From our Muslim chaplain
Dearest friends and colleagues,
As we move closer towards the end of Ramadan 2020 we must acknowledge that the last four weeks has been challenging with whole new way of life; in Lockdown, without extended family and for many even without their close family because they live in a different household. With just one day left, we can vaguely put each other in at least three groups:
1) Those who are exclusively happy because Eid is coming.
2) Those who are exclusively sad because Ramadan is leaving.
3) Those who are having mixed feelings about both.
Which one are you? That’s for you to answer and for no one to find out.
I think there can’t be an extreme towards either end of the sad-happy spectrum. Thinking about Islamic History, I know that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and some of the companions were heartbroken when Ramadan was leaving them. Once Ramadan ended, they missed it so much that they already looked forward to the next Ramadan. But at the same time, they realized that Eid is a gift; a parting gift from Ramadan if you will. Hence, the proper attitude when receiving a gift is happiness and gratefulness. So the Prophet and the Companions didn’t accept Eid solemnly. Eid is not a time for mourning, it is a time for celebration.
A celebration of what?
We are not celebrating the end of Ramadan – no, we should not want Ramadan to end. We are celebrating the completion of Ramadan – feeling grateful that Allah has given us the opportunity to experience Ramadan and allowing us to complete our fast. This concept might seem alien to our non-Muslim colleagues, but the physical and spiritual blessings found within fasting and Ramadan our countless and intangible.
“…Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al Qur’an 2: 185)
There was a story related by Nouman Ali Khan that illustrates this point perfectly. There was a married couple who lost their only child, and they had this child late in life. On the day of his high school graduation, he got into an accident and died. Imagine being in the shoes of those parents. How devastating that event must have been. What a tragedy – to lose one’s only child, on the day of his graduation. The parents went through an episode of depression. After a few weeks, the husband went to the wife and said, “Allah lent us a toy to play with for a period of time. Then, He decided to take what’s rightfully His. Instead of being grateful to Allah for allowing us to have the toy and play with it, this is how we react?”
Of course, I am not trying to equate losing a child to losing Ramadan, but a similar sentiment is there. When Ramadan leaves, it is like losing something close to your heart. As sad as it is, the right attitude is that of gratefulness; be grateful that Allah has given us yet another opportunity to experience Ramadan and express our gratefulness in Eid. Celebrate Eid with your family and friends, but at a distance. Share Eid with others e.g. the poor, the needy, the orphans, etc. Express your gratefulness far and wide, and be mindful of Allah; the One who makes all of this possible.
And maybe, just maybe, Allah will reunite us with Ramadan once more. Here’s a poem especially on this topic… (I hope you enjoy!)
Ramadan after Ramadan we welcome each year
But, what meaning does it hold for you my dear?
For those most fortunate, it’s a time for sharing
But for those with less, do we have time for caring?
A time for prayer and a time for reflection
With sincerest intentions, a time for affection
A time for break fasts at a distance from friends
A time for quarrels to come to an end
Our lips are parched and our throats are dry
For a sip of cold water our hearts do cry
A time to be wary of what passes our lips
Oh how the mouth waters, at the smell of chips!
We must watch what we eat and watch what we say
A lesson for life each night and each day
Let us not waste these precious few days
For the rest of the year let us change our ways
Allah Knows what we want, He Knows what we can
Only He Knows for whom, is the next Ramadan
Ramadan after Ramadan we welcome each year
So, what meaning does hold for you my dear?
Have a blessed day.