The word Ramadan comes from the word ramad, which means ‘extreme, burning heat’.
This year as we enter the month of Ramadan, a month of extreme heat and difficulty, I see it aptly manifest in both ways – metaphorically, where we burn our sins through our fast and race towards good deeds, and literally, at my workplace, where the air conditioning decided to welcome this blessed month by shutting down, leaving us baked and frustrated. You can imagine a room of distressed, sweaty teachers… plugging standing fans every corner at full blast, opening windows for the slightest breeze.
It is affecting our productivity (no one wants to mark piles of worksheets in a sauna) but from this, I take away two things:
- I am more grateful for the littlest blessings which we take for granted daily e.g. the AC. (Which reminds me of one incident shared on Qalam Podcast where a child was recalled saying that he was grateful for ‘white blood cells’ because his cousin had leukemia. I was in tears when I heard this story.)
- I am comforted by the fact that I am given this opportunity for my sins to be forgiven. Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Nothing afflicts a Muslim of hardship, nor illness, nor anxiety, nor sorrow, nor harm, nor distress, nor even the pricking of a thorn, but that Allah will expiate his sins by it.” (Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5318, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2573)
May our patience tiding through this distress grant us expiation for our sins, and may we quickly be relieved of it. I suppose this promise is what brings me calm and extreme coolness in this extreme heat.