This blog is published for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the thousands of Muslims raised or reverts, or even non-Muslis, who might be living in areas where they are not able to experience Ramadan in a Muslim community; so we, at MWA, invite you to be a part of our community in Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong) Al-Baqarah 2:185

Established in 2006, Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How reflective writing gave my Ramadan renewed meaning by MWA's Nouran Emad

Two Fridays before the start of Ramadan 2013, at Jummah prayer, the Imam spoke about how the true purpose of Ramadan had become forgotten. He spoke of how people fast every year because it had become merely a "tradition", rather than because there was a religious purpose intertwined with wisdom behind it.

I went home that day thinking about what the Imam had said and found myself asking a series of questions. Have all my past Ramadan's been the exact same? No, of course not, there is not one Ramadan the same as the one before or the one to come. Each Ramadan has this one special unique vibe to it that makes it memorable, but then what did the Imam mean by "don't let this Ramadan be another forgotten purpose", and how can I not let this happen?

So, I thought about it the next few days while Ramadan was getting closer by the second, and thanks to Allah (SWT) it finally struck me. I took notice of why the purpose of Ramadan had become forgotten; because we only view Ramadan as a 30-day religious celebration that gives us a boost in our faith, unites us as a one big family during Iftar, and reminding us about giving charity.

It became clear to me that generally we understand our religious duties, and without a doubt thanks to Allah (SWT), we strive to perform these duties well. However, the issue is that we fail to contemplate, reflect, or in the very least, ponder on the reasons behind the religious duties we perform in Ramadan.

Then it occurred to me that what the Imam was saying, is that we don't complete the "thinking" part of Ramadan, which I find equally as important as being religiously observant. Of course, it depends on our individual level of maturity and thinking abilities, and Allah (SWT) knows well. So I decided that this Ramadan I would try to make sure I understood, to the best of my ability, everything I do in this Holy month.

Since I have always believed and encouraged writing to be the only solution to understand, reflect, and contemplate on everything that falls in my circle of faith, I decided to do exactly that.

I started something in my journal called "daily Ramadan reflections". This would be where I write reflecting on my fasting or a Quranic verse I happened to come across. I would record anything really. Even if it was cooking for iftar, or as simple as cleaning my room. I determined to record my own reflections and relate each to its importance in Ramadan. Most importantly, I set out to ask myself questions that would help work my brain cells to think more about the purpose of Ramadan. For example, why is this relevant in Ramadan? How does fasting purify my soul? How did I feel during the unity of iftar?

Recording my daily Ramadan reflections has not only given my Ramadan purpose, but the task has helped me achieve a surprising new goal. In re-reading my older journal entries I was reminded of things I still needed to work on; things that strengthen the things I am trying to focus on this year, as well. The reflections will serve you well if you record the exact feelings in the moment and why so you were feeling that way. Insha'Allah, this will help you better understand your connection with the Holy Month of Ramadan and to help you see the difference between what you were taught about Ramadan and your actual commitment to performance of what you have learned.

Alhamdulillah, I thank God for letting me attend that pre-Ramadan Jummah Friday speech. It opened my heart, allowing me to see the blessings of Ramadan a little differently, and to realize the beautiful advantages of writing.

I encourage everyone to journal their daily Ramadan reflections - I'm certain many of you have already - and to always spread the word. I know for sure, insha'Allah, that as long as I live, I will strive to do this every Ramadan. Writing helps us connect our circle of faith, a gift from Allah (SWT) that helps us see, through words, its beautiful blessings. Ramadan Kareem!!

Nouran Emad is 19-year-old Muslimah who is happy to be part of MWA's third annual Ramadan blog. Nouran has contributed several written works to online Islamic publications and magazines. She enjoys reading, traveling, and is passionate about poetry and creative writing. She believes that writing is a blessing from Allah (SWT) that can be used to connect our circle of faith and to better understand ourselves. Nouran hopes that through her writing she can speak to hearts and not minds.

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