Published in  
Matters of the Heart
March 19, 2024

A Ramadan For The Broken Souls

I’m sure people around you seem to be so ready and yet here you are wondering how to welcome this guest with your heart hurting. The days of Ramadan are already flying past. How do you embrace Ramadan with enthusiasm when your heart is numb with pain due to what you have been through the past year?

Aah! It's that time of the year again when the blessed month of Ramadan has visited us. There is so much noise around right? 

We see mothers planning entire 30 day activities for their teenagers to toddler mums stocking up books and getting their houses ready for Ramadan. Some are on pantry cleaning and home decluttering sprees that's fascinating. All the fancy planners and decorations are out of the box again. The fairy lights are lit, the prayer corners are made and the freezers are stocked with yummy kebabs and a billion versions of spring rolls and samosas. Wow! 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because lack of planning is indeed planning to meet the failure buddy! I’m all in for it if your mental and physical capacity supports it. 

But my concern is about those who are struggling due to the loss or the sickness of a loved one, or migration. Or someone who is going through a rough patch with parents or divorce or facing situations that are not so pleasant? Or maybe someone for whom the last year has been packed with different trials and they simply are lost right now. This love letter is to those broken souls who no longer are able to hold themselves. I’m talking to you :) 

I’m sure people around you seem to be so ready and yet here you are wondering how to welcome this guest with your heart hurting. The days of Ramadan are already flying past. How do you embrace Ramadan with enthusiasm when your heart is numb with pain due to what you have been through the past year?

Here are some quick gems to remember : 

1. Open Up Completely to Allah

I know it feels overwhelming and frustrating to hold so much ache within and fail to regulate your emotions. This avalanche of grief trapped in your heart that constricts every good around you just keeps getting bigger and bigger. But why do

you forget, there is a Merciful Lord that says,

وَٱصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا ۖ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ

So be patient with your Lord’s decree, for you are truly under Our (watchful) Eyes. And glorify the praises of your Lord when you rise. [Surah at-Tur, 48]

Isn't Allah the Best of Guardians? So when He claims that you are being taken care of then how does this avalanche matter? Maybe you are fighting it alone? Any battle fought alone is only making it tougher to win. Go forward knowing that Allah is with us and victory is ours with Allah. Give your avalanches of fear, grief, and worry to Him. Defeat them by opening up and giving it all to Allah. Confide in him, make him your friend, and see how it all calms down. Allah Loves it when a slave keeps returning to Him in dua. 

2. Get Your Basics Right 

Start with the absolute basics, like Istighfar. It might sound like a very basic thing to do when you hear this first but the impact it has on your heart is massive. Istighfar not only cleanses our heart of the filth deposited by the sins but it also opens new pathways of khayr and barakah for us. It's that ray of light that enters piercing the darkness of the heart, helping us shed the layers of sins and stir in the taqwa of your Lord. But the best part is, that Istighfar not only saves our akhirah but it also handles the affairs of our dunya. Be it our finances or marriage. Kids or parents - Any and every form of rizq comes from HIM and Istighfar aids it to reach us sooner. 

Allah says,

فَقُلْتُ ٱسْتَغْفِرُوا۟ رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ غَفَّارًۭا  - يُرْسِلِ ٱلسَّمَآءَ عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًۭا  -  وَيُمْدِدْكُم بِأَمْوَٰلٍۢ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ جَنَّـٰتٍۢ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ أَنْهَـٰرًۭا

And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send (rain from) the sky upon you in (continuing) showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. [Surah Nuh, 10-12] 

It's natural to feel disconnected from any kind of ibadah while you are down emotionally but persuade yourself to start small and this is the best dhikr to moisten your tongues with. You will slowly realize how it stirs your heart bit by bit and guides you toward clarity. If you have to start somewhere to get closer to Allah, let it be through Istighfar. It will help you take bigger steps like becoming regular with the five daily prayers which in turn will get you on track InshaAllah. It is never too late to turn back to Allah. Start today, rather start now, so get yourself into the habit of it while you do your regular tasks. From doing household chores like laundry to cooking to regular commuting. Keep reminders on the phone if necessary but do it every day without fail. 

3. Sadaqah Is An Amazing Cure 

I wouldn't have thought much about this until the other day when I read a hospital board that said, “Treat your sick with Sadaqah.” - Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

This is such an eye opener for all of us who knock on all doors looking for help, except on this. You will be amazed when you hear stories of ease and recovery of those suffering from various diseases that were quicker and smoother because of the ‘Sadaqah medicine’. They not only took the treatment seriously and gave medications but also generously gave Sadaqah. This doesn't mean you need to give away everything or only a large amount counts. No. A little amount with a solid Niyyah and Ikhlas will do InshaAllah. It is the quality that matters to Allah. 

This is not limited to physical well-being alone. It also applies perfectly while you struggle with your emotional and mental health. So, give it away but shush! Let nobody know about your charity. Let it be a secret between yourself and Allah. 

4. Treat Your Heart with The Qur’an 

There is no greater solace or aid that will reach you than the Words of Allah. A relationship with the Qur'an is sacred and so giving. It was revealed in Ramadan. It was revealed for the healing of the hearts and how can one not utilize it when you can multiply its rewards and feel better too? There is no trial and error here, it's proven. In fact, people in the past used to recite more Qur'an when things became difficult and found their tasks easy afterward. So, whatever goals you are seeking, seek them through Allah’s Words. This Ramadan, try reading the Book of Allah with the best of intentions. You will see yourself teary-eyed as often Allah Comforts, Reassures, and Guides through His Book. 

