R'11 Day Twenty-Nine: The Beginning of the End

The end of Ramadan is upon us, and like many Muslims I've spoken with, I am shocked that the past month has literally flown by. Which isn't surprising since that's how I remember most Ramadans to be, especially once you get into the groove of early mornings, late nights, and less sleep. Yet it seemed like yesterday that my friends and I were talking and predicting how challenging the +17 hours of fasting a day would be. Yet, SubhanAllah, here we all are, on the other end of where we started, and it's with mixed emotions that Ramadan comes to an end.

If I were to sum up the theme of this year's Ramadan, I would say it in four words: THE BEST RAMADAN YET! And if you were to ask me why, there are many reasons, but ultimately, they all came together. First and foremost, this is the first Ramadan during which I was not not working full-time for 95% of it! That helped incredibly although I felt bad for many of my friends who did continue to work during the month, and if it's of any consolation to them, there wasn't a day where I jut bummed around, my days were still busy despite being able to sleep in until 10am! Second, I met and became connected to some pretty amazing people. I already am blessed to have a solid social network, yet this Ramadan saw this network just blossom. And I have to thank the start of a new social initiative for that, Inshallah the start of something good. Also, I realized what a SMALL world it is...despite the Muslim community rapidly growing, someone new I met ultimately knew someone else whom I knew. And sometimes, it led me to "say whaaaat?!" And third, I really made an effort to Mosque it up as much as possible, and I had no excuse NOT to. I'll be honest and state that because I didn't grow up with many mosques around, they intimidated me to start with. I almost felt like I didn't belong, like I was not as Muslim as some other women were. Yet really, this Ramadan, I overcame this and also hit up multiple mosque locations! And I learned that while I'm not Arabic speaking and my gangly height sticks my head up higher than the rest, it's still all good since during prayer, who you are a person doesn't matter to each other, but only in the eyes of Allah.

On this same theme, one of the things that kept me going too was the support and interest of my non-Muslims friends in Ramadan, all mostly my posse from Renfrew, and you ladies know who you are! It makes a world of difference to know that people you work and share common goals with respect and want to understand what you're about. I've heard way too many nightmare stories about the corporate  world where Muslims are either misunderstood or not given the time of day to try and tell their story. I can't imagine working in a place where who I was as a person was either (a) looked at suspiciously or (b) looked at too differently and therefore too out there to be understood. And it's not about relying on others' opinions of me to feel good as a person; it only added to the idea that perhaps my blogs and myself are both approachable by a general audience.

It was a blessed month overall. Some events that occurred led me the reasons why things had happened in the past, as if I received answers to things I didn't understand at the time. I gained a much greater sense about myself, both about what's important to me and priorities for the future. Affirmation was gained around the fact that Islam is not about solely 'being' Muslim, but also a lot about 'doing'. I really do believe that knowledge is not power until you get up and DO something with what you know. Lastly, I realized that there will always be at least one person who disagrees with what you do and what you're about...but that really, it often means that they ultimately have issues with who they are as a person.

There's so much more I can reflect on...but yikes, it's 6:15am and I need to hijab up and get ready to go to WORK! Reality has sunk in...life has started up again. But I'm pretty sure that thanks to Ramadan, things will never truly be the same again :)

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