I remember most of my previous Ramadan being filled with anxiety. How will I be able to survive this day? How will I be able to complete this work while fasting? Can I take care of a baby if I fast? The anxiety-induced thoughts went on. And when Ramadan ended, I heaved a secret sigh of relief. No more hunger, I thought. And I wondered how it felt when I read of people's expression of sadness to see Ramadan go.
But Allah is Kind and All-Knowing. He teaches us lessons in all their right times in ways He knows best for us. I begged to understand the meaning of Ramadan more and more each year, and alhamdulillah, this year, albeit still with tinges of anxiety in between some of my chores, I also found a kind of beauty I never felt before. And I'm reluctant to say goodbye to Ramadan tonight.
This month has been one of the most beautiful I've known. It is the first one that I try to search for the Night of Power, Laylatul Qadr. The amazing thing is, my awareness towards this powerful night was actually made stronger after reading to my toddler a children's book about Ramadan. Such is Allah's power when sending us the lessons He intends.
Being the first time that I try to catch this blessed night, I admit that there are truckloads that I still do not know. I searched for knowledge in all the places that I could. What does this night mean, what do I do, how do I make the best of this night, how do I know if it is the night, and so on. And I am still learning.
I failed to wake up every single night of the last ten nights of Ramadan, but tried my best to be up on the odd-numbered nights. I don't know if I really made use of all of them, Wallahu a'lam, but inshaaAllah I believe they all consisted of efforts to try to be better.
Each time I woke up though, I failed to complete what I was doing, as my toddler would wake up midway, crying for me to be back in bed next to her. And each time I persevered and told myself that I'd try again the night after the next.
And then came the 27th night. I believed and hoped so much that this would be the night of silence where I spent it all in peace, in tears, and in a conversation with Allah swt. I tiptoed my way out of my bedroom and reassured myself that my toddler was fast asleep as I took another glance at her. But again, she woke up, screamed and cried for me before I could even begin. I admit that I felt disappointed. I came back to my daughter, laid next to her and waited for her to fall asleep comfortably again. And then I sobbed uncontrollably until dawn. While next to my sleeping daughter, I cried and cried, and wondered and asked Allah why I never had the chance to complete my nights with Him. Only to realize that I was on a conversation with Him, in tears, and indeed, in peace as it was just my heart at that point in time, with Him.
I realized then how all of that represented the way Allah swt listens to our prayers, and will always always answer them, even if they're in ways different from ones we envisioned. Allah listens. And Allah answers.
And I realized too how very blessed I am, that my obstacle, if you could call it that, in trying to worship Allah, is so little and tiny. I cannot imagine those spending Ramadan in war-torn countries. Their nights may not be literally as silent, but they could very well have more silent and peaceful nights through their hearts. May Allah swt bless them and grant them Jannah.
I still do not know if I had caught the blessed night of Laylatul Qadr. But I do know that it has been a beautiful month of learning, of tears and of trying to be closer to Him. Ramadan, I will miss you. I understand now the notion of missing this beautiful month. May we be able to meet you again next year, inshaaAllah.
P/S - The photos above were captured during my stay at my parents', one of the best moments of Ramadan this year too, alhamdulillah.