Sublime Gratitude

This Ramadan is different. It’s easy to list all the things we have lost and I’m sure many have reflected on this.

No taraweeh at the mosque, no shared iftars, no Jummah prayers, no visits from extended family every weekend. I could go on. 

It reminded me how I might feel when I am in my grave. Wish I had prayed one more Taraweeh in the mosque; wish I had held one more iftar party to feed the fasting; wish I had heard one more khutbah and followed it; wish I had helped one more relative or neighbour…

The big difference is that right now I can still do something about it myself inshaAllah. While in my grave I will have to rely on the kindness of strangers like you, or my unknown descendants to pray for me. 

It’s much harder in times of uncertainty to remember the things we should be grateful for.

For those who would normally be working or in school and are now at home, we have more flexibility to structure our days around the fast. For those from London – like myself – we don’t have to be travelling on the tube in rush hour which is definitely a big blessing. Those of us who’ve been blessed to isolate with families are getting to spend a lot more time in Ramadan with each other than we may have done previously.

I’ve been trying to make sense of this situation for quite some time now, and I think Ramadan has, as always, come at the perfect time. A lot of us are incredibly fortunate to make it to Ramadan. The first month of lockdown was filled with fear and seemingly never-ending, this month, however, is already sublime. 

It’s got me reflecting on my relationship with Allah SWT and how I can strengthen it. I think for me now it’s framing everything through a lens of gratefulness. 

I’m grateful for my health, and the health of my family and loved ones. I’m grateful for time that I did not see myself having to spend studying and instead spent reflecting on the Quran this month. I’m trying to start and end each day with a list of gratitude – 5 things I’m grateful to Allah for. A habit admittedly I intended to start a long time ago but have only just managed to. 

Rabe’ah Al-‘Adawiya – an outstanding Muslim Scholar and contemporary of Hasan-Al-Basri – once saw a man with a big bandage bound around his head. “What’s this bandage you’ve tied about” Rabe’ah asked. “I have a headache,” he responded. “What’s your age?” Rabe’ah asked. “Thirty” he answered. “Have you had good health overall or illness and infirmity throughout your life?” Rabe’ah asked. “Good health mostly” he answered. “You never bound a bandage about your head to express your gratitude to God for this excellent health yet now for the sake of a minor headache you place this huge bandage and complain to all the world.”

How well does our Lord know us and how amazing is every word in His book: 

“Truly, Man is to his Lord ungrateful. And to this fact he bears witness (by his deeds).”

(Surah Al-Adiyat 100:6-7)


MAB halaqah member