I am planning that Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, this year will be different. I am planning to go by what Mohammad (PBUH) tried to instill in his people and that is working on the struggles within us. He called it the greater jihad...
In my point of view, the word jihad has been hijacked by fundamentalist groups whom I do not wish to talk about as it would lead to a ten paged post about how I believe they have destroyed the image of the true word of Mohammad. I will just explain what jihad and Ramadan mean to me, the moderate humanitarian spiritual person.
Jihad means the struggle within us whereby we exert our best effort to achieve something and improve upon ourselves....It is the struggle to win (God's) good pleasure and to work on the attributes within us which would help improve our behavior, our peace of mind, our will to help others thereby creating a better living condition for everyone, every living thing and the world as a whole.
When I am stressed and tired I usually feel down, agitated, nervous and have the ability to snap at anyone in an instant and even though I am usually very patient, that all changes when I am stressed out of my wits. It is a habit I have grown up with and have not been too actively involved in improving. I am usually a bubbly person who cracks jokes and can easily get along with anyone. However, I let my guard down with my loved ones and if I am stressed, I can easily blurt something out that I know I would regret after it exits my system.
And therefore, I have decided to take Ramadan as the first step to helping me focus on improving that attribute which I am not very proud of. I am aware that I will need to continue working on this attribute throughout the year but I need a push... some encouragement and results... I need to prove to myself that if I could do it for the whole month of Ramadan, then I am capable of doing it for two months... then three and so on until I can go a whole year without snapping at anyone because I am stressed.
The first day of Ramadan started on Monday, August 1st, and today is the 5th... so far I am doing much better than I ever did. I am stressed at the moment due to lack of sleep, as my daughter continues to wake up asking for me to sleep with her (which I do), I am working at a new school where I am experiencing information overload, I am spending around an hour and a bit in a taxi just to get home from work, and so on and so forth. However the real challenge begins when I stop eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. I am not fasting now because of my lunar cycle (I am not required to exhaust my body any further).
Wish me luck!!!
Have you ever worked on improving an attribute, trait or a part of yourself which has proven to be a challenge but you are much better off now having done so?