Allah accept all of our fasts and good deeds and allow us to overcome our ego and be among those who are the best in character. May He protect us all from the shaytan all year long. Ameen.

A while back I watched a lecture on Ramadan by Nouman Ali Khan. In it he describes beautifully some aspects regarding the Quran. He discusses when Adam (A) and Hawa came down to earth from heaven and shaytan (devil) was constantly motivated to lead them astray. Allah said to hold onto the rope of Allah and they will never go astray. The rope of Allah is the Quran. It’s the unbreakable connection between all of us and Allah’s direct word.

This is the month of Quran. But some of us have been taught to solely reap the benefits of Quran through recitation alone. Recitation is very important and does bring a huge sense of peace to the heart. But that was never the sole purpose of the Quran. To hold onto the rope of Allah, we have to commit to reflecting on the Quran. Changing our monotonous attitude into an attitude of wonder and amazement at how relatable the Quran is to us in our daily lives. How it brings us peace in our day to day interactions and how it helps us fulfill our purpose in life. We also have to have an open attitude. What I mean is, it’s ok to take from the Quran when it benefits us, but we also have to reflect on what Allah wants from us. Only then are we truly holding tight to the rope and only then will we always be safe from shaytan. May Allah make us people who hold tight to the rope of Allah. Ameen.

One of the things I often ponder while staring at my 3 month old baby while she sticks her fingers in her mouth and looks at me curiously, is , how in the world will I raise this human being to be a good person? Ok, I also am wondering how she can fit her entire hand in her mouth too, but that’s a topic for another day.

I know that my parenting journey will be full of mistakes and lessons learned on the way, yet in the end I can only pray that I instill some of the traits and qualities that my own parents and my husband’s parents tried to instill in us. Some of the most important things I found are:

  • Forgive and Forget
    • Whenever I had a problem with anyone or anything, my mother would listen to my struggles and rant with me, and then in the end say “Let’s drop it, thank them for what they’ve given you and let’s move on” This mentality has helped me so much in not holding on to issues that once happened. It’s about taking a step back and making everything a little less dramatic than how you were portraying it in your head, and that alone makes all the difference in keeping your own sanity and not caring about what others think or say to you at times.
  • Never discriminate
    • Something I learned from my parents is to always be humble no matter how high your economic or social status may be. That is to never joke about someone’s name or ethnicity/race/culture, and to take them for what they are on the inside instead of relying on generalizations to judge certain people. It’s also to never go down to someone’s level when they discriminate against you and always react as though it doesn’t bother you, because it shouldn’t.
  • Thinking Good of Others
    • This is one that my in laws are really good examples of. They always think positive of people and look on the good side of things. Something I may be critical of initially would be changed by the way they see things which is always a positive perspective. This is the key to their own happiness and I realize it is an excellent quality to have and to instill in my children by trying to be this way as well.
  • Be wise and think before you speak
    • My father always shows this one by example by staying silent in certain conversations and listening to the other person and then carefully explaining his point. You tend to listen to those who are speaking calmly and those who are definitely wise in their thoughts and actions.

Ramadan is a chance to change yourself for the better. It’s a chance to help renew your own self and get rid of bad habits. It is also a chance to strengthen ties with your family. Because you can’t really do anything else, it’s an opportunity to spend some time with your family when otherwise you wouldn’t have. It’s also a time to come together and eat together as a family over Suhoor or Iftar. No matter how early Suhoor is, it’s important to try to spend some quality time with your family because there is blessing in that. Since our hearts are softened and Shaytan is locked up, it is that much easier to try to look past our differences in our families and just focus on being more positive and giving time to your parents, children, siblings, and/or cousins.Once we realize that we should put family as a priority before anyone else, we learn that family is truly everything and the reason behind our happiness and reassurance in life.

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