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Ramadan is a training camp for development, not an event
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Ramadan is a training camp for development, not an event

Ramadan is a training camp for development, not an event
Spirituality
Getty Images/ Jasmin Merdan

 

Before Ramadan begins, we all have high hopes of a powerful and transformative experience during the holy month. We hear stories of people whose lives have changed during this month, and we hope our story will be one of them this year.

We prepare ourselves for this significant change that’s going to happen in our lives; we buy new prayer clothes, furnish our homes with unique Ramadan decorations, even change our perfumes from Gucci to Arabian musk and scents.

Then Ramadan begins.

The first day goes by quite fast, and we are usually excited about these early 24 hours. The second day comes and goes. By the third or fourth day, we start settling in comfortably into our Ramadan routine. Signs of significant changes in our lives don’t seem so apparent at this stage.

We are still the same person. We seem to have the same “issues”. In fact, we may have become lazier due to lack of sleep, lack of coffee and hunger pangs attacking us now and then.

IF YOU ENTER RAMADAN WITH THE MINDSET THAT RAMADAN IS A MIRACULOUS EVENT THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOU OVERNIGHT, THEN YOUR ARE SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR FAILURE

We start doubting whether this Ramadan will be the transformative one. If we are hopeful, we think, perhaps we will change over the last ten nights of Ramadan. Or maybe on the night of the 27th.

Stop.

Let’s reframe things.

If you enter Ramadan with the mindset that Ramadan is a miraculous event that will transform you overnight, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Yes, miracles do happen, and people do change thanks to a single encounter or sincere prayer. However, that’s not something that you wait for. Remember, Ramadan is a process of self-development, and every process has its steps.

If you were spiritually disconnected for 11 months, it’ll take more than a few days to breathe spirituality back into your soul and rituals and for you to feel connected again.

If you were physically out of shape for 11 months, it’ll take more than a few hours of fasting for you to feel the physical impact of fasting on your health.

EMBRACE THE PROCESS OF RAMADAN INSTEAD OF EXPECTING SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO HAPPEN OVERNIGHT

If you were socially aloof for 11 months, ignoring those around you, it’ll take you a while to truly connect with your families, relatives and community and to start giving back.

Embrace the process of Ramadan instead of expecting significant changes to happen overnight.

Realize that with every prayer you make, every verse you recite, every donation you make and every smile you give, you’re building the capacity for lasting transformative change for many months after Ramadan.

Ramadan is a training camp to help prepare you to live the best version of yourself spiritually, physically, socially. As in any training camp, although you might get some help in the form of training gear and a supportive environment, you still have to go through the training and hard work yourself. If you don’t show up for training, or if you become impatient and decide that the practice is not working for you, then you’ll quickly slide back to your old self.

However, if you trust the training process and focus on improving, taking careful mental notes of aspects that need development and others that are well-trained, you’ll do better.

Trust the Ramadan process. Embrace it. The environment is set up for your success. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us that during this month, the gates of heaven are flung open, the gates of hellfire are shut, and the devils are chained.  So you have the spiritual aid to be successful in this month. All you have to do is focus on showing up each day, sincerely wanting to be better, and concentrate on improving yourself spiritually, physically, socially during Ramadan and beyond.

Mohammed Faris is an international coach, author, and speaker who helps executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs rebalance their lives spiritually, physically and socially to achieve peak performance and live meaningful lives. He’s the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com and author of The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity.

(Writing by Mohammed Faris; Editing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@thomsonreuters.com)