Dear My Heart, My Ramadan
Dear My Heart, My Ramadan -
I wanted to thank you for inviting me to this beautiful month in good health. I know an invitation like this is rare. Some people pass away before you arrive, some people endure extreme hardships such as becoming ill, and some find that they are struggling to provide for their families.
This year, Allah has still blessed me to be a part of a group so special; someone in good health, not struggling financially, and in a position to truly benefit without any hardships or illnesses. May Allah protect us and give us all perfect health and keep hardships away from us. Ameen. I wanted to share with you on what I did to prepare for your arrival. There are so many things that affect my preparations spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Spiritually, I know as each day passes I learn what it means to become completely dependent on Allah (SWT). Every Jummah, I have come across a lecture which I try to listen to and at the end of the lecture I try to share one to thing I learned with someone. I found that this helped me really remember a take a way from the lecture as well .
While there are many lectures I have listened to there has been one that has been so impactful on my life called, “Don’t Ever Say: If I only Would Have” By Omar Suleiman.
This lecture has taught me self-worth. It has reminded me that Allah (SWT) is in control of everything, and Allah SWT gives us tests and lessons to prepare us for our death. Yes, it sounds morbid, but we are here temporarily and sometimes the test is to see how we react and respond to what Allah is giving us. Allah SWT does not give us what we cannot handle, however, someone who has truly struggled and gone through hardship knows, that through these experiences we push away any shame and begin to understand that Allah is the one who blessed us with an opportunity to shed our sins. I make duaa that on the day of judgement, Allah will smile at his true believers and note our hardship with Mercy.
To really tie it together, I want to bring in these three verses from the Quran from Surah Baqarah Allah has outlined it so clearly:
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient..”
“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him, we will return.”
“Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.”
I feel people say the second ayah so often, but do not understand that Inna illahi wa inna illahir rajeeon (Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him, we will return) is not just said at the time of death, it is a duaa. In any time of hardship, remember Allah, so He will run to you. Then, and only then can we find true peace with our tests
Well my dearest Ramadan, that leads me to my next struggle, the mental aspect. Dealing with so many struggles over the past few years has truly led me to fight with my inner self, my Nafs. I stress over many things and take things to heart. There are times I use to sit wondering what did I do? Why did someone just completely take me out of their life or create a distance without any notice?
First and foremost, I try not to think so much. I understand that if I have done my best to genuinely mold and create a lasting relationship and it did not work out, then that’s ok! We can ask for forgiveness from people who have been hurt by us, but not every relationship needs to be a close one.
I also have worked through understanding people’s limitations and not taking their actions personally. There comes a point in time where life does become extremely hectic and there are numerous reasons that may come up that may hinder someone from fulfilling a commitment. Completely understand. However, the issue I have is when individuals have not given me the due respect to let me know that their plans have changed. Busy is not an excuse for not respecting someone’s time. I have seen a pattern that people who continuously cancel and overcommit make it a habit, for this particular group of individuals I no longer prioritize them in my life. It has really kept my mind clutter free and more simple.
A true sign of maturity though, its acknowledging what bothers you and trying to find a solution for it, before completely giving up all together. So don’t just assume someone gave up on you, try to figure out if there was a misunderstanding without getting too emotionally invested and then move on.
Reflecting that same point to myself. I myself am working on being dependable. It is a work in progress for all of us I am sure. I like to be kind but straightforward with how I feel. Some people are completely unaware of their actions, I always give them a chance to know what I am feeling before writing them off. Let’s be honest, life and schedules get messy sometimes, so it would not be fair to be harsh. Let's try to remember that little understanding goes a long way, don’t think that you’re the only one going through something. Someone else may be distancing themselves from you. That’s ok! Always make duaa that Allah keeps the right company around you. You may not be the best for them and they may not be the best for you!
Ramadan, as I move forward and truly put my trust in Allah, I identify moments in my life where I was growing, maturing, and have apologized for my moments that I truly have not intentionally meant to hurt others. I must say I will not stop apologizing for mistakes, because I know I have yet to make many mistakes that will mold me, however, I will stop apologizing for my past. I will furthermore distance myself from those futile talks which lead to no benefit. I find myself happier alone than in such uncomfortable situations where I may not feel welcomed. I refuse to put myself in situations or places where I am going to be the topic of a conversation when my back is turned.
Now I use to wonder, should I regret those interactions? At a certain point I use to, but how would I have grown? Allah sends people into our lives to see how we will react. We saw good in some of these relationships, take from the good and leave the rest. Take the thawab and make duaa for that person. Give them their excuses, but remember that does not mean you have to let them enter your inner circle. Keep your emaan as tight as a fist.
In a lecture by Mufti Menk his words resonated with me:
“Do you doubt your worth? Their evil must not make us lose our good. You will be judged by your statements but not by others statements.”
