On Gratitude (Shukr)

Keep Calm, It's Ramadan
Keep Calm, It’s Ramadan

Ramadan means something different for everyone. As a time of self-reflection, those of us observing it have very personal responses to Islam’s holy month of fasting.

“Allah said ‘Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it.”

(Tirmidhi)

There’s a silent pact with fasting. With the last drop of water at dawn, to the first taste of dates at dusk, it’s between you and God. That’s what I like about this month of patience. Unlike other acts of worship which are more community-based, your roza is more a state of mind, in my opinion.

As a kid, I remember an air of festivity during the month; the excitement of waking up for sehri in the wee hours of the night in cold winters; “half-rozay” for days when I was too young to understand fasting, but wanted to participate; playing out in the sun and running home as soon as the sun started to set; Aloo-walay parathay with the grandparents; a loud siren at fajr before a sound of a firecracker; iftar tv transmissions and waiting patiently (and not so patiently) for the maghrib azaan…

One of my earliest memories of the month is as an 8-year old. My cousins were visiting us during Ramadan and my grandfather took us to Japanese park (the children’s park at the Margalla foothills). The older kids, 8 and 10 respectively had decided to fast. Of course, we’d forgotten all about that in the excitement of going to the park. After running around in the sandy grounds, trying out every slide, swing and balance beam, we were exhausted. The younger kids decided to get cotton candy at this point — which soon resulted in one of the biggest tests of patience I’ve experienced =p.

Since then, Ramadan has meant a lot of different things for me. My own relationship with the month has seen fluctuations, with spiritual highs and lows. But if I had to identify one element that has been consistent, it’s gratitude (shukr). I’m grateful for having a month of reflection – whether it is to think about past actions, life changes, or self-improvement. I’m glad that I get the chance to break away from a routine in which I often lose myself to rediscover my goals in life; perhaps to strengthen connections that are lost, both worldly and spiritual. And most of all, I’m thankful for things I usually take for granted the rest of the year; Ramadan makes me think of my blessings in life.

What does Ramadan mean for you?

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10 thoughts on “On Gratitude (Shukr)

  1. There are so many memories attached to this month for me, from my first Roza to the Roza where I forgot I was fasting and drank a jug of water. It’s a month where I feel happy, I am excited, I am optimistic. It’s because every good memory of my childhood is attached to Ramazan, and I eagerly wait throughout the year for it.

    Great post.

  2. You have highlighted a very key element of ramadhan; being grateful to Allah. Allah has promised in the quran that be grateful to Me and i will give you more.
    Coincidentally i was thinking about it this morning, that much of the things we have been blessed with we start to take them for granted, and momentary deprivation makes us feel as if the world owes it to us, that’s when we lose the much needed spirit of shukr.
    Let us not lose the smile regardless of what the world throws at us.

    well written, a thumbs up.

  3. “I’m grateful for having a month of reflection – whether it is to think about past actions, life changes, or self-improvement.”
    This is what the real essence of fasting is all about,, Reflections, Refining of soul and determination of getting better than the Good….
    and i assume after the exhaustion at the Japanese park, you would have said No to the candy bar 😛 😀

    1. Thank you for commenting! True that: “This is what the real essence of fasting is all about,, Reflections, Refining of soul and determination of getting better than the Good”

  4. I love this part:
    “I’m glad that I get the chance to break away from a routine in which I often lose myself to rediscover my goals in life; perhaps to strengthen connections that are lost, both worldly and spiritual.”
    ^One of my most favourite things about this Blessed Month.
    Another favourite; getting to know myself better in the absence of Shayateen. With their whispering gone, It’s easier to figure out what really is and isn’t me.

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