As Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan and it’s blessings, am I the only one who feels sad to see Ramadan go? Sure Eid is the happiest occasion on the Islamic calendar but why do I feel sad at the same time?
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that Eid is the most joyful day in the Islamic calendar. It is a time to rejoice and give thanks to the almighty for all the bounties during the month of Ramadan. Muslims start the day with congregational prayers in the morning, and then the festivities start. Back when I was a young boy, I could not wait for the Eid festivities- starting with the “Chaand Raat” (the eve of Eid). The streets were full of people back in Pakistan where I grew up, stalls of vendors all around selling all kinds of mouth-watering food and colorful clothing. Women and little girls getting their hands painted with Henna. Smiles and hugs were aplenty. Strangers joking with each other. Eid Al Fitr was, and still is one of the happiest occasions in the lives of the Muslims. And I would enjoy every bit of it and still do.
As I grew older, and allegedly wiser, Ramadan became much more than just a time for fasting. I started to appreciate the holiness of the month much more. It became a time to grow spiritually and get closer to God. It became a time for cleansing- the mind, the body and the spirit.
I started to appreciate that Ramadan is the month of immense bounties. This is a month I feel the best- mentally and physically. I found myself more open and more humble towards my family, my friends and even strangers.
Yes the first few days of fasting are always tough. Waking up at “odd hours” messed up the sleep cycle. Feeling sleep deprived, working required extra effort. But all that eased up as I continued to fast and then I started to feel “normal” and as I continued to fast during the month, fasting actually helped me maintain my focus even more sharply.
You get on a spiritual high like no other month of the year. The congregational Iftars bring people from all over the community and gives you the opportunity to meet people you had not met in a long time. Breaking the fast together with the community is a special feeling matched by no other communal meal. Then there are these interfaith Iftars, where you meet people from other faiths, sharing their thoughts on the occasion.
As you approach the last couple of days of Ramadan, you start to feel that the spiritual high you were riding is about to end. The reward to deed ratio is about to get back to 1 to 1. The rat race is about to re- enter your life. The nights of repenting, Dikhr (remembrance) of God and extra prayers are about to go away. There will be no more suhoor in the early morning, and no more Iftars at dusk-just the regular breakfast and dinner. This is when instead of feeling the joy of Eid, I start to feel a sense of loss- of all the special feelings and blessings that the month of Ramadan brought with it. Yes, I am still so very thankful for all the blessings, yet I wanted the good times to continue.
Yes I know all the good habits and behaviors we learned during the month of Ramadan will hopefully last for rest of the year. And yes, all the good deeds and prayers that brought us closer to God will be cherished for a long time.
But it just won’t be the same after Ramadan.
And as they say, all good things must come to an end, and so is the month of Ramadan. Seeing it go feels like saying good bye to a loved one- a special someone. After a special period of prayers and blessings, it’s time to return to “regular programming”.
Adios my favorite month. See you next year, Insha’Allah (God -willing).
And Eid Mubarak to everyone!
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