Some Observations for the Holy Month

The holy month is just around the corner. Literally at the corner in fact. 3-4 days away now. And given the temperature rise that takes place in our personalities in general and the way the actual temperatures are going I think we must take stock of things before hand to ensure that we actually live up to the most basic creed of this holy month. It is an ideal time to learn patience, peace, self-control and acceptance. The patience to not just go through the day without food and water. But patience in our dealings as humans with other people as well. In our understanding of other people. In managing our tempers and moods and attitudes. Peace with knowing who you are, peace with the situation and circumstances around you and in your particular world. Peace in achieving spirituality. Peace through spiritually getting closer to our Almighty Allah. Self-control on all forms of temptations. From food to all those addictions to habits and behaviors which are negative or not exactly good. And acceptance of others. Of who they are. Of the fact that not everyone is the same.

From this point on let’s try and be on our best behavior from all aspects for Ramadan and maybe continue those behaviors going forward in life as well.

  1. Remember – We are all human

We are all but humans created by the same Almighty. However we are all not the same and yes some people make errors – in work, judgement and simple day to day tasks. Let’s remember that being human means to err. Let’s not lose our cool on those mistakes made by people no matter how irritating they may seem. Breathe in and don’t let it get to you. People aren’t robots and maybe some people can’t perform to their possible levels during Ramadan. Or well some people are genuinely more error prone but not due to any lack of effort. That’s unfortunately who they are. So maybe instead of losing your cool try and helping. You might just point out something they have been doing or approaching wrong.

  1. Fasting isn’t just about no eating and drinking

It isn’t just about not eating and drinking during the day. It’s also about practicing good behaviors and interactions with people. It’s also about your good manners as a human being overall. Not being rude to people unnecessarily. Not just trying to be aggressive in an effort to establish yourself as a dominant personality and showing your well I don’t know perhaps position of power. Not having ulterior motives. Not back biting. Not gossiping. Not getting into everyone’s business. Not spreading everyone’s business to everyone when everyone is not even concerned. No dramatics.

  1. Live and let live

First and foremost everyone isn’t a follower of Islam. There are people who follow other faiths. And it is not in their religion to be fasting. So they are eating and drinking. You should not have a problem with that. PATIENCE AND ACCEPTANCE. Ok there are people who follow Islam as well and who do not fast. AGAIN – YOU should not have a problem with that. PATIENCE and ACCEPTANCE. Maybe they have health issues which does not allow them to fast or they are currently unwell or in a situation where they cannot fast. Or maybe it was an off day. Or maybe they don’t fast. It is between them and Allah. As long as they are not coming and interfering with you fasting or actually trying to make you not fast then it shouldn’t concern you. Judgement is not for humans. It is for Allah. Yes we may advise – but not judge. And this is not just for Ramadan and fasting. Everyone has their own way of living and approaching life. Their own priorities and their own goals in life. They have their own worries and struggles and happiness moments and achievements. Their own way of celebration and their own way of dealing with stress and grief. People go through circumstances which change their personality. Some people have a change in lifestyle when they have a change in their life – new place, new job, getting married etc. Different things. People evolve and grow. Its ok. As long as whatever is happening isn’t coming and actually harming you physically or getting in the way of your being able to live happily and do your things and duties of life in peace – then it is not your problem. Don’t go out of your way to make it a problem. Live and let live. And be ok with things.

  1. Explore a healthier lifestyle

It might not sound like something that can happen in Ramadan especially given how we are a culture which is big on grand iftars and grand sehris and as a nation love our food. But tell you what – Ramadan is actually a very good month to develop certain habits and routines. You can actually develop a better nutritional balance during this month as long as you are disciplined about it. Choose healthy foods over the jalebis and samosas. One offs are all good but focus on the greens and the fruits and the good proteins made in a good way. You can with discipline get your body used to this eating habit. And this eating habit will definitely help you in the long run. Avoid all the junk as much as possible and stick to as much organic as possible. Oh and home food is king during Ramadan. At all costs avoid the All you can eat Iftar buffets. Please. They are a waste of money and time and health. Also the best time to break habits which you might want to. And addictions if any.

