The Guilt That Ramadan Brings

In the Name of the Compassionate and Infinitely Merciful Beloved

Ramadan is a very special time. Yes, we are fasting, and although the day is quite long, so far, it has not been that bad. Yet, more than just the fasting, it is a time of spiritual renewal. It is a time of deep reflection. It is a time of re-engagement with Scripture. It is a time of internal cleansing and re-focus on the Lord. It is a time of prayer and charity. It truly re-invigorates the soul as well as the body.

But, it is also a time of great guilt for me, especially this year.

For instance, Ramadan started July 20...which happened to be the very same day that Dark Knight Rises opened in theaters. I should be focusing on God and His Word, and reflection, and prayer, and charity. But, dude, everyone said Dark Knight Rises was totally awesome! So, on July 22 (a Sunday during which we had nothing else to do because we couldn't eat), my wife and I watched the film. And it was totally fantastic!!!

And I felt guilty.

Then there was July 21: our wedding anniversary. Again, I should be focusing on prayer and charity and reflection. But, it's our anniversary! So, on July 22, we went out to dinner. And it was a very nice time.

And I felt guilty.

Then came the Summer Olympics on July 27. The same dilemma affects me: I should be focusing on praying the night vigil and reading the Scripture. But, it's the Summer Olympics! It only comes around every four years. I want to see the United States crush all other countries in every sport. I want to watch the tearful medal ceremonies and feel both happiness and pride in our country's accomplishments in the pool, and court, and track, and field. I want to see American athletes, like Michael Phelps, make Olympic history.

And I have been doing so and loving it...and also feeling guilty.

Then there is my drive to and from work. During the day, I try to perhaps listen to the Qur'an being recited, or maybe some spiritual/religious songs. For sure, I try to not listen to pop/hip-hop music: again, in the spirit of this holy month. But...I can't help but want to listen to some secular songs, and I have sneaked a listen to "Somebody I Used to Know." It was great.

And I felt guilty.

Don't get me wrong: I am praying the night vigil...either during or after the Olympics. I am reading the Qur'an...after all, the day is REALLY long, and thus there is plenty of time to do so. But, when I know I should be reading the Qur'an, I have instead watched the Olympics on television; or listened to music on the radio; or posted articles on my blog (ha!).  I am not perfect. I am trying to be the best I can be during this month, and then take that renewed spirituality forward after Ramadan is finished.

Yet, deep down inside, I know that I am not doomed. For, the One for Whom I am fasting is most Beautiful indeed. I am trying my best...and that is all He has ever asked of any of us.

So...GO USA!...er...a blessed Ramadan to you all.

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