Ramadan Means … by Radiya Hafiza

What does Ramadan mean to me? It feels difficult to find one word but I think ultimately, for me, it’s about TRYING. Ramadan is the time for me to try and be a better Muslim, to get closer to Allah, to pause and take account of myself, and particularly my heart. Where am I? Where am I going? And how do I get there?

There’s no other time of year where I’m able to try as hard as I do than during Ramadan. I’m grateful for the blessings of this month, the ease that’s given to us by Allah to help us fast, do good deeds and extra prayers. During this month, I try to stay away from being mindless and limit my own pastimes like TV and social gatherings (not always successful), and try instead to fill my heart with what it’s missing which is the worship and remembrance of Allah.

It’s a bit of a religious and spiritual bootcamp for me; trying to go back to the essence of what I believe I’m here for. I always have grand plans for this month but never get to achieve as much as I aimed to, but I take some comfort in knowing that I’ve tried. This is my first Ramadan as a new mum so I’ve found I don’t have time to do even a third of what I normally used to. So instead I’m trying to do things like praying my five prayers on time, tasbeeh throughout the day, reciting some Quran, or listening to short reminders online. I’m trying to rid my heart of its grudges and ill feelings, trying to clean my tongue so it speaks only good or remains silent. It’s hard to confront yourself and work on your shortcomings but I want to leave Ramadan better than I entered it, even if the changes are small.

I know I can fall short in trying to do the right thing, in trying to be a good Muslim, but Ramadan reminds me that there is always time and space to do something good, even if it’s a little thing like sharing food with neighbours or giving charity. Living through Ramadan reminds me that there is more to life
than its usual rites as my priorities often get clouded throughout the rest of the year.

Ramadan is a reset button, a chance to turn my life around. When life is weighing me down to the brink of no return, Ramadan comes at the right time to lift me up. It is hope, it is help; it is a lifeline.

Radiya Hafiza studied English Language and Literature at King’s College London and worked in publishing for a few years. She is behind the fantastic blog The Good Assistant. Radiya grew up reading classic Western fairy tales that never had any brown girls in them – Rumaysa is her debut novel, bringing such stories to children who need to see themselves represented.

Rumaysa Ever After by Radiya Hafiza is out now in paperback (£7.99, Macmillan Children’s Books)

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