Farewell Ramadan

Dr Teresa Lesher

Although the hardship of Ramadan is about to end and festivities of Eid are about to begin, there will be sadness in every devout Muslim’s heart that Ramadan has passed. Barely having had their last breakfast at sunset, they will immediately start looking forward to the next Ramadan and counting the months and weeks until it comes again. They will begin to greet one another with the phrase “Aasakom min awadah” which means, “May you repeat it.”

Some people may tilt their head in confusion and wonder why would anyone look forward to a month of daily 16-hour fasts in 45 degree temperatures? What is so special about Ramadan? First of all, Ramadan is an opportunity to express your devotion to Allah. Everything on the earth was created for us, according to many verses in the Quran (eg 2:29).

Many use their time and the earth’s resources to satisfy themselves through acquiring things, entertaining themselves and seeking sensual pleasures. Doing so is not necessarily forbidden but it shouldn’t be the goal of one’s’ life. So why were we created? Allah gave us life and He hopes that we will voluntarily give it back to him through worship and submission to His will.
Almost everything we do in life has some sort of return for us, even if it is done purely for Allah’s sake. For example, when we give charity, others benefit and we feel their happiness too. But fasting in Ramadan is a chance to show our devotion to our Lord, because nobody benefits from the fast. Nobody even knows if you are fasting, so this expression of faith is purely for Allah.

Another reason many people are sad to bid Ramadan farewell is because the atmosphere of intensified worship and charity will pass, as well as the extra rewards that we are promised. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that one who fasts Ramadan with faith and hope in Allah’s reward will have his past sins forgiven, and. One who prays at night in Ramadan with faith and hope in Allah’s reward will also have his past sins forgiven.

And only in Ramadan can we experience Lailatul-Qadr, whose merit is worth a thousand months, according to the Quran. These holy days and nights are treasures to devout Muslims. And soon this unique holy season will end and life will go on as usual. I will miss Ramadan and all the lessons it teaches me. I have learned so much about myself – about how my body can adjust to extreme circumstances, and about how dedicated I can be when I am striving to accomplish something important.

I learn about my weaknesses too, and without the usual distractions, I am able to pinpoint specific attitudes and habits that I need to change. I will miss Ramadan for the brotherhood and sisterhood that is so apparent as Muslims join together in one great project, which is fasting for a month while striving to accomplish the most good and expressing our gratitude and reliance through frequent prayer and supplication. Everyone will miss this immense opportunity to draw closer to Allah.

Once Ramadan has passed, the focus on worship and charity will pass and mundane duties and distractions will creep back into our lives. I will miss the feeling of lightness when my stomach is empty and my head is clear – when I am naturally drawn to thoughts of God and His abundant blessings. I will miss the joy of breaking fast, and the camaraderie of fellow fasters who gathered for the meal. I will miss the attention to the Quran, and routinely waking up in the last part of the night to pray.

The moments of Ramadan are slipping quickly away, and the opportunity to demonstrate such devotion in solidarity with all Muslims worldwide is passing. Farewell, Ramadan, we will miss you. As we start counting the days until your return, stay in our memories and inspire us to carry on with our worship through fasting, reading Quran and praying late at night. Be with us, Ramadan, throughout the coming year.

Courtesy of the TIES Center: The TIES Center aims at empower Kuwait’s expats through social and educational services that promote a positive and productive role in society, and to facilitate opportunities for intra- and interfaith interactions that promote social solidarity. For more information, you can contact TIES at Tel: 25231015/6; Hotline: 94079777; e-mail: info@tiescenter.net.

By Dr Teresa Lesher