Ramadan is around the corner. Alhamdulillah.
There is an aura of anticipation and excitement in the air.
As well as an eagerness to strive and reconnect with Allah SWT through the Holy Quran. Hence many are busy planning to maximize worship in this blessed month.
However, alongside these preps, there is a recent trend that disturbs me.
It is one of the several, but seemingly endless ones in the slew of trends we are bombarded with through social media.
Along with all the preparations we grew up with as children, we see stars, crescent moons, and mini-masajid popping up in some homes as ‘Ramadan Decor’. This has become such a profitable niche, that a huge party decoration chain of stores across the USA has started stocking these items. And the result is that Muslims are jumping for joy over inclusivity.
‘But their festivals look so colorful and exciting!’
What with an animated Santa, and the elves in their workshops looking adorable! Even sitting thousands of miles away, we know what the picture-perfect Christmas morning looks like – a beautiful tree with a stack of presents under it, a light snowfall outside the window, the sounds of merry tunes punctuated with squeals of excited children echoing through the house, and scents of a scrumptious meal wafting through the air, hinting at the feast planned for the day. All these festivities are not just relegated to a single morning though – they span an entire season. A season full of shopping, decorations, buying frenzies, sales, and an endless list of wants and to-dos.
I must confess that having lived abroad, I too have been enamored by the delightful seasonal trends, and have on more than one occasion, tried to make our own festivals and observances look more exciting.
… as a Muslim whose purpose of creation was to worship Allah (Qur’an 51:56), I need to ask myself important questions.
Do I really need to stick stars around my home and paste a moon for good measure in the name of Ramadan preparation?
Do I need to make Ramadan “pretty”?
Are the Iftaris and Sehris supposed to be extravagant with tables full of food that may not necessarily be nutritious?
Is Eid only about dazzling new clothes, personalized envelopes stuffed with Eidi?
Do we need to have a feast after feast after a month of fasting?
Do I need to market my faith to my children to make it seem more “fun”?
The answer is a loud, resounding, NO.
Am I a good, God-fearing, Ramadan-loving, desiring-to-connect-with-the-Quran mother?
I do not have the answer to that question.
But really, who determines that?
Who determines the validity or lack thereof, of any of my actions? Who SHOULD determine all that?
What I really need to do is to pause awhile and think hard.
Unfortunately, we have become prey to trends and commercialization has only pushed us to the point where the ‘fear of missing out’ infiltrates our day-to-day actions. From the food we eat and the clothes we wear, the vacations we take, the conversations we have, to the faith we practice – everything becomes a function of what the market wants us to do, what others are adopting, and what we ultimately think will make our lives complete.
The impact of it all on our families is tremendous.
Children are put in the most “popular” schools with the most competitive entry tests and the highest fees. They are thrust into a highly competitive environment from the get-go.
As a result, the locale of their confidence is purely determined by how well they read or do the math. This is the beginning of a life-long spiral. This spiral only leads us into the depths of constant pressure. The pressure to perform, do more and be more.
The Quran reminds us, however:
Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among youQur’an 49:13
Let’s stop for a moment.
Let’s take a deep breath.
Let’s remind ourselves of why we are here in the first place.
What should our legacy be?
What is it that we need to amass?
Our children need to see us striving in the path of Allah.
They need to see that whatever we do, is for Allah’s sake – to seek His pleasure. And that is the ONLY thing that matters.
When we really awaken and look around us, we can truly appreciate the blessings Allah has bestowed upon us.
Allah placed us in this world for a reason. We need to live here in this world but at the same time, we must not let the world live within us.
With this realization…
….comes a sense of peace.
This feeling cannot be taken away from us because it is connected with As-Salam – the Infinite Source of All Peace.
This connection has the transformative power to convert the agitative “fear of missing out” into the ultimate contentment as we begin to experience the “joy of missing out”.
It’s time to take the pressure off, dear mothers, and feel the peace within.
Author’s bio: Faiza Karamali is an educator at heart, rediscovering the joy in the constant journey of being educated instead. A homemaker and a homeschooling mother learning along with her daughter, looking at the world through a different lens. She finds joy in the simpler things in life while leaving everything to the Divine Plan.