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Ramadan Prep 2014 as a Struggling Muslimah

Bismillah:

Asalamo’alaykum warahmatullah,

Ramadan’s almosttt here inshaa’Allah and I can feel the excitement and the motivation to reach newer heights coming back within me mashaa’Allah. Ramadan is a time of setting new goals for me and basically re-evaluate where I’m at which unfortunately I haven’t been getting the chance to do for quite some while.

Everyone is going through some test or trial and I, myself, have been surrounded by so many for the past few months that it was difficult to make sense of anything at all. Sometimes we go through phases; while other times it is an ongoing struggle which you know that is to stay. However, the yaqeen in the heart has reached a level that nobody can shake. Without a shadow of doubt what we go through in terms of difficulties is for a beautiful reason our Rabb has hidden. We may not know now but beautiful surprises await for the believer who is patient. Both in this world and the next. Wa lilahil hamd! Trials sent our way are His Gentle ways of placing khayr our way.

My husband’s here for a quick visit and I am nearing the time when my 6-month old and I will have to part again from him. It is heart wrenching. It constricts my heart once again thinking about being apart yet again for God-knows until when and having to just wait not knowing whether there’s ever going to be an end to this YET, the strength that comes with knowing that Allah swt will not forsake me in my challenges uplifts me. For now, He swt is sending my way Ramadan to re-energize my weary soul. And I’ll take this gift gladly for I now know the worth of time and good health. Each, dwindling unless intelligently utilized, and each becoming more precarious with the passing tick tocks.

I had to give up a lot in the past few months and re-adjust my life around my little pumpkin. That part was obvious of course. It just that it took a lot of time to realize that I have to be patient with not being able to learn like I used to and to be patient with cumulative set-backs of motherhood and an aspiring learner of deen. What I just said is such an understatement for it is only when one goes through such trying times, one can appreciate the tricky nature of such times. Motherhood beautifies your life in an irreversible way. And so my goals and thus my Ramadan goals have to be very very realistic and basic so that I can keep up and achieve at least something. I have to accept a lot of my short comings which will inevitably come my way as a mother, wife, daughter, sister and …a struggling Muslim woman.

Sad as it is, I am no longer enrolled in any study program online and I have calmed down a bit as the whole learning process was turning me into someone which basically was defeating the whole purpose.It is not truly about achieving certain goals for what is more important is what you become as an outcome of those goals. This is especially important when it comes to learning the deen. Over ambitiousness was more detrimental to me being a Muslimah so I just couldn’t continue and with my plate more than full with an adorable little one, I needed to take a deep breath and step back. Alhamdolilah  without a rigid scheme of study tasks, I have more room for flexibility now which is a welcome-situation when it comes to a baby with erratic sleep/eating/mood patterns. Unfortunately, hardly any study programs online cater to mothers with babies. SubhanAllah that is such a discouragement but that is a different topic of discussion altogether.

Anyway, as is the tradition of my blog, every Ramadan I try to share Ramadan prep thoughts. I’d like to continue doing so and take as many people who want to join me on this journey with me inshaa’Allah. Perhaps 1 of the 100s of the readers today or in the next few years, feels inspired by my simple ideas. I believe in barakah.

As a mother of a young ‘un, I have decided to make two main goals for Ramadan and have a few thoughts which may not be very ambitious but are way better than just aiming nothing.

1) Maintain my otherwise non-existent relationship with the Quraan by increasing in recitation. Some people aim to finish it once and there are others who do it more than once. I will be relaxed and aim within my capabilities as you all should do.

2) Start the Bayyinah TV Ramadan 2013 program. I wanted to last year but since I was expecting, it was enough that I survived fasting and a bit of Quraan reading. However this time around I am determined inshaa’Allah and let’s see what khayr Allah swt has in store for me through this program. My heart has been set on working on getting familiar with Musabbihaat surahs and only Allah swt knows how much I love them so inshaa’Allah it will be exciting to follow this program inshaa’Allah. I’m pretty sure they’ll have a Ramadan 2014 program ready but I’d like to start with 2013 for now.

3) Have a set of videos or reading material ready so that I can go through them in my ‘down time’. Everyone has a time during the day when they are just exhausted or can’t do much due to one limitation or the other. For me it is when my son has successfully fallen asleep but I have to be holding him or next to him so that he goes into his sweet deep sleep so that as soon as I move away from him, he doesn’t suddenly wake up. In that time, I just have to sit there in my bedroom with curtains drawn and have painfully restricted movement. My son is a light sleeper and a slight sigh could wake him up and it does take a long time for him to reach a state of deep sleep. So usually this is the only time I have to sit down. Naturally I am exhausted and with the excellent conditions for me to doze off, it is very difficult for me to do anything productive besides checking email on my iPhone. I think that time could be better utilized if I had a video ready to watch as I’d prefer reading on my laptop and not iPhone. Point being that in Ramadan, I don’t want to waste time looking for a lecture in that specific scenario especially if your baby sleeps every 3 hours and you’re in such a situation most of your waking hours.

Likewise another thing to keep in mind is that, come mid-Ramadan: most people reach a dip, so in that situation it would be nice to have something handy to climb up again inshaa’Allah. It could be motivational lectures by your favourite speaker or could be about a topic (such as Seerah) that you enjoy listening to. The idea is to keep doing some act of ‘ibadah in that time whatever it may be. If you have a tablet, you can read a book. If you have nothing at all in hand (which is sometimes the case when I lose my iPhone as I tend to my baby’s needs) then do what you can inshaa’Allah.

***

So please start preparing a Ramadan plan for yourself! We plan places we’d go during vacations, plan weddings to the dot and so on yet we rarely plan our Ramadans well. The key is to have something in mind and as a result keep going and achieving something no matter how small it is. Doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You must never let it stall your daily progress even if it is 1%. Inshaa’Allah now is the time to direct your thoughts and may Allah swt be with all of you! Ameen.

A few quotes to inspire all of us inshaa’Allah (I’ll try to add more with time inshaa’Allah):

  • ‘The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.’ ~ John C. Maxwell
  • ‘Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.’ ~ Brian Tracy
  • ‘If you begin feeling beaten, you will achieve nothing. If you fight, you will perhaps have a chance of achieving something.’ ~Raymond Aubrac

***

I know tough times lie ahead of me but I am going to use it to propel even more fiercely towards Allah swt inshaa’Allah. You, too, can join me in my conviction.

Keep holding onto the ‘Urwatul Wuthqa…
With best wishes for your Ramadan,

-Umm Sulaym

 

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