Ramadhan 2018

Ayeesha Dicali Eidl Fitr 2018

Eid mubarak to all the Muslims all over the world!

Today marks the end of the holy month of Ramadhan. It is a day of the joyous gathering of families and friends. Beneath this joy is an undercurrent of sadness for Ramadhan has come and gone so quickly. It is ironic that we Muslims miss Ramadhan so much even if Ramadhan means not eating nor drinking anything from sunrise to sunset, staying up late at night for prayers, and renewing faith in the Almighty through grueling acts of devotion. One has to taste the sweetness of imaan for one to understand why the pain of Ramadhan brings us so much blessing.

This year's Ramadhan is different from last year. Looking back, we are in a much better place now. A year ago, the day after my mother, grandma, and brother has escaped the besieged city of Marawi, the moon has been sighted and we fasted the next day. Ramadhan 2017 was our source of solace. It embraced us and covered us with a blanket of security as news of the siege became worse each day. This year, to me, Ramadhan is all about healing.

For a year, I have held on to anger and aches that I thought I needed to fortify my walls. I was bruised inside, I was insecure, I felt cheated, I felt helpless. So I enveloped my heart with painful memories, like an armor. There were many days when I wake up to a beautiful day, with the blue sky smiling at me, yet I still find tears falling when I am alone. I would whisper to myself that I need to be strong because I cannot depend on people. They break their promises. They abandon their obligations. They fall short of expectations. I told myself, be resilient. Today shall pass, cry now and tomorrow you have grown a thicker skin.

Oh, boy was I wrong.

Ramadhan drew nearer and my heart felt heavier. The issues that I buried deep in the recesses of my brain bubbled to the surface. I felt miserable. Yet hopeful. Because no matter the situation, I have always felt that Ramadhan is a salve. Allah SWT designed Ramadhan to restore those who return to Allah SWT. I cried my heart out in prayer, I asked the Most Merciful to purify my heart, ease my burden, to guide me towards lofty goals, and heal my heart.

Truth be told, I did not feel healed. Until today. I'm not exaggerating. This morning, after we prayed the Eid prayer, the Imaam in his sermon reminded us not to leave the grounds where we held our kutbah (Eid prayer) without having forgiven each other. And suddenly, it all clicked. To unburden is to let go, and to let go is to forgive.

We refuse to let go because we value something so much. When fate dictates for one thing to slip our grasp, we cannot catch it again no matter how hard we try. And so we fool ourselves by holding on to grudges because it feels like we are still connected to it as long as we are emotionally attached to it, even if that emotion is a negative one.

The truth is we will always have a hole in our hearts. And we will try to fill the void with people, wealth, and experiences. But the world will never be enough. This life is pointless to live without a higher purpose. To me, to live pretending that we can satisfy the deepest need of our soul with everything other than God is a life that is unanchored. I have always felt that my unhappiness, other than the awry chemicals in my brain, stems from distance from Allah SWT. Perhaps I was created with a need to believe hardwired in my cerebrum. I cannot escape it. I need Allah SWT in my life. Alhamdulillah, Ramadhan is like a lasso that pulls me back whenever I stray.

The realization hit me. I am not alone. I am not helpless. I am not hopeless. I have always had Allah SWT.

I can now let go.

With a phone call, I have given my forgiveness.