Can you believe how quickly Ramadan is passing? It seems like we barely absorb the lessons of the first 10 days before going into the second. A quick briefing of what this means:
The 30 Days of Ramadan are divided into three stages per 10 days.
- The first 10 days are the days of Mercy
- The middle 10 days are the days of Forgiveness
- The last 10 days are the days of Salvation.
Of course a person can pray for mercy during any of the other days of Ramadan. What this means, simply, is that each set of 10 days is a specific representation and reflection of mercy, forgiveness, and salvation respectively.
As I write this, we are already halfway through the days of mercy! *Honestly, it’s terrifying how times flies.*
So how do you define mercy?
By definition mercy is considered compassion or “compassionate treatment of those in distress.” So to have mercy would be to have compassion for someone and treat them with care, especially during a difficult time.
I know I need that. Who doesn’t?
I haven’t met a person yet who would willingly invite harsh treatment during a difficult time. From an early age we learn to seek comfort, especially when we are upset. When we were children and felt left out or bullied, we sought compassion from our parents. We wanted their kind words, their reassurance of our validity, the promise that tomorrow we can start again with a clean slate.
As we grew older and our parents seemed entirely unreasonable, we sought compassion from our peers. We wanted their encouraging words, their reassurance of our validity, the promise that this can’t last forever.
And so on and so forth; as we grow we continue to seek compassion from the people around us, from friends, family, and coworkers to even people in public service such as police officers and DPS clerks.
I know it can sound silly but the honest truth is that I remember praying like there was no tomorrow for my driving instructor to have some mercy upon my soul (she didn’t, I failed, and it took me like three tries to get a license).
Now I find myself in an interesting conundrum because I have come to realize that, during my most stressful moments I seek mercy from everyone around me but I always seem to…forget God.
Don’t get me wrong, I pray when I’m stressed: I pray for a solution, I pray for ease, I pray that whatever the matter is it is resolved quickly – I pray for everything but mercy. I forget to ask for compassion.
How crazy is that?
I can’t even say how I got here, but I don’t like it. I don’t like not seeking comfort from God. I don’t like feeling so rushed in life that all I try for are quick solutions so I can move on to the next stressor.
Am I the only one in this tiny boat on this long river?
Well here’s where the beauty of Ramadan comes in: this month allows us to slow down, exit the long river, and reflect with a united company of travelers.
This is how I’ve come upon this personal reflection in the first place. The next step is to change what I don’t like.
I accept this, I am lacking in mercy. I don’t pray for mercy yet I know I receive it, which means I have also been subconsciously ungrateful for too much.
I am lacking in mercy – I am lacking in my compassion towards other people’s situations, I am lacking in my treatment of people who need support, and I am lacking in understanding that this is a need I have too.
This is something that I actually can remedy by praying for it first while we’re still in the Ashra of mercy.
- Pray rigorously for mercy upon my soul. Not solutions, not even ease. Just mercy for whatever is and may come.
- Open my eyes and notice the people around me. Before anything else, treat the way I sought to be treated as a child – with care and reassurance.
Internal struggle of the day: Driving past Taco Bell and not stopping for a chalupa; those things are the bee’s knees.
Internal affirmation: When you care you hold strong to your humanity.
The 30 Days of Ramadan blog is written by Sobia Siddiqui, CAIR-Houston’s Operations Coordinator.