Ramadan 2020: Unusual but comforting. - Bashirat.
I know I’m not the only one to admit that Ramadan 2020 was unusual because of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, we did not get to experience it in the usual community oriented way- going to the mosque for taraweeh and meeting friends - but insha’Allah I hope we all still benefited from this Ramadan and I pray we will be able to witness many more Ramadans.
Apart from praying tarawih at home and spending Ramadan indoors, I still was able to get into the Ramadan spirit. I focused on learning more about the Sahabiyat (the female companions) and other women in Islam such as Asiya (ra), Hajar (ra) and Bilqees (ra).
I participated in an online soul retreat with TBMG and BMBG which was titled ‘A Conversation with Allah’. We explored tawheed, forgiveness, hardship, love and attachment. Tawheed is literally about the ‘absolute oneness of Allah’. This retreat was just everything to me and I cannot lie, I was lowkey emotional after the second session. It really allowed me to renew my intentions and genuinely question my reasons for everything. Am I truly living for Allah (swt)? Am I attached to the dunya? Do I actively focus on renewing my connection with our Rabb? The sessions took place for 2 hours every Sunday during Ramadan and it was beautiful to hear from other sisters. Based on the sessions, I just wanted to give my takeaways and hope they can benefit you all.
Learning the 99 names of Allah (swt)! Attending the soul retreat allowed me to explore Allah’s names further because it was emphasised how Allah (swt) loves those who call Him with His many names. We had the opportunity to explore the names such ‘Al Wadood’ (The Loving), ‘Al Wali’ (The Protecting Friend), ‘As Salam’ (The Most Peaceful). Obviously, Allah (swt) is worthy of utmost praise with His names but these three names stuck out to me in particular! These three names reaffirmed the love that Allah (swt) has for me and that I know Allah (swt) is only a dua away. The 99 names were definitely my favourite part of the soul retreat because it really allowed me to focus on the different attributes of Allah (swt) and apply them in my duas.
Hardship. I am pretty sure that everybody is aware of the ayah ‘verily with hardship comes ease, with hardship comes ease.’ I used to think that whenever I was feeling down that I was never a good believer, a good Muslim. However, during this session, we explored how sadness/suffering is sometimes essential to reaffirm your faith in Allah (swt). Stories such as the story of Asiya (ra) or the stories of the Prophet Ayuub (ra) have helped me cope with my sadness and allow me to always remember that Allah(swt) is near.
Dhikr! Dhikr is so light on the tongue yet extremely powerful on the scales as an act of worship - the remembrance of Allah (swt). One of my favourite forms of dhikr is to say ‘La illah illa Allah’. ‘Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah . Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.’ - Surah Ar Ra’d [13:28]. Personally, I think this is so true as whenever I say my dhikr which is usually after my prayers, before I go to bed or just at random times, I do feel at ease and at peace knowing that Allah (swt) is always there and knows what I do not.
Forgiveness. I won’t lie, this one was very deep for me. When it comes to forgiveness, it is extremely important to seek forgiveness from those you have wronged for the sake of Allah (swt)! You do not want to be the reason that someone else cries to Allah (swt). This session triggered me as it really prompted me to seek forgiveness from those who I have offended. ‘Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is forgiving and merciful.’ [Surah An-Nur, 24:22]
99 names, hardship, dhikr and forgiveness - these were the most beneficial sessions for me. Remember, Allah (swt) is LOVE (Al Wadood) and always come to Him first. I have realised in this day and age, it is very easy to go to your friend or your mum when you have a problem then we end up going to Allah (swt) last. I just want to reiterate that Allah (swt) tells us to call on Him and reminds us He is near. [Surah Baqarah, 2:186]. Allah (swt) is closer to us than our jugular vein [Surah Kahf, 50:16], that is how close He is to us, so let us call on Him first for everything.
Renew your intentions as actions are judged according to intentions.
That is what Ramadan 2020 taught me.