Syaheeda looked up at the clock ticking somewhere above her. It was almost 6:30pm. She got home only half hour ago and hurriedly took a bathe and offered her asr prayers. Stifling a yawn, she drudgingly dragged her ragged body to the kitchen to help her mum prepare food to break fast.
Like most households in Singapore, the radio was tuned in to Warna. It was Shaykh Abdul Rahman as-Sudais reciting Surah an-Naba’ today. As the beautiful recitation filled her home, Syaheeda laid down the plates and poured drinks for the members of her family. “Mak, anything else for me to do?”
“Its okay sayang, you rest before iftar. I’m almost done.”
The recitation had ended. It was an Ustaz speaking now. “Ramadan is the time for us to recharge. It is when the believers are at the peak of their spirituality and piety. Every sunnah that we do is recorded by the Recording Angels as a fardh. What about every fardh? Surely the rewards are far greater than we can imagine…” Syaheeda closed her eyes and laid her head back. Hasn’t she heard the same thing for years now?
What happened to her this year that she feels no motivation to race to do good deeds like everyone else? The exhaustion from school and the commute back home saps her from any energy that she might have left. She was looking forward to Ramadan to rejuvenate herself spiritually too but when it came, she was too caught up with school work and projects to fully utilize the blessed month.
“Is this a punishment for me for all the sins I’ve done? Am I excluded from benefitting fully in this month because I had been disobedient?” She shook her head as if to shake the thoughts out from her mind. She reminded herself that she has a Most Loving and Most Forgiving Lord.
Didn’t Allah SWT say “I am as My servant thinks of Me”? Syaheeda held on to the Hadith Qudsi and prayed that He showers His Love, Blessings and Forgiveness on her and her family. “I may have done much wrong but I must believe that He will forgive me.” Seconds later, the azan reverberated through the walls of her home as she broke her fast with her beloved family.
“Akhirut-tarawih…” the Bilal’s plaintive voice echoed through the speakers.
Syaheeda once again stood up, shoulder to shoulder with her mum on her left and a girl who was about 18 years of age, on her right.
“Allahu akbar!” The imam began to recite Al-Fatiha in the most soothing of voices. Once that had ended, he recited a surah that Syaheeda couldn’t quite recognize. Within seconds, Syaheeda could feel the shoulders of the girl on her right quivering and trembling. She could faintly make out her sobs.
“Allahu akbar!” Throughout the 2 cycles of prayer, the girl sniffed and sobbed. “Assalaamualaykum wa rahmatullah, assalaamualaykum wa rahmatullah.”
Prayer had ended. Syaheeda sneaked a glance at the girl next to her. She had her face in her hands, with a piece of tissue in between. It was quickly being soaked by her heartfelt tears. Syaheeda felt a surge of admiration and awe. What is it that she is going through? Oh how I wish I could attain that level of khusyu’!
Witr commenced and soon, Syaheeda’s family drove home in easy chatter. She didn’t join in as images of the young girl still played on her mind. “She is about my age and here I am, worried about school, waiting to go home and she’s crying her heart out to Allah. MasyaAllah.”
As she laid in bed that night, Syaheeda supplicated, “Ya Allah, forgive me for all my sins. Guide me always and never keep me far from You.” She closed her eyes and prepared herself for another day of fasting, hoping with all her heart that tomorrow would be better than today.
Ameera Begum Aslam
View original articles @ www.ramadan.sg.