If you have been away from the Qur'an for a while it might overwhelm you. But one tip that's helped me is keeping the Qur'an near me that is where I can see it and get it quickly. This reduces the chances of procrastination. Also, be clear with your goals, make it bite-sized for the start. Maybe half a page or 5 lines even! Yes, anything to get you started and slowly you will find yourself reading more InshaAllah. Start now! It's extremely special when you strive to please Allah this month. 

5. Work on Intentions + Cleansing 

As you prepare yourself in your own little way and get Ramadan ready by ticking all these things, it's extremely necessary to go to the “why" of these actions. 

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” [Bukhari]

Just like how you take regular showers, timely internal showers are also necessary. Especially before you enter Ramadan. Most of us on this journey will be disappointed, betrayed, or hurt by people. Situations can be tricky and then of course people do have the power to scar you for life. But don’t let that hatred or grudge come between you and Allah. Make sure you finish this blessed month with a clean slate, freeing your heart of any negativity. The people in the past dared not to enter Ramadan with any form of hatred or negativity towards anyone so let us strive towards it. 

Let your actions be for Allah and Allah alone. Again, this is not applicable to cases where any form of abuse is involved. And forgiveness doesn't have to be getting into that negative space with the same person again. It's just a pact between you and Allah where you claim that: “Ya Allah! I forgive this person for wronging me. I’m letting this go for your sake!”

You don't need to go party or hang around with them the next day. Allah understands our hurt and doesn't ask us for anything that we can't do. He only Tests us to know how much we trust him and are true to his faith.

6. Don't Give up on Yourself 

As cliche as it sounds, let not any worry ruin you in a way that you not only lose yourself but Allah, because it's absolutely not worth it. It's hard and heartbreaking, maybe you feel that you will never recover from the events that have come your way. And some tests are like that, they not only break your heart but your spine, leaving you paralyzed for a time. But there is a saying my nani (grandmother) used to often repeat, “When the good times didn't stay, why would the difficult times? it's all meant to pass. It's all temporary.”

Then why despair in Allah’s Mercy? What if He ties your heart like he did for Musa’s mother? What if these are the final steps that you take in the cave before you step out in the light? 

7. Take Inspiration from the Prophets Stories

Try to revisit the stories of the prophets and try to reflect on the lessons hidden there. Listen to some motivational podcasts/ series that uplift your spirit and revive your faith. Sometimes it's what you pour into your head and heart that makes you feel depressed. If you don't know where to begin, then go for the story of Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام or Prophet Musa عليه السلام. These are tales packed with so much thrill, twists and turns but most of all hope. That's all we crave right, sometimes it's just the assurance that it will all fall in place and make perfect sense in the end, makes you feel so much lighter. You will find the assurance in the stories that Allah tells us. Just listen! 

If you feel like pushing yourself a little more then read the tafseer of Surah al-Kahf and you will be dumbfounded by how everything that happens or doesn't happen is only for your khayr and betterment

8. Dua: A Weapon Unknown to Many! 

Lastly, don't you dare let go of this wondrous tool. It's miraculous, it's life-changing and it always works - when all fails!  Although, we shouldn't go to it in the end but even then Allah doesn't let your sack be empty as He is a Lord who is shy to return the hands of his slaves without gifts. 

Oftentimes a dua has been asked for so long with no fruition. Disheartened and thinking that we have been denied, we stop supplicating. We give up on it because we gauge the possibilities according to our vision and situation forgetting that Allah is the Creator of the very situation that we are in and can transform it in seconds. 

Just a simple dhikr of: 

لاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ

La Hawla wala Quwwata illa billah 

There is no power and no strength except with Allah.

This has taken me out of the most terrifying situations where I never thought I would get through but Alhamdulillah I did. Dua is the shield of the believer. It is the pathway towards an intimate relationship with Allah, the Most High. Our heart needs it more than anything else but never let the doubts corrupt your efforts. 

Remember the Prophets of Allah: 

  • Prophet Zakkariyah عليه السلام never doubted Allah's Answer despite his wife being old and barren. 
  • Prophet Musa عليه السلام wasn't skeptical or doubtful although he stood in front of the vast Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army fast behind him. 
  • Prophet Ayyub عليه السلام kept making duas for recovery despite his condition worsening. 
  • Prophet Ibrahim’s  عليه السلام tongue uttered words of utmost tawakkul despite being thrown into the largest of fires.

How were they so optimistic? When the world turned against them, told them otherwise, and the thing that they were asking for defied every logic but they still raised their hands and begged their Lord. They received aid every time and at the best of times when they needed it most. SubhanAllah! Then who are me and you to lose hope in Dua? 

There is a favourite quote of mine in Urdu, “Har taakheer main khayr hai” - There is good in every delay.

So it's all about time. Allah has not abandoned you. He's not upset with you. Your relief will come flooding your home and Sakeenah will descend in your heart, just hold on to Allah’s rope. You are almost there Inshallah. 

This Ramadan, go to Allah however you can - running, walking, crawling - as you are - no filter - no extra preps needed. Show up bruised, show up battered, show up broken with all your scars screaming for healing - show up with your helplessness and loss - show up with your failures and insecurities - show up with your baggage and traumas - show up unprepared and unmasked but just show up sincerely with La Ilahaa Illa Allah. As promised, Allah will take care of you and that is the best care that there is. 

May the month of Mercy rain down upon us with immense khayr and barakah. May Ramadan bring the lost joys and ease to our hearts - granting them healing and tranquility. Ameen. 

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