Remember how Ramadan was when you were small? How despite the challenge, you wanted to do it all? “They say I’m too young? Who cares what they think! I’ll give up the food, I’ll give up the drink. I’ll behave my best. I won’t be bad. I’ll pray each salaat, just like mum and dad. I’ll rise early for suhur, pray taraweeh ’til late. I’m sure I’ll be tempted, but for iftar I will wait. I’ll run to the neighbours with plates stacked with food. I’ll smile like the Prophet* and share my good mood. I’ll break my fast with zamzam and dates, And swap samosa stories with all of my mates. I’ll give my pocket money to children in need, And I’ll help get everything ready for Eid!” Now all grown up, you ask, “what went wrong? I find it so difficult – the month is too long! Was it easier back then, or was I far more tough? Has my faith become weak or has life become rough?” You feel like you’re lost, like you can no longer cope. But ‘do not despair’, He tells us; do not lose hope. That child of Ramadan-past has not gone, Because deep inside you its spirit lives on. So call on your Lord to get you on track, And soon, through His Love, your child will be back.
The story behind the poem
Ramadan is a blessed and wonderful time, but it is also a challenging one. Fasting can be hard for many, for numerous reasons, but it isn’t just the fast itself that can present difficulties. For some, the abstinence from food and drink (and, let’s not forget, intimate relations) between the rising and setting of the sun is the least of their worries, because it is the spiritual connection to the month that is eluding them, or life that is giving them a really tough time, and that is what is making everything else harder in turn. It is common when in that position to look back to when things were simpler and wish for them to be that way again, and that is the feeling I wanted to capture when I wrote this poem for the Ramadan guide.
Footnotes: *Peace be upon him. **Zamzam is the blessed water from the well of the same name in Makkah. You can learn more about the story behind Zamzam here.