Fix your priorities to attain the maximum benefit
By Zawjah Ali
As soon as we think of Ramadan, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
How will we spend the whole day without a single glass of water in these hot days? *droopy look*
Iftar recipes, extensive cleaning, new home décor, Eid apparel (and matching accessories), long taraweeh prayers, disturbed sleep patterns, workload and so much more.
Oh … did I miss the point about attaining taqwa? Or the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)? Or to work for hereafter? Or to polish our tarnished soul and faith?
In our minds, Ramadan is not a month of resuscitating our faith but more like a burden, especially for women and more so for mothers.
Whose fault is it? Is it Islam’s? As a matter of fact, the word Ramadan is mentioned just once in the Qur’an, while fasting and taqwa are mentioned several times.
We forget the root and essence of fasting and we seek the virtues of Ramadan by focusing on beautifying the month in a worldly way. We alone have made things difficult and now it is part of a widespread culture that we blindly follow.
I remember my first Ramadan with my seven-month-old baby. His teething had started and he was very demanding and cranky. He wouldn’t sleep till 3am and then if I slept, I would miss suhoor. So, I used to not sleep at all. As soon as my baby fell asleep I would go and prepare suhoor.
There are people who are strict and demanding about freshly cooked meals. And I am so thankful to my better half for supporting me with it. He would eat roti made hours ago and would not complain a bit. Alhamdulillah!
So, dear Muslimah mommies with little kids, you have to make best use of the time you get. Don’t worry about fresh, hot food to serve. It’s better to have some not-so-hot and not-so-freshly-made things to eat than not to have anything at all. All through the day, all our energy is drained on our little people, from changing their diapers to feeding them, to school assignments and never-ending demands of others.
Another hurdle is a long list of iftar meals starting from chaat to dahi baray, to a variety of samosay, as if we have never eaten anything since birth! What is it that we presume? That we have to stuff our stomach with a variety of the best foods or the wrath of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will catch us? Oh Muslimah, go easy on yourself. Don’t burn your energy in the kitchen. It’s time to burn the bad deeds you have collected over time and to build a stronger relationship with your Lord. Allah will not ask you about the dishes you served at iftar or how many new dishes you tried. He will hold you accountable for what you are offering your children and spouse in terms of religion and its knowledge. You are the one who can inspire their hearts to good by the will of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).
Strive to work for the akhira (hereafter) as a family. Leave food for Allah’s sake. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has promised delicious meals for the inhabitants of jannah. I am dead sure none of us can compete with the taste of the food that Allah will offer us insha’Allah.
Ramadan is not about Eid alone, either. We spend the last crucial days in shopping and get exhausted. We even skip fasts for the sake of shopping. I do not say that celebrating Eid is prohibited. What I mean is that it is just a miniscule fraction of the bigger picture.
Eid is for the one who fasted for the sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) but was Allah a consideration in our fasts? If not, then it is just a meaningless ritual that we follow. We can shop ahead of Ramadan and thus limit our visits to the market during Ramadan and hence focus more on our worship. What is the point of spending so much for a single dress when you could get the same dress earlier at affordable price?
The ‘new Eid variety’ of clothes is just to mess with your brains, don’t fall for these traps set by Satan. Shop with your kids prior to Ramadan to teach them the importance of these days.
Please Oh Muslimah mommy, Ramadan is not a competition to win in terms of cleaning and having new décor. Cleanliness is half of faith and is applicable for every month. Be sympathetic to your maids and other people under your command, they are fasting too. They also feel low during the time of fasting. Visit and spend on the institute who take care of orphans and older homeless people with your kids. Teach them generosity and increase your good actions in Ramadan as the reward is tenfold.
Getting up for suhoor is a challenge! We wake up in a minute from a deep sleep when we hear the coos of our babies but we turn a deaf ear to the call of Allah.If we make a habit of offering tahajjud prayers on a daily basis we will not find it hard to get up for suhoor.
Make a lot of duas for the cranky little people of ours. They are a real test of our patience.
Also, make hay while sun shines — take advantage of the time when they’re sleeping by reciting Quran and offering prayers. Lay down for a while, too. Allah knows your efforts and intention. He is not hard on us.
With older children, we can ask them to help with chores and ask them to join us in worship. There are a lot of homeschooling sites which offer loads of Ramadan crafts to keep their mind busy and attention focused. Prepare for these in advance.
Also, stuff your freezer with some ready to fry food items. This will be a big help during difficult days.
In our attempt to have perfection in our homes and upbringing, we often tend to compromise on core things. We leave prayers to make one more dish, we postpone Qur’an recital to paint with kids. We often undermine the value of small deeds and minor sins. Do not think that sin is small, consider the One whom you are disobeying, the One and Only, the Almighty, the Magnificent.