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EXPERIENCING RAMADAN IN A STATE OF ILLNESS

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 16th April 2021 03:05
EXPERIENCING RAMADAN IN A STATE OF ILLNESS

By Sohaib Sultan. 30th April 2020

I was hit with my cancer diagnoses just a couple of weeks before the beginning of Ramadan. I was so looking forward to the month of blessings and mercy for a while now as I felt an aching in my heart to come closer to my Lord. I was also looking forward to a very unusually quiet Ramadan as the pandemic would force us all indoors and inward.

So, there was deep disappointment at first with the feeling that my illness would ruin my Ramadan. But, slowly as I processed the news, I started to think of all those times when people came to me as a chaplain with tears in their eyes expressing how they felt so deprived of God’s grace because they could not fast due to illness. I had always shared words of counsel with them that seemed to comfort and reassure them. Now, I had to recollect my counsel for myself as I was for the first time in my life feeling the same way.

I reminded myself that I could indeed fast! No, not the first and primarily level of fasting from eating and drinking. My body needed me to look after myself. And, thankfully without question God exempts those who are ill from the fast. But, I could and should fast at the deeper, more significant level — the fast of the ears, eyes, tongue and limbs from anything displeasing to God, from that which is misaligned with the teachings of theQur’an and the Way of the Prophet (s). Perhaps, I thought to myself, this is God giving me just what I need as I prepare to return to Him. And, then there’s the third and deepest level of fasting — the fasting of the heart from everything or anything other than the remembrance of God, most high.

This, this is certainly worthy of aspiration! I pray that at least some hours of Ramadan this year, very possibly my last, are of this very special third level.

I’m also reminded that when God exempts from the fast, He replaces it with expectation of giving in charity to help the poor break their fast. So, this Ramadan with my illness it is an opportunity to be much more charitable and to connect more personally with the poor.

And, ultimately, no matter how ill I am or will get, Ramadan is Ramadan is Ramadan. Meaning that it is still the month of connecting more deeply with the Qur’an through recitation, memorization and contemplation; making sincere dua’ with the inner knowledge that God is indeed close and is all Hearing; and spending significant portions of the night when my body is capable in night vigil prayer calling upon my Generous Lord to ask for forgiveness and salvation.

So, this blog is just a reminder to myself and all my fellow broken- hearted Muslims who suffer with illness and may doubt even for a moment if this Ramadan still counts, that indeed there is so much that we get out of this month even if we’re eating and drinking during the day to stay alive. May God bless and accept all of our fasts at every level and grant us the full reward of the month based on the intentions in our hearts, ameen.

Source.. Medium.
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 16th April 2021 03:13
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