Ramadan 1445 AH / 2024 CE just ended. It was mostly a peaceful month for me, which allowed me to reflect on the profound months and year prior. I’m grateful that God allowed me to travel and experience life with different views. It would be a disservice not to share them so I’ll do so in the coming months. For now, here are my summarised thoughts.

Remembering What’s Important

From mid-Jan to end of Feb 2024, I was living my farm girl era on the mountains of Andalusia, Spain. I wanted to volunteer at Azahara to see if this kind of slow living lifestyle is what I truly want for the long term. After nearly 2 months of service on various duties such as gardening, olive picking, marketing, cleaning, and cooking, I can say with confidence that this lifestyle suits me.

I’ve always dreamt of living on a farmhouse growing my own vegetables and caring for animals. But I’ve never done all of it all at once in one extended period of time. I volunteered at permaculture farms before and I had over ten years experience with horses. But because I grew up and live in a suburban area, that farm life never seemed possible.

But as I travelled and discovered my values, I realised that living close to and in harmony with nature is what I need. When one is close to nature, one is close to God. Instead of being surrounded by mostly man-made creations, I’d rather be surrounded by God-made creations.

Being at Azahara also showed me the importance of living in a supportive and loving community. You know the saying “idleness is the devil’s workshop”? It’s so true. When I was at Azahara, I had little to no time to procrastinate, be on social media, or watch Netflix. They’re not inherently bad but let’s be honest — most of us are addicted to our devices. And that’s mainly because we are either chained to the 9-5 system and/or that we live alone most of the time.

Capitalism propelled individualism. And I’m done being a pawn.

time-lapse photography of river
Photo by Hendrik Cornelissen / Unsplash

Documenting Helps Revive Memory (and History)

I’m glad that I documented my travels through journaling, photos and videos. I could reminisce the sweet moments when I miss them. In the bigger picture, I can see the importance of documenting in terms of keeping history intact and true. As I was in Southern Spain, I learned a lot about the Islamic Al-Andalus and the subsequent brutal Spanish Reconquest and Inquisition. Shockingly, they don’t teach most of it in the Spanish schools. But as people seek knowledge and become aware, the recorded history on what actually happened becomes so important.

I have yet to piece together my little travel history. It’s only a matter of time that I do. Like I said, it would be a disservice to not share. Knowledge and experience need to be shared. Those are one of the things that one will be asked in the afterlife.

Sins on the Surface

With little distraction as one fasts, Ramadan tends to bring up bad habits and past sins to the surface. Some would just shove them away and continue turning a blind eye. For me, I had to confront them so I may grow and enter Shawwal in peace.

Suffice to say that in the last 10 days of Laylatul Qadr (Night of Decree) words were journaled, strings of du’as uttered, and tears shed.

It was a healing process for me.

I recognised and acknowledged my bad habits and sought help from God to find ways to deal with them. While they may not go away completely, at least I have the comfort of knowing how to control them and what to do when they come up.

Cleansing of Soul

With the recognition of my sins, I sought refuge and turned to Allah for forgiveness. Lots of prayers and adhkar were done as well as meditation and breathwork. There was no supernatural occurrence or special drink made. The scents of sage and palo santo helped to get me in focus mode. And then it was just me and God.

Alhamdulillah — praised be to God — I feel that I’ve come out of Ramadan with a cleaner, revitalised heart.

waterfalls timelapse photography
Photo by Dan Becker / Unsplash

Clarity of Mind & Direction

My Ramadan was about getting closer to God through His words in the Quran and seeking His blessings on my life direction. At this point in life, I know the things that I want to do. My issue has been deciding in which order to do them based on importance.

By going inwards, my life direction is solidified and my will strengthened. The difficulty will be keeping steadfast in the following months especially when the going gets tough.

But I’m confident.

And I know that I will stick to my plans because my reasons aren’t just selfish anymore. It’s for the greater objective of helping the ummah (Muslim community) and attain Jannah (paradise).

God willing.

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