A Spiritual Seclusion

This Ramadan, as many of us have noticed, is particularly special. This time last year, no one could have predicted this situation. After I moved houses mid last year, I already had a Ramadan plan prepared. My journey time to the masjid is now less than 5 minutes drive! My plan for this Ramadan was to park the car and walk to the masjid. This was always envisioned in my mind. It would have meant I could stay longer after Taraweeh and catch up with friends. I planned how I would try and balance work and doing i’tikaf. However, all of those plans were put on hold by COVID-19.

I felt disheartened at first. However, I came across a beautiful reminder. A reminder that our religion had made attaining good deeds so easy. Such that, if we just make the intention to do something good, we will be rewarded for it even if we have not done it in the first place and doing it physically will give us ten times the reward. This has been well explained in the following Hadith:

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The one who intends to do a good deed and he does not do it, he will get rewarded for it as if he did it. And if he does it, his reward will be multiplied ten times.”

It allowed me to see the positive outcome of self-isolation. I had more time for myself, or at least I thought. If you asked my wife, she’d give you a different answer. She argues that I’m the same busy guy – simply turning all my outdoor meetings into virtual ones. Whilst I thought it was an exaggeration from her side, reality hit when I realised that I had somehow managed to drain all my 20GB internet data allowance, for the first time ever.

I needed to reevaluate my approach to Ramadan. I needed to use isolation to my benefit, to truly make this Ramadan different. Looking at the history of Islam, isolation is nothing new. There is a term known as khalwa which roughly translates to spiritual seclusion. Withdrawing oneself from the hustle and bustle of life; to reflect and meditate. 

That being said, my lack of internet came as a benefit. Whilst, I’ve always denied that I am attached to my phone and disagreed with my wife whenever she says I spend a lot of time on the device. Those 30 mins in the queue whilst shopping, without internet, made me question my thoughts. I actually felt each minute passing by. I was more alert to my surroundings. 

Those 30 minutes were an eye-opener and showed me that sometimes we can defend ourselves too quickly, when in fact we don’t notice the habits that have become deeply rooted within us. We need to step out of our comfort zones and listen to constructive criticism from those we love and hold dear. 

Umar Ibn Al Khattab gave us beautiful advice regarding this, “May Allah have mercy on the one who shows me my faults.”

This Ramadan, I’ve been given an even bigger opportunity to self-reflect. Lockdown has facilitated more opportunities for us to practice what we’ve been encouraged to do in Ramadan all along. Pause. Reflect. Reset. This month is about hope and redemption. It’s about giving others and ourselves chances to be better versions of themselves and ourselves. Isolation and social distancing may enhance not just our relationship with God, but our relationship with ourselves

I ask Allah to bless us all with true spouses and friends who help us develop ourselves and become the best version of ourselves. I pray that we make the most of this Ramadan, and come out of this month of those who are winners.

Also, always listen to the wife, she is always right.  

 

Sohaib Alhashimi is the MABY head of Tarrbiyah. A happily married man for nearly two years. An infrastructure and utilities engineer by profession. Studying MSc Engineering Business Management part-time.