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It is the last day of Ramadhan.
I pause to reflect on the events that have transpired this past month.
So many questions come to mind - Did I make full use of the Ramadhan? Did I manage to get closer to God? Was there anything that I could have done differently?
And the answer always seems to fall short of what I want.
It is not the not eating and drinking part that I have found difficult the past month. The challenge for me was more of the other aspects of Ramadhan: having to avert my eyes at impure sights ( a big challenge here), avoiding impure thoughts, and most of all, sustaining my supplementary prayers and du'a throughout the entire month.
But Alhamdulillah, I am glad to report that I did manage the latter - I almost always managed to pray and additional solat taubah and solat hajat after my tarawih, and an additional solat taubah and hajat after Subuh prayers. Of this I am infinitely grateful that Allah gave me the strength and will-power to accomplish this - something that I had never been able to do throughout my life.
Of the Quran, I managed to finish 16 juz... Though not as much reading done as my Muslim brethren who finished reading the Quran two or even three times this month, it is a personal best for me since my childhood days. Throughout my adult life (including my time as a student and as a professional), I had never been able to get past a few juz in Ramadhan. There was always work, assignments, things to do, too tired.. there was always something that I told myself, just so that I could justify not reading the Quran. However I do realise that I could have read so much more...
In retrospect, even though I managed to do all the above this Ramadhan, one single aspect evades me. When I think about it, I find that I did not do just that - think. I read the Quran, and I prayed all the supplementary prayers, but I did not spend enough time just sitting down, contemplating, meditating, just thinking about Him. It may sound strange to many people, but that is the truth that I concede - I did all those things for Him, but I just did not spend enough time WITH Him... Wish I could explain it better, but I can't.
And lastly, I am grateful to the Almighty for saving me and my family from the effects of the worst earthquake New Zealand had ever seen in 70 years. It could have been so much worse... Thank you Lord...
To all Muslims all around the world, I wish you Eid Mubarak. May the preceding Ramadhan be the best you have had to gain spiritual enlightenment and closeness to the Creator.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.