Dear Ramadhan,

You are like an old friend who comes to visit once a year. I don’t always remember you, but you never fail to show up when I need you the most. My fondest memories of you are from my teenage years when I just started to fast for the entire month. On those strange and holy mornings with sleepy eyes, I was awakened by my father calling the adhan. His strained notes would echo through the cold valley, waking us up from our bush dreams and stirring our hearts. I remember the smell of oranges the most.

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Dear Ramadhan,

There were times when you visited and I was not ready, even though I knew you were coming. My heart was cluttered and heavy. I felt burdened by my circumstances and sensed a chasm between my Creator and I. You came anyway; you came and you became the bridge that I didn’t realize I needed.  Through you, I was able to reconnect with Allah (SWT) and find things that I lost in the clutter. I didn’t want you to leave. You left anyway. I remember peppermint leaves steeped in hot water.

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Dear Ramadhan,

On many of your visits, I ignored you. I pretended that you were not there… tried desperately to do things to make the time pass quickly so that you would leave. Your presence reminded me of oranges and the smell of peppermint. Of my father’s voice and my mother’s warm embrace. Your presence reminded me of their absence and of broken dreams and lost opportunities. I did not appreciate you then, I may have even harboured hate for you, my friend. I am sorry. I remember the smell of roasted coffee beans the most.

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Dear Ramadhan,

On many of your visits, I felt alone. I let you in and you were my only company. Our time together was bittersweet. I struggled… I kept a bowl of oranges on the table even though I couldn’t bring myself to eat them. I planted the mint. The only familiar sounds on those still mornings were my beating heart and the hum of the night creatures. You reminded me that in fact, I was not alone and that with every struggling heartbeat with which I remembered Allah (SWT), that He would remember me and comfort me. The peppermint grew and I removed it from the pot and planted it in the ground.

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Dear Ramadhan,

You are like a distant light to a weary traveller. A light of hope and solace. A light that reminds us of the mercy of our Lord. A light that reminds us that as long as we are alive, all is not lost. A light that can illuminate our lives to help us find our path again. A light that brightens the dark corners of our existence showing us the things we lost or took for granted. May the scorching sun at the height of our thirst remind us to always cherish the gifts we find in you.

 

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Dear Ramadhan,

As I age, you remain timeless. Every time you visit you are more and more beautiful to me. When you are here, it is not hard to see the beauty in others, it becomes easier to be kind and understanding. I become more gentle. I am more careful with the words I utter and more cautious about where I place my feet. I no longer feel bound and hindered by the prison of this body in my quest for true fulfilment.

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Dear Ramadhan,

You are here now, but there will come a time when you will come knocking and I will no longer be. You will outlive my body but my soul hopes to survive to perhaps see the rewards of my struggles. In you, I pray to find that night that is better than one thousand months. Deep within you rests the possibility of forgiveness, respite and bounty from sources unimaginable. Dear friend…you are always welcomed here.

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“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint;”

Qur’an 2:183