“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your lives; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you…But if you patiently persevere and be pious, then surely this will be of great resolution.” (Quran 3:186)
Last Ramadan, I lost my beautiful mother to cancer. She was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in the second week of Ramadan and sadly passed away just six weeks later. It was devastating to witness and especially sobering in the month of Ramadan. So this year, Ramadan arrived at the right time. It’s been a tough year. It seems that we are all in need of a spiritual break, an opportunity to reflect on the events of the past 12 months, and time to reprioritise our lives. I stepped in to Ramadan with a sense of relief at the opportunity to refocus my energy and utlilise every moment for reflection, self-evaluation and a much-needed mental detox.
But this Ramadan has been very different. After years of praying Taraweeh at the mosque together with my Mum, I now stand for salah without her my side. We wake up for Sehri and eat in heartbreaking silence. There’s an empty space in the lounge where she would be praying salah or dhikhr. We open our fast and clear the table in record time and there’s no longer a rush to get ready for Taraweeh. My home is filled with a deep stillness – my Mum was the Ramadan spirit. Ramadan brought us together as a family despite our busy schedules and allowed us all to show appreciation, gratitude, and love towards one another. She encouraged all my siblings, my neighbours and friends to attend Taraweeh prayers at the mosque, and we did without fail. As a child, I would stand beside her for the late-night recitations, wishing I was able to stay at home like my friends. Yet my Mum persevered as an advocate for improved female space within the mosque – and we now pray in the main hall. She taught us to treat the mosque like a home: to clean it, visit regularly and invite our friends and family to join us. She was not only my mother but also a very important and respected pillar of our local Muslim community.
“Or do you expect to enter Paradise without facing such trials as did those before you?” (Quran 2:214)
Loss is a difficult but essential part of life and adjusting to the absence of my Mum has been an almost surreal experience. As we approach the year anniversary of my Mum’s passing, I am sincerely grateful for the month of Ramadan. It’s helped me put my life in to perspective because despite the battles, we all made it through to another year. I openly welcomed a mindful wholesome Ramadan. Instead of looking at this period in my life as a disruptive transition, the days of Ramadan have given my renewed hope, peace and clarity. As we enter the last few days of Ramadan, I think it’s important to look around and indulge in every moment. Although it’s cliché: cherish what you do have because we’re not guaranteed another year or another Ramadan. For those of you who have also lost a loved one and whose homes are painfully quieter this year, I am praying that Allah (SWT) makes it easier for you and reunites us with our loved one in Jannah.
Aisha is a freelance writer and ‘weekend’ photographer. She studied MA Media and the Middle East as SOAS, University of London and Journalism and Media at Coventry. She currently manages her own blog which includes everything from personal life, university dramas, and social issues that I am passionate about. She enjoys photo-editing and Is an expert in writing insta captions. Check out her website www.aishaditta.wordpress.com and follow her journey on Instagram @aishajourno