My journey to appreciating Ramadan

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When I was little, I was amazed how my parents fasted for long hours and by age of ten, I really wanted to fast. I started fasting at age of twelve and I have to say that it was pretty tough! I remember how I accidentally drank water and I started crying because I thought I broke my fast. My mom walked up to me, wiped away my tears and then explained that since I didn’t do it on purpose, I didn’t break my fast and that it was a Mercy from God. When I turned thirteen, my family and I moved to the United States and that’s when things got a little complicated. The problem with growing up in a western society is that you don’t have the support you get in a Muslim society. Not many people around me fasted and only hearing the benefits of it from my parents…let’s just say I wanted to hear something from someone my age. We are brainwashed by how not eating is bad for you, how it leads to starvation mode and it’s unhealthy and these thoughts wouldn’t leave my head. I fasted with fear of growing up with some kind of health issue and didn’t really know what to believe from what I would read online. Today, we know that many doctors actually advise their patients to fast for it’s amazing healing benefits.

Even though I would fast,  I would do it because I was told it’s the right thing to do. All I’m trying to say is that I didn’t have the right intentions that one has to have in order to fast ( fasting for God and not because we are told to do it). I couldn’t really understand why people looked forward to fasting, but it all changed when I went to college. As I started growing up, life started getting harder and my responsibilities started increasing. I was no longer just getting what I wanted, I had to work for it and that made me start appreciating the things I would earn on my own. At some point in college, I started feeling really stressed out, empty and I felt like nobody understood me. One doctor said it’s anxiety and other said it’s depression, but I knew deep inside that it’s something else. I was lucky enough to come across a post online that said, ” No matter what you are going through, it’s God testing you.”  That moment, I realized that everything happens for a reason and that Allah swt tests us in order to see if we will get closer to Him during hardships or if we will drift farther apart from Him. Alhamdullilah, I decided to take control over things in life and I started studying Islam. At that point of my life, I was questioning many things like ” why do I exist?” or ” what’s the purpose of life?” I’m sure many other young Muslim girls  or even non- muslims could relate to this.  That was when I realized how amazing this religion is! I never felt more at peace than I do now and I’m super thankful for the discovery I made that changed my life for the better.

Today, this Holly month  of Ramadan means so much more to me than it ever did before and words cannot describe how important it has become! It’s the month of self-improvement and commitment. We are learning how to control our desires, how to control ourselves mentally and physically, how to appreciate little things in life whether we have a lot or if we have nothing ( although there’s always something!). Not missing a single prayer and counting my blessing instead of my troubles is what this month has taught me and of course, there’s always something new I learn every year which is why I look forward to it!

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