So, if you are the topic of someone else's conversation let it be, you will be judged by what you say. So make your duaa true and genuine and do not lose sleep over it. If you know someone’s kindness is not genuine – distance yourself and build you relationship with Allah. You will never lose.
I agree whole-heartedly with Mufti menk when he says,
“I would rather have less with dignity , than more with total disrespect with dishonor.”
This can be taken in so many ways, at the point when I was listening to this lecture – I take it as, I would have less friends who respect me than more friends that have no true value or genuine care for me. A number means nothing. Yes, I also realize, there are people that are only their for you in times of hardship, then you move forward in life and you don’t see them. Life get’s busy. This is my excuse for them. There are also those people that you have not talked to in forever and you just pick up where you left off. Take the positives, leave the bad, and stay away from those who you feel are not spiritually beneficial for you.
Moving on Ramadan, I have done a little more physically to prepare for your arrival. As you know, my duaas are pure and my intentions are pure for this small business Sadaf and I have created to welcome you, Eid, and just celebrate Islam. After beginning this journey I have truly learned how many amazing women-owned businesses are out there. There is a phenomenal presence. There were women such as Melanie, from Haute Hijab, that inspired us and then we learned of so many more amazing women who have started their businesses from ground up, such as Modern Eid , and are the pillars of Islamic décor and creating a presence. We see them not only as those who have paved the way for other businesses, but role models that collaborate and applaud others who are novices in their field.
Beginning this dream has been a long time coming, a daunting task, sometimes I feel like crawling under my blankets and just take it all back. We began with such triumph and excitement, and now our book is unfolding. It definitely is scary to see this book being written, as it is a book without an ending. Our pages are being written with every move and every mistake, but then it makes me think, the book of our life is the real book we need to pay attention to. Everything else seems so insignificant. I cannot stress enough that Allah is the best of Planners ya Ramadan, I have planned, but when He (Allah) plans, how can we not taste the sweetness of his blessings. Have true trust in Allah and we will reap the benefits InshaAllah.
One of the most amazing blessings I have is the continuous support from my family and business partner. First of all, pitching a business idea to a Memon, who are known for their savvy business minds, is quite daunting. It was not my first attempt but I knew in the end, I could not fully commit without my best friend since 8th grade, my sister, Sadaf. Shes roped in for life and SubhanAllah it has made us even closer. May Allah protect our friendship. Ameen.
Then of course there is my realist husband, let me tell you he is my biggest supporter as well as my biggest critic. It is so frustrating to talk to him about anything sometimes because his questions make me want to crawl back under the covers, but in the end it is always such a huge relief that he asks us such difficult questions, because they have saved us from making so many mistakes. (Not that we have not made any, that’s a whole other post in itself) His support is what gets me through my moody days, because even though he is my biggest critic, his heart is always patient, kind, and open to my craziness Alhumdulilah. May Allah protect us. Ameen.
My parents, brothers, and sister in laws, are my cheerleaders. Imagine them in thobes and abayas instead of skimpy outfits. They truly are my cheering squad, my first customers, and I can’t thank everyone enough. May Allah protect my family and all of our relationships and keep us strong and united. Ameen.
Finally Ramadan, the reason I took upon all of the mental and physical responsibilities of starting this endeavor was a bit selfish. Yes, I wish I could say it was only for my kids because all they see are Christmas lights and that’s why we wanted to debut our Islamic décor company with Ramadan and Eid, but that’s not the truth. The truth is, I needed to find myself again. I needed to feel whole again. After so many ups and downs, working at the hospital and taking shifts, I was just exhausted. Yes, I absolutely did love what I did, but I was still finding it hard to make it my passion.
Many people realize the importance of creating this love for Ramadan and Eid after they become mothers, in my case, my mom had always created this beautiful Eid morning, and sahoor was just exciting to wake up to. The best days were when Daddy made food, because it just honored my mom more. I will never forget the days my mom would not be well and my dad made a full meal so all of us would be well fed for fasting. The most honorable thing in my life was to see my parents support each other. They might not know these moments were such an impact on me until now Ramadan, but how else can we honor our spouses without words. Actions are more impactful.
So yes, there was an aspect of physical labor in preparing for your arrival, prepping, aligning schedules, communicating with vendors, learning how to use our designing tools, and then the physical responsibilities of a mother that cannot be tabled for another day were just there as usual, but what kept me moving forward were my kids smiles and my son telling his friends that his mom is a business woman.
As we slowly grow Ramadan, I now realize I have to push forward to find me. I want to make an impact on this world. The customers and comments that have been shared with us are so amazing and positive. I can only pray that each item they use our products or listen/read the words we share through social media, it brings them joy and I pray that their homes are tied with happiness and “Boxed With Barakah.”