Day 14 of Ramadan

At first I was not sure if I would even be in a state to write this post.

In the beginning, I really wished this didn’t happen and that I could partake in the full blessings of this month at this time.

But I realize not being able to do so is also a test from Allah (swt). How am I going to use my time during these days? Am I going to revert back to my non-Ramadan routine because technically I can? Or am I going to embrace the fact that there are many ways to draw closer to Allah (swt) – not just one, or two, or three?

I think I have chosen the latter for the most part.

Nothing is going to be perfect. You won’t be able to reach all your goals in life, even despite your best efforts. Because in the end, you do not control your external circumstances. All you control is your reaction to them.

As much as I am now aware of cultural baggage and being mindful of not letting it wear me down, during Ramadan, I still hold onto some vestiges of it. I think it stems from my understanding of modesty and perhaps even shame. In my household, not only were taboo topics never talked about, we couldn’t even say the word. We used code words. In some sense, it is good to have a sense of shame. But it affected me in such a way that when I no longer needed to be ashamed, I couldn’t let go.

This week, I’ve been facing some demons of the past that continue to haunt me in my present. They are not evil things, but they are things that torment me and take me away from full tawakkul (trust in God). I wrote about it in my last post, i.e. not comparing myself to others. But this week’s issue was more than just that. I was comparing myself to women I have never met, women who don’t share the same past as me, yet share the same present. And what they did to change their predicament was just too painful for me. Because they embraced the one thing that I was told I had to get rid of, the thing that made me feel the most shame and well, ugly. And to be a woman and to be considered ugly… I hate that it affected me the way that it did, but it did.

It still does. My self-worth is so tied to this. But it’s also so fragile. Because it’s so easily broken.

But these feelings I have had over the past couple of days, even if they pale in comparison to the trials that others face, are not for naught. It is my task to gain that level of tawakkul, the firm belief that only He will get me through this. And if the outcome is not one I want, that I will be content with it all the same.

As much as I want this particular thing or that particular thing (and with both, my intentions are good, I say to myself anyway) if Allah (swt) does not Will it for me, then that’s it. Khallas! (As my dad used to say ALL the time after his one-year stint in Jeddah). But the thing is: maybe God wants me to do both and will allow me to have both things in my life. But to think it’s impossible, that I am not capable of doing both or either one is limiting Allah (swt)’s Qadr (power).

It’s interesting how my last name is derived from that very attribute of Allah. May it be a reminder that the Qadr of Allah is greater than any physical or mental tribulation I face.

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