Saturday, 22 August 2009

ramadhan mubarak!


So; I’ve been without internet (again!), hence no posts from me during the past week! I was still recovering from the bug I inadvertently imported from Iraq, so it took me a little longer than would normally be tolerable to sort it out, and when I did finally call the internet provider on Wednesday I wished I hadn’t!!
Basically, I was requesting Tiscali (well, why not name and shame!), to send out an engineer to examine the equipment, as this was the 3rd time my internet had packed in during as many weeks! At first, I was told rather roodly by an inanimate Indian call centre worker that no engineer could be sent, and so I told him I wanted my contract with them terminated. On talking to the cancellation department I was told that an engineer could be sent (if I kept up the contract). I agreed for what I thought would be an easier time ride in the longer term, as I wouldn’t have to mess around with new providers etc. All did not run smooth however, and I spent a further hour with yet another rood call centre dood from Bangalore who made every attempt possible to prevent me from calling the engineer, and also didn’t seem to grasp why a blind person needed a computer!! (no kidding! He also asked me 3 times if I was really blind; presumably visually impaired people are so retarded they can’t hold a conversation either!). Any way, an engineer was eventually dispatched after the endurance test, and has rectified the problem (for now). I say that, because the excuse he gave for the break-down was pretty pathetic, and I’m sure 3 weeks down the line we’ll be back to square minus 1.

Other than that, today is the first day I’ve felt my regular energy level return to me post “bug”, Shukr Allah ca!
Particularly given that today is the first of ramadhan mashallah! Its actually scary how quickly ramadhan comes around each year, quicker than the year before, and emphasising my aging with it (grin).

Ramadhan is special; not just because of the immense blessings that come with it, but it is a time of great reflection for me; it was during ramadhan, almost 14 years ago, that I first discovered Islam. It was during those days that I kept my first fasts in secret (short and insignificant though they were at that time). It was radio ramadhan that first introduced me to Muslims and had me studying Islam, and it was during ramadhan that I met some of the most important Muslims in my life. Each ramadhan is a new chance to give thanks for yet another year spent within this blessed religion, and another chance to glorify the creator during this most pure and blessed of months.
These days however, Ramadhan does fill me with waves of indescribable gilt; for the past 3 years or so, I’ve not been able to fast properly; my headaches, medication and general physical weakness make the fasts virtually impossible for me. If I do decide to keep a fast, by the middle of the afternoon I am laying in bed, writhing in pain, unable to pray, move, work, do any thing! And either break the fast early, or else stick it out, with all my prayers being late and my day having been empty of useful deeds. By the time I’ve opened the fast, I am good for nothing, and just about get my night prayers done before stumbling in to bed for 2 days!! I hate myself for this and struggle to accept it; why am I like this? Is it my heedlessness? Lack of iman? Or just the fact that I’m not a strong enough individual, neither spiritually nor physically. Certainly, Islam does excuse those who are weak or unable to fast because of medical reasons, but I guess because the majority of my medical complaints remain undefined, I always feel as though I am cheating myself and my creator. If you ask me why I am not fasting, or why I don’t fast consistently, I’ll tell you it is because of my health, of my weakness, yet I see people weaker than me fasting, people with chronic diabetes fasting, and they maintain it far better than I do! My doctor has not told me I am not permitted to fast due to health reasons, and simply told me to do it if I can manage, leave it if I cannot!! What does this mean? Does that mean I have licence to decide? Or should speak to a scholar? I just don’t know!! As I see it; I have 2 choices; either I fast, become ill and weak, but manage to preserve the fast all the same, or, I leave fasting and fulfil the other rights of this month; prayer, study, reflection etc, what do you think? Is it normal to feel s confused? I’ll welcome feedback on this topic, but over the next few days I’ll submit a few posts discussing those very special reflections and gifts I’ve been granted during ramadhan over the past 14 years, so watch this space!

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