Ramadhan is wonderful. It is a whole month of religious focus and action. And it is intense. Schedules are turned up side down. Breakfasts commenced at nearly 4 a.m. and dinner 17 hours later around 8:30-9:00 p.m this year. What a grueling 29 days!
But, all praises to our Creator, we survived. Lots of people survived. Even thrived. Feeling thankful for that dipping sun which signaled it’s now okay to have water and food again, alHamdulillah (Praise Allah, the Lord of Jesus and Mary and all of us).
At the end of Ramdhan week 1, all of us know exactly how the world’s victims of famine and drought feel. We empathize with their plight in a significant and meaningful way. A way that hopefully spurs a life long shift towards humanitarian-type action be it via du’aa, or giving money, or working for help through policy changes, or offering physical assistance.
We also know what poverty must feel like for the millions who endure it every day of their lives, not just for a mere 29 days. The type of food deprivation that does not necessarily come from famine . . . but rather to have food, only not enough of it to feel satiated.
And we don’t need to look at the food insecurities and poorness within other nations. But rather right here. At home. In America. Yes, there is hunger and poverty in America. And enough of it to be an embarrassment in such a place filled with varying levels of personal and collective wealth.
Most of all, I think Ramadhan makes us all exceptionally emotional. Sensitive to the world’s injustices, to the plight of the less fortunate, and victimization in general.
Ramadhan creates solidarity unlike any other kind known to man.
And while we all gain so much because of Ramadhan despite it’s hardships, we are also happy when it is over. Celebrating on ‘Eid that we faced the going-without challenge and came out stronger.
However, we move on to another challenge: the “challenge” of getting back to “normal” and whatever that now means.
Because, really, what is normal. Sure, we can eat and drink during the day now. But how fulfilling is that after experiencing such depths and breadth of deprivation and the knowledge that there are millions of your brethren who live like that on a daily basis. Who can dare go back to “normal?”
But we must at least get back to somewhat normalized sleep schedules, although we should because of Ramadhan be accustomed to getting out of bed at night to pray. And we must get back to our usual cooking and cleaning routines although we should be so in-tune with the fact that others don’t have kitchens or even homes to live in that we now treasure ours so much more that we make extra efforts to care for them.
I’ve participated in enough Ramadhans (alHamdulillah) to know that it takes a while to get back to our pre-Ramadhan schedules, if indeed we ever do!
And I’ve also learned that one thing will never be the way it was, and that is our hearts. It can’t and shouldn’t go back to being the same.