Ramadan is around the corner!
How have we understood it is a special month compared to other months? How are we going to prepare and make the most of it? Ramadan is like a guest — the most-awaited, longed-for, and worthy one. If you are being paid a visit by the most prominent person in the world, how would you welcome them?
Hence, it is important to understand the tendency we often have that somehow makes us unsuccessful in benefiting the opportunity that is given to us. The thing with human beings is that we are often in a state of heedlessness, negligence, and forgetfulness — which is the antipathy of the faith. We are heedless of Allah’s commands. Such deepest illness is mentioned over 20 times in the Quran. In fact, the pattern emerges when we examine the Quranic verses related to heedlessness. The state of those who are heedless in the world (30:7; 7:179), neglecting the signs (10:92), and realizing the Day of Judgement and reckoning too late (19:39; 21:1; 21:97).
By and large, heedless people are absent in the essence of life and reckless in their actions. These behaviors remind me of the types of learners suggested by George Leonard in his book entitled “Mastery”. There are three types of learners namely The Dabblers, the Hackers, and The Masters.
The Dabblers are those who are overjoyed at something new they are about to learn and experience. In Leonard’s words, he calls them “specialize in honeymoon” because they “approach things with enormous enthusiasm, love the rituals in getting started, and show the shine of newness” (p. 19–20). But after some time, they give it up and they are into something else without actually making progress with what they have learned.
The Hackers are different in attitude. Leonard also mentions The Obsessive as the other type but I combine these two (the Hackers and the Obsessive) as they exhibit a somewhat akin approach to something. They are good at something to a certain degree and are often results-oriented which makes them do not mind using any means and skipping essential stages to the development of mastery as long as they get them fast. Therefore, they do not see the opportunity they have as something for learning and development but rather as a comfort zone.
The Masters are not somebody who actually masters something. He is in fact somebody who is committed to continual improvement and enjoys the process.
Using these three types of learners, we can tell that…
MANY OF US ARE DABBLERS IN OUR SPIRITUALITY;
MANY OF US ARE HACKERS IN OUR PRAYERS;
AND NOT MANY OF US ARE THE MASTERS WHO WANT MORE PRESENCE EVERY TIME WE PRAY.
Since humans are in constant forgetfulness, there is no wonder that we surely need a constant reminder which is what Ramadan is essentially about. Ramadan is like a school and a continuing education where these skills are upgraded and enhanced. Ramadan is the yearly time, Jummah is the weekly time, and the prayers are the daily times that we return to the school of God-consciousness and realign ourselves with the Divine.
Then the Quran asks us:
“Where to are you going?”
The question that we need to ask ourselves before, during, and after Ramadan:
Where are we going as individuals?
Where are we going as families?
Where are we going as a society?
We need to know what we have in the past year and what do we plan to do in the coming years if Allah gives us life. Therefore, this Ramadan is the perfect time for that: reassessing, reevaluating, and reckoning ourselves. It is time to reconnecting, rebounding, reprioritizing, and recommitting ourselves with Allah through reflecting and deeply pondering the Quran. It is time to discipline the tongue, the stomach, and most importantly the heart. Let us use this Ramadan as a time of prayer, a time of peace, a time of recitation and reflection of the Quran. In other words, this is the time for immense transformation.