  1. Dates are not just for symbolism and tradition

Dates are actually packed with a lot of energy. They are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. Its a good source of energy, sugar and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates. It also contains vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K. So don’t think it is just a tradition for Ramadan or symbolic. There is lots of good in eating dates as can be read above!

  1. Plan a work out, sport or exercise just before or a little after Iftar

I am sure some of you already do this. And some of you are raising your eyebrows saying ‘is he mad! In this heat in Roza’. Granted on the face of it that may be a valid observation. But it is tried and tested. Rest it out during the middle of the day after your school/college or work. And just before Iftar hit the track/gym or field of sport. It will do wonders. You will realize that some latent energy will come through for you and just reaching home and freshening up in time for Iftar will be a great way to make sure you have a balanced iftar also and not over do it. At least that works for me. For those who don’t fancy this can always take the night work out option after Iftar.

7. Be as charitable as you can and help the needy

I can’t stress on this enough. People are needy and poor out there. They are suffering and are facing challenges on a daily basis. Help out as much as you can. Switch on the charitable side of your personality and never turn it off. Help children who are being deprived of their childhood eat meals. Distribute as many iftar as possible. Help people not just through money and food – but in any way possible. This is one of the best ways to appease Allah and also to attain a sense of spirituality and inner peace for yourself. And also for your after life. Help people to eventually help yourself. A few hundreds everyday will not affect your wallet. I am talking to the affluent ones here or in the very least people who have some privileges in their lifestyles. Distribute help this month and beyond. Donate to a charity. Spread the word. Physically help out with tasks if necessary. Aid those who are of special needs perhaps. Or those who are medically not doing well. There are many ways you can do this and must.

Baggage

Baggage – that wonderful term that we all know of and use quite commonly. Emotional, personal and professional – baggage. The weight of past experiences (usually with a negative connotation attached) that we still carry with us in our current situations. Most often referred to for emotional experiences. Relationships that went south. Or ended abruptly due to circumstances beyond our control. Relationships which we can’t get out of our systems entirely. For one reason or the other.

When I think about it at times it seems a little hard to believe why people find it difficult to get over relationships. To get over the people from their past. I mean yes everyone’s situation varies vastly. Still, why is it so difficult. One would think that death is the most difficult thing to get over. Death of a close one. But then death is a natural step, a part of life or rather the conclusion of it that all of us have to go through. That question did always elude me till fairly recently. Having gone through one of the most excruciating experiences in life (emotionally) I realize why it isn’t as simple.

Honestly… from an emotional stand point I wouldn’t even want my worst enemy to feel the kind of pain that I did. And I am not talking about a high school relationship break up sort of pain. Of course not – that’s literally very very easy to get over. No, can never compare to the pain of divorce. For all intents and purposes let me just state right now – no one other than someone who has gone through the same thing can understand what it feels like. Its just not something that can be imagined… or related to unless you have gone through it yourself. Anyway I am not dwelling on the experience itself. My point is my own experience helped me realize why some baggage is difficult to let go of.

For one it is really heavy and weighs you down quite a lot. So much so that in certain instances it does change you (for better or for worse). The experience might leave you more stronger to face things that are to come, more learned and more prepared. Wiser in knowing what is more important, what the priorities should be. In others it leaves you lacking trust. Lacking conviction in the whole ideology of being with someone. Or well if not that then just the inherent trust factor that needs to be overcome.

Secondly – unlike death this isn’t exactly a natural order of things. It is something that has been brought on by yourself or pushed on you by someone else. For whatever reasons. But its ‘manmade’ if you will. Death – while again a very emotionally jarring and painful thing to deal with – is something that is natural, it has to happen. It is but the conclusion of a temporary life and the beginning of an eternal one. It is easier to accept (in by and large 99% of the cases). But something like a divorce is just painful, leaves you always wishing that it had never happened. You wish to erase it from your memory.

And hence .. baggage. We all come with  it. We all have some of it. Some have heavy baggage, some have small. But we all have it. It is also part of life. And we were all given the lives that we have been given because we are strong enough to live them. So the baggage that we have is there to make us stronger people. Let’s be better for it, let’s be wiser for it. Let’s make the baggage be an experience to learn from and not something that weighs us down. Harder said then done. But then aren’t most things.