I’ve learned something amazing. Ramadan is such a powerful and comprehensive metaphor of life. As with life, in Ramadan we must struggle hard. We must let go of things we love (food, drink, intimacy) in order to attain things we love more (mercy and pleasure of God). Our greatest day of joy is at the End–at the Final breaking of the fast. In Ramadan, that day is Eid. In life, that day is in the hereafter. And although this greatest day of joy is at the end, Allah allows us small joys along the way. In Ramadan, He gives us daily celebrations at iftar, before the Final celebration at Eid. In life, He gives us glimpses of pleasure, before the Real joy in the hereafter. In this life, He gives us the peace of prayer, the coolness of the eyes of family. A loyal friend. The beauty of a sunset, or full moon. Majestic trees. These are the small iftars, before the True Feast.
And this is why we know that for the one who fasts (from both food and what displeases Allah), there are two joys. One joy is at the time of breaking the minor fast (from food) at iftar. And the other joy is at the breaking of the major fast (from haram) at the meeting with Allah.
But, of all the life lessons of Ramadan, there is one we forget most. When we mess up the beginning, when we feel suffocated by the weight of wasted opportunities and unfulfilled plans, we still have a chance. A chance to come back. A chance to rise up from our spiritual crawl, and walk–maybe even run–to the finish line.
No matter what we’ve done, He still gives a chance to leave strong, by giving us the mercy of the night of power and the last 10 nights.
And in life, the same.
No matter how much suffering you see around you, there is also joy. No matter how dark it is for you right now, this isn’t the end; you can still leave strong. You can still rise up.
May Allah make us among those who, despite our beginnings, leave only with strong endings.
Husn ul khaatima, ya Allah.