Anger is a fire kindled, he who restrains anger extinguishes the fire; he who gives vent to it is the first to be consumed by it.
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (R.A.)
Today marks the second day of Ramadan (unless of course you count Saturday as the start of Ramadan, then it would be the third). As far as the actual physical demands of fasting go, I find it gets progressively easier – and quite immediately too. One thing that really helps me is that fact that I have already been fasting for the past two to three months. Not to the same degree as we do in Ramadan, but for health purposes I usually abtain from eating between the hours of 10pm and 2pm the next day. That is – I fast for 16 hours and have an eating window for 8 during the primary part of my day. I highly recommend the regimen to everyone (called intermittent fasting) if you’re looking to maybe shed a few pounds. If you’re currently fasting for Ramadan, it might be a good idea to switch over to intermittent fasting after the month is over to ease back into a regular eating pattern. I find this month is a good time to become a little more health-conscious since we have the time to think a lot more about what we’re going to eat during our permitted time frame. Anyway, here are a few more thoughts tonight.
- I just read a great tweet by the exceptional Mufti Ismail Menk from Zimbabwe. He wrote, “When someone yells at us in the presence of others, we do not lose our dignity as a result of their behaviour. They lose their dignity.” I placed myself in the position of the abuser in this situation. We Khans have an anger problem – I think it definitely runs in the family. We tend to have very long fuses, but extremely explosive tempers. Even when I don’t exactly blow up, I feel embarrassed for getting angry. Even when someone else does something wrong, I feel awful for becoming so animalistic. Anger is a normal human emotion, sure, but there’s something so savage about losing control. Islam is a religion that doesn’t deny the existence and importance of human emotion, but provides us with the guidance on how to channel those emotions into positive actions/reactions. The art of self-discipline does not come naturally to us – it requires work. Self-discipline is the source of our dignity.
- I’m always looking for new things to make du’a (supplication/prayer) for in my prayers. If anyone has anything they want me to mention, then feel free to let me know. I think there are a few things that we should all be praying for this Ramadan. First and foremost, I always pray for forgiveness. I don’t think we can ever ask for forgiveness enough. God is the Most Merciful and we should always keep that in mind. No one can validate or invalidate your prayers, your intentions, or your deeds except for Him. I also never fail to keep my parents in my prayers. As they get older, I worry more for their health and the burdens they carry. I often feel powerless to do anything about the issues that concern them and that’s one of the worst feelings. Now that I’m moving away, I feel like I have an opportunity to make the rest of their lives easy and comfortable but in the meantime – I ask for God to give them and myself resolve.
- This Ramadan, I think everyone should take some time to learn about what’s happening in the Muslim world. The Ummah’s state of affairs is in great disarray. What is happening in Syria and Iraq is nothing short of an absolute tragedy. While different factions are jostling for political control and influence, innocent people are suffering and dying every day. We are only a few weeks removed from the attack on Karachi’s main airport in Pakistan – a country perpetually teetering on the brink of implosion. The breakup of Sudan has brought no peace or stability to the region as violence and oppression are still rampant. Nigeria can be a wonderful story or a complete travesty, and its important that the rest of the world ensures that it’s the former. The country is quickly becoming one of the most influential, successful, and powerful in the world – let alone Africa. However it is at peril of being torn apart due to simmering ethnic and religious conflict, highlighted by this summer’s latest Boko Haram atrocity. Ramadan’s greatest quality is its ability to restore peace – both in our hearts and our communities. This year, lets do our best to promote that peace in our greater world – through prayer and action.
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