By Hiba Khan
Our priorities shift back to what is real and eternal, as we try to establish good habits that will last for the following 11 months. You may be amongst those who have detailed plans on how to squeeze the ajr (reward) out of every second of this blessed time, excitedly waiting to jam pack it with Quran, prayers, and good deeds. Some of us are slightly intimidated, apprehensive perhaps, of how to reconcile our hectic daily lives and relationships with this weighty opportunity. It’s difficult to even know where to start. Others amongst us feel almost apathetic towards Ramadan, ashamed of our indifference or even dread of the exhausting hours. Maybe this stems from unrealistic expectations and targets, the perceived weight of your sins, or that you can simply never ‘connect’, or ‘feel’.
Wherever on this spectrum you find yourself currently, I want you to make a promise. A promise that will transform your existence. Whether you find that fasting and praying taraweeh (late night prayer) stirs your soul, or that it is merely a tiring ritual procedure, this simple promise will revolutionise your conscious and unconscious state so long as you uphold it.
Promise to take The Lord of the Worlds as your best friend. Take the All Powerful, The Most Loving, The Giver of Peace as your closest and dearest friend. Everyone wants to be close to those who will benefit them in some way. Be it through material possessions, spirituality and goodness, or contacts and popularity, attraction in this way seems to be human nature. In our naivety we forget that He is the only one who gives, in Whose hands is your rizq (providence), your beating heart, and the entire universe and beyond. If any human being appears to benefit you in some way, it is because He allowed it.
This promise is the answer to everything you have ever searched for. The key to the contentment that humanity so fervently craves. And it really truly is that simple. Make Him your everything, and the desire to please Him, the fear of angering Him will follow naturally. The forces that should drive our thoughts and words and actions will be deeply embedded into our minds and hearts, not to mention the inexplicable peace, comfort, and warmth that you will find in the deepest darkest crevices of your being, that only He can give.
The first step in this journey is one you can take this very second. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) is with you right now, as always. He is aware of the subtleties of your thoughts and emotions, even before they arise. He is waiting for you to turn to Him. Talk to Him. In whatever language you speak, there needs to be no poetry or rhyme, just talk to Him. Stop reading this for a moment, turn your existence away from this world and focus wholly and entirely on Him. Confide in Him. Thank Him. Ask of Him. Tell Him how scared you are, how much you want something. He who is sustaining you, He who has the ability to create from nothing, He who has always been there and always will be. The Guide, The Light, The Compassionate.
‘Remember me and I will remember you.’ Surah Baqarah
Aside from the immense benefits to us, what greater reason, reassurance and honour than to have Allah (swt) remember us?
Talk to Him every minute of your day, walking down the street, at work, at home, weave this pure form of worship, remembrance, into your existence until you feel the change. And have no doubt that it will come. This Ramadan, promise to tell Him everything, to ask Him for everything, to talk to Him with every step you take. The most beautiful part of it is that He tells us in a hadith qudsi (narration);
“Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.”
All you have to do is take that one step, and The Lord of the Worlds will come towards you at speed. Make Him your purpose, your Love, your confidante, your comfort, and all else will fall into place. Your relationships, your livelihood, your contentment—if you follow Allah (swt), all else will follow you. Your pangs of hunger will take on a new sweetness, and taraweeh will be a nourishing and awaited experience once Allah (swt) is your best friend.
Alongside speaking to Him constantly, take the time and effort to learn about Him. In order to truly love Him and be close to Him, we must know Him. His 99 names were revealed to decorate our hearts, not just our walls. Research 4 names a day, reflect on the meaning for you, your life and your relationship with Him, and by the end of the month you will insha’ Allah (God willing) have reached a level of closeness that you never knew was possible.
May Allah (swt) make our voices familiar and beloved to Him and His angels, just as Prophet Yunus’ was. May He soften our hearts, and fill them with His remembrance and the tranquility only He can give. May He make this month a means for us to gain His pleasure, and make the day that we leave this world and meet our best friend, the most beautiful day of our lives.