Friday, 25 July 2014

The End of Ramadan...

Today is the last Friday of Ramadan. 27 days have flown by. I entered Ramadan with so much hope and many prayers, like everyone else, for new beginnings and happy endings. An intense desire to cleanse myself from within through this fasting and remembrance of God. And now we are here, as Ramadan slowly makes its way out, I desperately DESPERATELY want to hold on to it. The 3 am suhoors and late night iftaars. The Jum'ah prayers with multilingual sermons, the intimate encounters with the Qur'an, as I fall in love with again and again.

This Ramadan has been similar but also very different on many accounts. It's the first Ramadan I fasted alone. And I've realized that I'll do everything in my power NOT to have another Ramadan without company. I want to be able to share my Iftar, pray Taraweeh in Jam'ah and be woken up for groggy family suhoors. This Ramadan made me thankful for my umma and uppa - you guys are the reason I love this month so much. You made it special for us. And now, when I am not with you guys, I realize how much of the ease I felt in previous Ramadans was because of you. You never let us know hardship, and for that I am ever grateful. This is an intense gratitude that comes from my heart and makes me well up with tears every time. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

This Ramadan has not all been easy too. As much as it has been about new beginnings, it has also been about ends-bloody ends- for many. The end of innocence, the end of hopes and dreams and wishes. This month saw so much death and destruction. The blood of men, women, and children whose names were erased as they became numbers. It has been a painful month, for those living through the horrors of genocide, plane crashes, and every other incident that results from the slow death of humanity. It has also taken a toll on those watching it unfold from the comfort of their homes. As we see the numbers rising- 200-400-700- we begin to unravel. Undone.
This month I have mourned the deaths of hundreds of my brothers and sisters in humanity. I have felt helpless, angry, and frustrated at my inability to do anything.

But last night was different, today is different. I saw the beginning of something which will blossom into freedom. The culmination of all the stones thrown, the bones broken, the children dead, I see a people rising against oppression, and in my own way I rise with them. I felt peace last night, as I rested my forehead on the ground, thanking God and asking Him for help. It is He alone we turn to and it is He who gives respite. And then I stayed awake to greet the morning, a beautiful morning with a soft, glowing sun. And as I stood there, watching it gracefully make its way up, I felt it in my bones that there is something better in store for all this pain, these tears, this loss. 'Verily after hardship comes ease'.

A while ago, I stood near my window and watched it rain. As a gentle wind caressed my face, and my outstretched hands felt the first drops of rain, I felt hopeful. I closed my eyes and I was at home with family, I was in Malaysia with friends, I was in Palestine with the little kids. Wherever we are, rain doesn't discriminate.
It's with sadness that I bid farewell to this blessed month, but my heart is also content. For Ramadan may be ending, but it is not The End. Not yet.

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