There’s just a week left in Ramadan. In reading my earlier posts, I realize I give an impression that Ramadan is like a vacation from the real world, but of course it isn’t – the additional demands of prayer, Qur’an, fasting, etc are all layered on top of our usual weekday and workday routines. Ideally we would simply swap out the time we make for ourselves for entertainment and indulgence with acts of piety instead, but in practice the time for the latter is more than than provided by omitting the former. In a nutshell, our ambitions exceed our capability. This is partly due to ambition (aiming high) but also due to inefficiency and fatigue. I’ve no doubt that if I were not fasting, I’d be able to read a lot more Qur’an. The challenge then, is why don’t I do exactly that after Ramadan ends? The goal should be to take the habits we are cultivating during Ramadan and apply them the rest of the year. I am resolved to try, and am aware of my failure in this regard in past years.
The real world, meanwhile, continues on. Libya is on the verge of freedom, and the middle east as a whole is still undergoing massive-scale change and challenges. American politics grinds on with more obstruction and ambivalence towards the actual problems faced by the middle and under class. Europe’s economy is on the brink, the environment everywhere is a mess, global warming continues, and the US is no longer a space-faring nation. There’s a relief in having the refuge of Ramadan to retreat to, something else to focus on that isn’t so grounded in the here and now but focused on something greater.
Still, the courageous people of Libya and Syria in particular deserve our dua as their Ramadan has been anything but a refuge. I earlier called Ramadan the month of Jihad; that has a literal reality for the people who are trying to build for themselves what we here take for granted. That should be all the more reason we redouble our efforts to make the most of Ramadan in what little time remains.