We’re 1/3 of the way into Ramadan, and it’s actually flying. A few people that are very close to me have expressed that they’re feeling disheartened and sad that they aren’t where they should be this Ramadan.
When they read posts about the early Muslims absolutely nailing it and reciting the entire Quran every 2–3 days they feel bad. They ask themselves: ‘Why aren’t I like that?’ ‘What’s wrong with my heart?’ ‘Am I so bad that I can’t wait for the juz’ to be over?’ ‘Am I horrible for checking how many pages are left?’
To anyone feeling that way:
First, may Allah love you and be pleased with you.
Second, let me be real with you. We all struggle on some level with different things. Ramadan is like a spiritual gym. If you’re sort of fit you’ll still have to sweat. If you are terribly out of shape you’re going to need to exert yourself. If you’re used to running marathons, in Ramadan you are being pushed to train for a triathlon. Everyone has to work. That’s how we grow.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Please lay off the bullying, if you beat yourself up you’ll be too worn out to work. Ease up on the ‘shoulds’ and start being.
The heightened awareness, that you’re translating as guilt, is a sign your heart is alive and well. The pages you’re rushing through are pages of the Quran being read. The tajweed rules you’re butchering are proof that you are reciting the Quran. Be fair to yourself. Chances are you’re doing things you would rarely/never normally do outside of Ramadan. That in itself is a big step!
My favorite example: Baby plants. They begin with fragile leaves that start small and grow slowly, with the right care they develop into solid plants with huge healthy leaves. As babies, they don’t get sad they aren’t born with flowers.
Read that one more time. We’re all babies on some level.
Say, Alhamdulillah for the opportunity to be occupied with good things. This time is precious. It isn’t going to stop while you are cruel and judgmental towards yourself. Ramadan will be done before you know it. Inshallah you’ll have the rest of the year to assess your progress.
Put the first ten nights aside. Start a new slate. Head down, work hard.