How I spent my Ramadan in my childhood
Most of the time in my childhood, we had exams during Ramadan or just after it. It was an advantage for waking up early to study. Ramadan for me in my childhood was to wake up early before sunrise, eat as much as I could, drink tea to kill the sleep and study for 1-2 hours and then doze off again until time for school. At school, during tiffin break, I would see other kids eating or buying food. I would abstain myself and half of the day was spent thinking about the Iftaari which would be prepared at home. I would come home at 2PM and count for the hours left to break the fast and EAT! I would watch television for an hour and take a short afternoon nap and wake up at 4 to realize 2 more hours are left. But I would be excited to meet friends for evening prayers. I would make faces at mom for packing less amount of Iftaari as I was a real hogger (I am now too). Many a times I would fill up the tiffin box myself without her consent.
During Ramadan, we make small groups and perform evening prayers together in a small community hall. My clothes would be spotless white. Always trying to keep the praying mattress extremely clean and tidy without any spots. I wouldn’t even want someone to place a foot on it so as to get a small imprint of his foot on the perfectly ironed white praying mattress. The only black spot would be the slippers. We were told to wear old slippers or the cheapest slippers because it would be easily misplaced in the prayer hall. I would reach the earliest to get the best place under the fan and reserve places for my friends. Sometimes they would be early and reserve place for me. We would pray together and share Ifaari together and then have dinner together. Before Dinner was served, we would play small games or hand tricks amongst ourselves. Childhood games like “See see, I can do this, can you do that” or a pretty famous game called “Dal Gosh Singa Bulbul”. A game played with fingers and counting them. Something like Rock-Paper-Scissors. Only that the loser would be hand slapped (Slap on the hand, not cheek!) by all others. Post dinner was a time to gossip and take a walk. Numerous days I have played video games like Mario and Contra at the parlor nearby (1Re for 7 minutes) after dinner.
So, this is how I spent my childhood during Ramadan. Mostly carefree, Doing things at free will and mandatory things – only what was told or expected out of me or rather say “going with the flow”. Things are different when you’re all grown up.
Importance of Ramadan.
Ramadan, the month which every believer bows down willingly without any pressure or fear but sheer due to the love towards the almighty.
Its this love which brings every believer to his knees thanking and asking for for more chances to thank. Yet many of us fail to realize its importance. Many Ramadans just pass by until one realizes and understands the true reasons behind it. Many of my own Ramadans have passed away carelessly.
Many people fail to understand the importance of fasting. The fasting during Ramadan is to kill the worldly desires. Yet many people fast only to have wonderful and lavish Iftaar parties everyday. Many people I know put on extra weight due to this. Some people have Sehari like a king. Dear people, kindly restrain to such activities; The fasting has a cause. Allow your stomach to feel the crunch. Only when your stomach crunches you will truly understand the importance of food. When you break the fast and drink the first sip of Sherbet, it should remind you to thank the Almighty for the sweetness he has provided. Remember, not everyone is lucky as you to take that sip of sherbet; Many do not even get clean water to break their fast. When you quench your thirst, your glands are moist and the reward is confirmed.
Ramadan’s second name is the month of Charity. Most of us are generous on Fridays; Everyday is a Friday in the month of Ramadan. Do your best. Do not hesitate in Charity as Allah has given you more than what you need. Be thankful and help the ones who cannot afford. There are many people who cannot afford the extra expense of Ifaaris during Ramadan; Give them food grains, pulses if you do not trust them with money. Give the needy what they need rather than giving simply money. Giving money is good, but giving exactly what they need solves the purpose.
I once read a blog of a person who was a nurse in Saudi Arabia, She wrote her experience that the patients in the hospitals who are sick and are exempted from prayers also do not want to miss prayers. It becomes a serious case sometimes in their treatment but still they do not want to miss their prayers. So why many FIT and FAT people like us simply ignore prayers? If you ignore prayers, on the day of judgement, the prayers will ignore you. What will you answer to “Why didn’t you pray?” . Answers like “I was stuck in some work” or “I was held up in a meeting” or “I had a headache” are simply to give yourself a self explanation and satisfaction, these self made answers will be ridiculed. If you are delayed and genuinely stuck try to amend for it later but never miss it purposely. A late prayer with genuine reason is far better than just skipping it. Many people simply make a lame excuse saying “Oh, its already late for the prayers, so sorry I missed it”. They feel no more than 30 seconds of guilt and they are back to their normal worldly pleasures. I ask those, How can you get a sound sleep at night without the satisfaction of prayers?
Abstention from Music and Entertainment
Many people believe that they should not watch TV or movies during Ramadan. Watching TV is not illegal. But it depends on what Niyat(intention) are you watching the TV. Many people simply turn off TV, do not visit movie halls; But keep sharing SMS jokes. Do you think with only outside show off, the Almighty is not watching your deeds? NOooo, for He knows what your reveal and what you conceal (Zahir and Batin). Remember the Angels are always watching you from behind and any activity you do is noted down. Most of us do not realize this at all or are too ignorant and simple feel no one is looking at them. Others will just feel 30 seconds of guilt. Keep a clean mind and clean Niyat and Allah will take care of the rest.
Fighting with the Satan
Its true that bad thoughts keep coming as the Satan keeps whispering in your sub conscience. But while one is fasting, It is a TEST on how you fight with your own bad thoughts. What is Satan for you? Its not a physical thing which you could see, but its his whispering voice and thoughts which tries to corrupt every human being. Being positive and asking for God’s forgiveness is the best way to frustrate the Satan.
Let us all try to clean our souls, clean our hearts in this month, for this month comes just once a year.