The Ramadan Aesthetic
‘Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an and Du’aa (supplication)’
A phrase that is reiterated in the build up to every month of Ramadan. I’ve made aesthetic mind maps of how many ayaat (verses) I’d need to read each day to reach my monthly khatam (completion of recital) of the Quran. I’ve also made exhaustive du’aa lists in fancy fonts and purposeful categorizations. In all honesty, I found that sticking to my inflexible plan would only lead to an internal struggle and losing hope in my ability to achieve my ultimate goal: To deepen my connection with Allah (swt) and to understand His words.
This month I wanted to take things slow and be mindful of the ‘why’ behind my actions. (NB. I am not a mindfulness Guru).
It all began when I was asked, ‘What are your core values?’ – a question that quite frankly stumped me and left me stuttering. I reeled off the first two things that came to mind: God and family. I was gently encouraged to explore some deeper values that built the composite of my persona, thoughts and feelings. They included (this is not an exhaustive list): Stability, community, and being valued. It made me appreciate the importance of studying my intentions: ‘Why am I doing this task/action?’, ‘How will it make me feel if I achieve this?’.
So, my journey to mindful goal setting and introspection began. This Ramadan, I wanted to read the Qur’an slowly. I wanted to know why Allah (swt) was telling me certain things, and why in that specific order?
I won’t break down my entire journey but to give you an idea, it’s the 30th night of Ramadan and I am yet to complete Surat al Baqarah – Alhamdulilah I am content with this.
A Qur’anic reflection I wanted to share was that about Du’aa. Prior to entering Ramadan, I would try to adhere to reciting my daily supplications, but my personal conversation with Allah (swt) was lacking.
In verses 32-34 of Surah Ibraheem, Allah (swt) puts forth his argument: He created the heavens, earth, precipitation, sustenance, modes of transport, rivers, and night and day all at our disposal. Allah (swt) then says:
وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham said, “My Lord, make this city [Makkah] secure and keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols.”
After our basic needs of security, stability and sustenance are met, Allah swt tells us that He will also give us all that we ask of Him. Our Rabb (sustainer and cherisher) created us knowing that we will have further needs and desires. Our Rabb is there to answer those needs. His blessings are bottomless but we are sometimes veiled by our entitlement to what have become our basic human rights. It becomes quite easy to ‘forget’ to be grateful (read: ungrateful). Du’aa is a process of acknowledging, remembering, yearning, asking, receiving and thanking. It creates an ongoing conversation with Allah (swt) which deepens your love for Him and your gratefulness for His blessings.
I pray that as Ramadan comes to a bittersweet end, our ongoing conversation with Allah swt and our efforts to understand His commands (at our own pace) perpetually continue.
Leena Farhat is a dentist who qualified from the University of Sheffield in 2017. She was president of the Islamic Society there and later moved to the Midlands where she currently volunteers in MAB Youth and Scouts.