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Ramadan 'Moonlit Musings' series

I often start Ramadan with extravagant plans of ibadah and worship, I used to make intricately planned lists and agendas for each day of this blessed month. Over the past few years of living with my extended family, studying and taking on the increasing family responsibility that comes with becoming a young adult, I have found that the way I prepare for and practice in Ramadan has shifted and I can’t always attain the lofty standards I used to set for myself. This can sometimes leave me disappointed, even guilty.

I am lucky enough to have my family as a huge part of my Ramadan – the meals, the prayers, the gatherings. Like many people, as much as I cherish and love the family Allah has blessed me with, its not perfect. Its complicated and messy in places but it is also one of the number one projects that Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him) has asked us to pour our efforts into. The ties of the womb (Rahm) are by definition ties of mercy (Rahma), and all mercy ultimately comes from The Most Merciful A-Rahman/ Raheem. Therefore, to be able to draw closer to the most merciful we must honour these ties. Surah Nisa directly links maintaining the ties of the womb to having taqwa of Allah.

O men! Fear your Lord Who created you from a single being and out of it created its mate; and out of the two spread many men and women. Fear Allah in Whose name you plead for rights, and heed the ties of kinship. Surely, Allah is ever watchful over you.

(Al-Qur’an 4:1)

This ayat alone has so much we can unpack which is beyond the scope of my reminder but I think this verse reminds me that sometimes we are so concerned about our own rights and if they are being fulfilled or not, and forget to focus on whether we’re fulfilling the rights of others, especially our family members. Allah is showing us the high station and sacredness of the ties of the womb – those that prioritise and put work into the ties of the womb are the people of taqwa- may Allah make us from among them.

There’s a reason why putting work into the ties of the womb is so valued by Allah and brings us closer to Him. Because, like so many other acts that bring us closeness to Allah, can at times be really hard and take and require all of our patience. I am constantly having to remind myself of this. Like so many of the acts beloved to Allah, that hard work, effort and patience bears sweet fruits in this world and inshallah we can only hope and imagine the sweetness it will earn us in the next.

So, I have come to realise that one of the highest forms of Ibadah I can be doing in and outside Ramadan is putting work into my family and nourishing those relationships at home. Making the most of my Ramadan is yes (when I can), staying up, praying, attending taraweeh, reflecting on the Quran but its also sitting with my grandfather. It’s dancing in the kitchen with my baby cousin. It’s hugging my Grandmother whilst she fries samosas, It’s making time to call my big brother and leaving sweet treat for my mum in the fridge before I head to uni. It’s exercising my patience when my busy house, full of babies and guests, caring for my grandparents that can sometimes gets a little bit too much and my sleep deprived household is getting snappy over suhoor.

Its finding those friends who can’t be with their own families and are cut off from their ties of Rahma this Ramadan and inviting them into my own family. Its being brave and facing the ties of Rahma in my life that have been neglected or severed and starting to piece them back together.

It may be that some of your big plans and goals you set for yourself fall through because of your commitments to family or your home – those commitments and dedication to your family in itself are so precious in the eyes of Allah, do not underestimate their weight they are just as sacred as your prayers.

It may be that some people in your life are missing this Ramadan – either through distance from family or the return of loved ones to the most merciful. The ache this leaves in your heart is evidence of the ties of Rahma that exist between you and those you cherish. The ties of Rahma transcend any distance, even passing through the veil of death and endure through our patience and Du’a.