Ramadan Reflections: Gratefulness
I have been following the situation in East Africa very closely, and today I came across a report by Al-Jazeera English that really put some things into perspective for me. The report was about Somalian refugees and their observance of Ramadan. The refugees, who are struggling with famine and the drought in the area, plan to “fast” throughout the month of Ramadan. Because of the lack of food and water, there is very little change between fasting in the month of Ramadan and their day-to-day lives. One woman says,[quote]
“We had already been fasting before Ramadan, because of the famine. We have no food. I’m fasting now, and I will continue to fast.”[/quote]
This made me realize how ungrateful and self-centered I was being for ever complaining about hunger or thirst while fasting. I wake up before dawn and have a huge, filling meal to prepare me for the day; then I break my fast with cool, clean water and a warm, delicious meal. Who am I to complain about fasting for 15 hours when there are people in the world who haven’t eaten in days, weeks, and maybe even months at a time?
I almost felt guilty breaking my fast today, knowing that children in the world, who under normal circumstances would be excused from fasting, are being forced to fast simply because they have no food. I am no better than them. Why did God decide to bless me with a roof over my head, a family, and the ability to stuff my face with any and every kind of food my heart desires? Why do I deserve that? I have sinned and there have been times when I have forgotten God; yet, he has not forgotten me, and continues to shower me with more blessings than I am often thankful for.[pullquote_left]I prayed that he would forgive me for thinking about my own self-chosen, temporary hunger when others have no choice but to “fast” for an extended and unknown period of time.[/pullquote_left]
As the sun set, I stared at the date and glass of water in front of me. I closed my eyes and thanked God for everything that He has blessed me with, and prayed that he would forgive me for thinking about my own self-chosen, temporary hunger when others have no choice but to “fast” for an extended and unknown period of time. I then prayed for the world to come together to help provide aid and support to those suffering in Somalia and everywhere else on this planet.
I will think a million times before I ever start to complain about hunger or thirst again. Alhamdulillah (thank God) for everything.