Today • • 18 April

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Reflecting on Ramadhan: Then and Now

12th March is a memorable date for me. This year, it marked the start of Ramadhan. Four years ago, it was the day the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) announced its temporary closure of all mosques; for the disinfection and prevention of COVID-19. 

Four years have passed so quickly. I had written an article too back then - a reflective piece on Shaykh Jihad Brown’s lecture titled “Ramadan Seclusion in a Pandemic: Light in the Darkness.” You can watch it on YouTube and soak in all its wisdom.  

Images of that period remain strongly etched in my memory. The months of Rejab, Sha’ban, and Ramadhan coincided with my school’s term vacation. As the lockdown restrictions came rolling in one by one, my world gradually turned smaller and quieter. 

No school. No social activities. With my family members and I tucked into this one household all day, every day. 

Without mosques to retreat into… Without congregations to break fast and pray with… Without physical gatherings of knowledge and remembrance to attend…  Among other things, I regarded that period as a golden opportunity, gifted by Allah, to embrace aloneness and build a more intimate relationship with Him. 

I wrote in my previous article, “Those three concurrent elements when combined provided much fertile ground for the following to take place: solitude, introspection, and self-purification. As the saying goes, “Rejab is the month to sow the seeds, Sha’ban is the month to irrigate the crop, and Ramadan is the month to reap the harvest.”

It was a difficult time for the entire world. But there were silver linings, hidden blessings. 

Even at this moment, I hold on to some regrets about those months. Things I could’ve done better, things I should’ve taken full advantage of. 

The pandemic is now endemic. Some things have changed, but we’re back to living the way we used to before. There’s no school, but there’s work. My introversion remains while my social life is revived. My entire family is occupied with our individual callings, and the home is only full and warm for a short segment of the night. The mosques are wide open. Teachers as well as lessons are now more accessible thanks to their thrust towards the digital realm.

Sometimes I feel that the world is more noisy, hasty, and superfluous than I am willing to face or bear. But the world is as it is and whatever Allah S.W.T. the Most Wise and Subtle decrees is best. So right now, I am learning to do the opposite: How to be present with Allah – in heart, mind, and body – amidst a sea of people, waves of murmurs, and winds of distraction

Let’s take stock. Rejab and Sha’ban have gone. Today is already the 10th day of Ramadhan. I am sure the rest of the days will also pass in the blink of an eye. We must try to live and leave this month with as little regret as possible.

That is why I sincerely pray that by the end of this special month, I will have gained the skill of being present with Allah S.W.T. - always. No matter where I am or what time of the year and day it is. I hope the same for you. 

Allah S.W.T. mentions, in verse 183 of Surah Al-Baqarah; “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become mindful of Allah.”

May Allah S.W.T. accept our fasting, our striving, our deeds, and our intentions.

I would like to end my sharing with this beautiful verse (psst…check out its tafsir afterward):

Surah Aali ‘Imran Verse 191:
“They are those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth and pray, “Our Lord! You have not created all of this without purpose. Glory be to You! Protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

May Allah S.W.T. grant us truthful nearness to His Qur’an and beloved Prophet ﷺ. 

May Allah S.W.T. strengthen us and the entire ummah. 

May Allah S.W.T. grant us all ultimate victory and triumph.

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