Culture & Society · Education & Career · Faith & Spirituality · Recollections & Reflections

Where do we go from here?

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, sipping my morning chai as I type away.

I’m not really sure how to start blogging again after my month’s hiatus. But I know that I cannot without at least attempting to give the previous month its due.

Eid began yesterday. Ramadan is officially over. It feels weird. For a second yesterday, I was almost aghast to see a Muslim man eating during the day. I actually felt kind of sad on Thursday night, knowing that Ramadan was over. I was going to miss the quiet.

But did I make the most of the month?

It’s a question I ask myself year after year. Even though I have written elsewhere that small and sustainable is better than short-term and grandiose and then reverting back to the old way of doing things after, the self-critic in me lingers. I should be doing what other people are doing. Why isn’t Ramadan my favorite time of the year? I wasn’t able to do a, b, or c.

One thing I have learned — though I have yet to fully internalize — is that people will often make pronouncements that are in some ways skin-deep. I’m not saying it’s not true at times, but it doesn’t always capture the full picture. Or maybe it’s a projection. “If I say I like it, I will actually like it” kind of thing.

Regardless, when measuring yourself to images and projections, you will always come short.

I know my body. I know that not getting sleep can have potentially damaging effects. And if that meant that I prayed only what was required at home instead of going to the mosque to do extra prayers, then I had to make peace with my decision and pray that God accepted the other things I did.

I’ve over-exerted myself while fasting before. I do not want to go through that again, because it affected more than just myself. In fact, I think that was a lesson for me from God. I have a tendency to take the “all-or-nothing” approach. I’ve had a lot of unlearning to do, sure, in the past 5 or 6 years. But I can’t blame that one place entirely. I had that tendency in me even before I began working there. That place only brought it out to the fore — and then God forced me to take a break.

But that break was the best thing that happened to me. Not in the way I had envisioned, of course. I chuckle at my naive loftiness and failed goals now. But maybe those weren’t really failures at all. Maybe they were small steps taking me in the direction I needed to go. Or, ended up going in.

Yesterday, while I was listening to the imam recite Surat al-Aʻla during Eid prayer, I started to cry. His recitation was so beautiful; I had not heard a qari like that in person in years. It’s a surah, especially its last verse, which has given me a sense of solace and reassurance for quite some time. To hear it again yesterday, even though it is an oft-recited surah, felt like another reassurance.

But I don’t want this deep sense of awe I experienced yesterday morning to be a once-a-year thing. It should be something I tap into daily. Knowing that God is the Creator of all the worlds, it shouldn’t be hard. All I need to do is take the time to reflect and see beyond the empirical. Because God is there at all times; it is only we human beings who are negligent.

5 thoughts on “Where do we go from here?

  1. I’ll say one thing, I get those deep senses of awe very, very rarely. But I’ve never forgotten a single time that it happened. Hope your Eid’s been well, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, I think it’s much more affective when those deep moments of awe are rare. What I suppose I was trying to say is to have more moments of connection in my everyday. To look at the beauty of a tree and be reminded of Allah. Those are things we should be doing, but I don’t always do it. Alhamdulillah, my Eid has been good. Hope yours has too!

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  3. Loved this post, Rafia! I can definitely relate. It helps me when I have regular time with God and meditating on His teachings. I also have recently learned the power of “the best yes”——-basically, setting boundaries in regards to various activities so you can take the best care of yourself. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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