I’ve been a committed aka practicing Muslim for a decade. And in that decade, I’ve gone through metamorphosis as a person but my understanding of the deen has remained wooden more or less. I learnt the deen mechanically, almost formulaic. ‘You do x, y and you get z’. I went through a spiritual reform during my stay in Egypt when I learnt the concept of Tawheed in earnest, which made me scrap everything I thought I knew of the deen and start anew. Apart from the daily salawaat and hijaab, nothing much remained of my deen-practicing. I became aloof and distant of anything religious for fear of being sucked into that robotic and tedious way of worship. For years before Egypt I was in constant limbo between extreme devotion and verging on disbelief due to eemaan-fatigue. It tainted my impression of Allaah, and after my renaissance I decided to wing it and so I’d pray and listen to alternative pop and trap music in between. Not masking my brokenness.I’ve remained in that makeshift phase for a few years now and this Ramadaan I wanted to revisit and revise my understanding of Ramadaan. It’s not going to be saccharine eemaan-boosters. It’ll be raw, uncomfortable but above all, painfully honest. So I’d say, unless you’re prepared for that, skip these posts. I need to have these thoughts publicly for my own healing and progress as well as that of others seeking to reframe their spirituality into something meaningful and personalized.
Ramadaan is meant to be a time to reshift the mind from the autopilot way of thinking. We have something like 60 000 thoughts a day and most of it is stuff that’s been on repeat for decades. So a drastic change realigns the mind to its natural disposition: stillness. By distancing oneself from permissible habits, there is a gap that invites self-reflection and inner silence. It’s in this inner silence that one can reconnect to Allaah. You can’t pour anything into a full cup. Likewise, a noisy mind can’t hear.
But because that inner silence is so frightening and reminds us of everything we’ve been running away from, most people replace that gap with food mania; thinking about, preparing, cooking, searching,tasting, eating iftar meals. It’s become the central point.
The innate point with Ramadaan is often lost in between the pots and pans. And to make up for this failed response to a call for reflection, to rid oneself of the guilt of ignoring the restlessness of the soul, people rush to taraweeh in a bid to tick the boxes. Most come out of it not rejuvenated but relieved.
(tbc in shaa Allaah)