Ramadhan Reflections

The month of Ramadhan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. For many people, it is synonymous with fasting from dawn to dusk. Without a doubt, that is a major part of this blessed month. But for me personallyand this is especially so in the last few yearsRamadhan has also been a time for prayer, for contemplation, and most importantly, for peace.

Last year, my family and I spent Ramadhan in a lockdown in Malaysia. I wrote a couple of blog posts about it, one describing my nightly ‘tadarus‘ sessions with my MCKK batchmates, and another describing some key takeaway points I wished to take from the blessed month.

This year, once again my family and I are spending Ramadhan together in an unfamiliar setting. Partly this is because of the pandemic and its associated restrictions, although in the United Kingdom at least, the situation seems to be improving alhamdulillah. But the setting is also unfamiliar because of the lengthening days as we move further into spring. At present, we start fasting at around 4am and break our fast around 8.30pm. This is longer than a typical day of fasting in Malaysia, where people normally would fast from around 5.30am to 7.30pm.

Nevertheless I am very grateful for the experience.

I’ve learnt not to take my time in this world for granted. A few days ago I shared this quote with my kids:

Yesterday is history

Tomorrow is a mystery

But today is a gift

That is why it is called the present

I didn’t recall it at the time, but apparently that quote was in Kung Fu Panda 2!

Anyway, you should’ve seen the looks on my kids’ faces when they heard it. A multi-step journey from initial bewilderment (what is Dad talking about now?), to the moment of understanding, before finally breaking into smiles at the ingenuity of the words.

Is the quote corny though? Sure. Naive? Maybe. But that’s what I love about kids. They’re not cynical about the world. They’re curious and excited to learn new things. I wish more people would learn to be like this again.

Stepping Away From Social Media

At the beginning of Ramadhan I decided to take a break from Facebook by deactivating my account temporarily. Sure, social media (not just Facebook) can be useful, but increasingly I just find it to be a cacophony of bruised egos. I don’t want to be overzealous about it or anything, but after the initial withdrawal period I must admit that it’s been really nice not to have to bother with social media at all. John Gruber over at Daring Fireball posted something about Twitter yesterday that hit the nail right on the head:

Twitter is a machine for directing self-righteous anger, and it fires all day, every day, whether the targets are deserving or not.

What is true for Twitter, is also very true for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, <insert your favourite social media platform here>.

I know I’ll be back on Facebook soon because I don’t want to lose touch with my friends completely. But my brief experiment away from it has taught me to value it even less than I did before. If only there was a better way to see everyone’s family pictures this Hari Raya!

That’s all folks. I hope you too will learn something meaningful during this blessed month of Ramadhan. Until then, take care…