Ramadaan hope for the underachiever

The infant sun peeks out from behind a mountain peak

The last third of Ramadaan is almost upon us, and if you’re like me, you haven’t really hit the highs of the month yet. Personally, it’s been another low-key Ramadaan (as is the standard in recent years) – with only fleeting moments of inspiration and spiritual highs.

Personal circumstances have engulfed me – in this past week especially – but instead of feeling upset about that, I know better. I know to take it in my stride, because such challenges are a normal part of life. We cannot choose when our trials will come, but regardless of who we are, what we have, and where we are spiritually, those challenges WILL come. They’re a necessary part of life that is to be expected (as expounded upon recently).

The challenge is in being open to such events – which you know will throw you off the path you were hoping to take…in this case for me, a wonderfully spiritual Ramadaan.

But the month still continues. And each day, we still share brotherhood and sisterhood with our fellow Muslims – united by our adherence to the Divine injunction to restrain ourselves in the daytime, then strive in worship during the nights. And even if you haven’t felt uplifted, chances are, you still have been…because it’s impossible not to benefit from the tide of ongoing blessings that rains upon us in these sacred days and nights.

No matter where you are in the spectrum of Islam – from the most nominal of Muslims (those unfortunately and insultingly labelled as ‘Ramadaan Muslims’) all the way up to the most intensely worshipful ones – the fact remains: this month will have touched you. You will have done something more for your deen in these last few weeks – either because it’s easier when the whole community is doing it, or simply because you feel a personal need to strive just that little bit harder, because you’re hoping – in some way – to become a better Muslim…a better person…in these precious moments of our annual highlight.

And though you may not have done as much as you should have, know that there’s still time. That doesn’t mean that you need to do a  180-degree turn and completely transform yourself and your efforts for the final 10 days. That would be awesome, of course – but it’s entirely unrealistic. Because experience dictates that when you’re in a rut – or in a less-than-optimal pattern of being – it’s not very easy to suddenly change things and achieve that which feels hopelessly out of reach.

What I mean is, as long as you continue to witness these Ramadaan days and nights, you have ongoing opportunities to do better – even in some small way. Remember that famous hadith that tells us that the deeds most beloved to Allah are those that are consistent, even if they be small.

  • Haven’t spent enough time with the Quran (either reciting or reflecting upon it)? Make an intention to clear just a few minutes each day/night for that.
  • Feeling as if you haven’t been charitable enough? Set aside a small amount of money each day, and give it to someone in need. Even if you don’t see poor people daily, you can still fulfill this by keeping a little collection tin at home, and dropping your coins into it each day. Then just hand that tin to a charity organisation or your masjid once you’ve collected enough.
  • Continuously missing out on taraweeh or salaah in congregation? No problem. For this home stretch, plan your time better and aim to get just one extra salaah in the masjid…even if it’s a mere 2 rakaats of Taraweeh. (And please don’t be put off by people who look down upon those who don’t make 20 rakaats of Taraweeh every night. It’s none of their business what you do or don’t do.)

My point in saying all of this is: it’s not the quantity that matters…it’s the sincerity. If you can consistently do just one extra thing with true sincerity – aiming to please your Creator – it’s better for you than a hundred extra acts of worship that are done heedlessly and without sincerity.

Don’t be disillusioned because you feel you’re not really making good enough use of this month, while some others appear to be in spiritual bliss – flying high, truly enjoying the blessings of this month and taking mountains of good deeds and benefit from it.

Don’t compare yourself to them. The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

So, go forward into these last 10 days and nights, and just push yourself a little harder. No matter how disappointing the month has been thus far, just look forward – not back.

Make a sincere intention. Keep making dua asking Allah to help you fulfill those goals. And then try your best to succeed – bearing in mind that even if you fail, it’s not a disaster. Because success lies not in your hands, but with Allah alone.

All you can do is try. So try away. And hopefully, when Eid day comes, you can be proud of the fact that you at least made some progress, which you can then take forward into the year ahead.

Have an amazing final third of Ramadaan.

JazakAllah for reading, and if it’s not too much trouble, please remember me and my family in one of your duas.




2 thoughts on “Ramadaan hope for the underachiever

  1. Although I am reading it late, but I believe that a person goes through such feelings throughout the year. we have this fight going on inside us. This was really a very encouraging article, it makes me want to try harder now, because indeed Allah rewards for trying also. 🙂

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