Sometimes, it’s so hard to be good, isn’t it? When you try your best to change, your past haunts you. You think ‘Why would Allah forgive me when I’m so rotten? Why would Allah forgive me when I’ve made so many mistakes? Why do I deserve to be good?’ Worse still, you sometimes hear people ridiculing you. ‘Who does she think she is? Why is she pretending to be good? She might as well just take off her hijab right?’
Being a Muslim means that we value struggles and progress, not perfection. Allah knows when the change seems so unbearable that you cry yourself to sleep. Allah knows when people belittle your efforts. Allah knows when the world pushes you to your knees and you don’t know if you can get back up. Allah SWT says, “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.” Subhanallah. We are humans. We will fail and fail again. We will falter. We will stumble. We will crash. But our God is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim. You can slip ten million times but His Mercy remains.
During Ramadan, we make the unthinkable choice of depriving our bodies of food and water. During this time, everything is amplified. We become more aware of what pushes our buttons. We know when something causes that all-too-familiar emotion called anger to bubble up inside our chests. We notice more clearly than ever when the creation disappoints us.
This Ramadan, let’s push aside our doubts. Let’s ignore the naysayers. Let’s stop allowing people to bully you into believing that you’re not good enough. You are enough. You are complete. You are doing fine. Take that step towards purification and redemption. Start with small and consistent deeds. Renew your intentions. Smile. Polish your heart. Feed one person. If you don’t pray, pray. If you don’t donate, begin with a dollar. If you’ve been awful to your parents, let them know how much you love them. Try not to regress. When we succeed in these small acts despite being hungry and thirsty, we learn. We realize for ourselves how much more kind, generous and patient we can be when it isn’t Ramadan.
Remember this – How you end in this life is more important that how you start. Your past does not define who you are. The people with the worst past can end up creating the best future.
Wallahu a’lam bishawab.