“I feel nervous”, “How will I do it?” and other such phrases have crossed my mind just a few weeks ago, as I pushed through the working days in a fast-paced, on-the-go, on-your-feet-all-day kind of job in a kindergarten. While the excitement for Ramadan fills the air, while the countdown begins, while the pre-Ramadan workshops held at various masajid that help us get prepared are being planned, and the list of pre-Ramadan preparations that go on and on fill the air, I felt somewhat different this time around.
Working in an environment such as this brings with it the joys of being a teacher and caregiver to many young ones, even if being unwell at the same time is all part of the job. This being my first few months in this working environment, I am always accompanied with exhaustion at the end of the day. I am certain that all working mothers and of course working fathers also experience these same feelings of exhaustion every single day. But for me personally, this being my first time, anxiety about going into Ramadan like this sometimes gets the better of me. Sometimes, I take time for myself to introspect, telling myself that Allah is indeed Ar-Raheem – The Most Merciful, and He will surely help me in my times of need, making this upcoming Ramadan as beautiful, peaceful, warm, and amazing as ever. Then, there are times when I am confronted with the overwhelming feelings of tiredness and the struggle to get through the day, thereby throwing myself into worry.
Is this really the way a person is supposed to feel about the most beautiful, soul-rejuvenating, community-building, doors-wide-open-to-attain-Jannah, time of the year? I think not. While I feel a certain degree of anxiety about working during Ramadan, I still maintain the belief that it will be the most amazing time of the year – the time to cleanse and revitalize, to increase in Ibadah, to learn something new and give of myself more than any other time of the year.
I still hold fast to the belief that Ramadan, while it may be more hectic and eventful than before, it will be the time that I most yearn for within the depths of my soul. Yes, maybe a lot of first-time teachers like myself quite possibly feel the same level of anxiety. Surely, I cannot be the only one. So many others will be going through different degrees of tests. Yes, many persons will be going into this year’s Ramadan without the ones closest to them; certainly, this year many Muslims will be going into Ramadan struggling day to day with oppression, torment and Islamophobia being meted out to them and yes, many first time mothers and fathers who face sleepless nights may also be asking themselves, “how will we cope?” However, Allah has assured us in the Qur’an,
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient.”
[Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 155].
After much talks with myself and my co-workers who have been fasting the month of Ramadan while on the job for many more years than I have, I have come to realize that maybe, just maybe, I have been thinking too much about something in the future that, at the end of the day, will all be in the Hands of Allah. Yes, I may feel overwhelmed at times, and the worry about having a really tough day whilst fasting the month of Ramadan has crossed my mind. But I have to understand that, whatever our situation, whatever we will face, no matter how easy or tough, or for how long it will last, it will all ultimately be in the Hands of Allah and all we can do is to Trust in Him and make dua’, sincere dua’ for His aid and support. Calling upon Allah in our times of need is one of the greatest forms of ‘Ibaadah that we can engage in. Calling upon Allah will most certainly bring the comfort and resolve that the heart so desperately needs when faced with difficult circumstances.
We are comforted by the words of our Rasool ﷺ when we are told,
عجبا لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله له خير، وليس ذلك لأحد إلا للمؤمن : إن أصابته سراء شكر فكان خيراً له، وإن أصابته ضراء صبر فكان خيراً له
“How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” [Muslim]
No matter what struggles we each face in our lives, be it big or small, daily or otherwise, I say, let’s do it together! Let us all, as one Ummah, hold strong together and struggle together for the sake of Allah. Struggle to hold fast to the Rope of Allah and push with everything we have, to make this the best Ramadan we have ever witnessed. Allah tells us:
وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا
“…And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.”
[Surah at-Talaq, Ayat 2-3]
Yes, it may seem a bit difficult this time around, yes it may seem like we have heavy loads upon our shoulders to bare and the thought of going into Ramadan feeling like that seems daunting. But know that Ramadan may be exactly what we need this time in our lives to ease the difficulties and burdens we feel. Ramadan and all the bounties Allah bestowed within may be exactly what we need to ease our fears and our anxieties, our frustrations and worry, our emotional turmoil and our anger or grief.
Shouldn’t we then look forward with great hope, expectation and open arms to the coming of the month of Ramadan and leave the rest up to Allah, knowing He will take care of our affairs, if we just trust Him?
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