Rattiness: My Ramadhan Reflection

Ramadan challenges

I was travelling on the bus today. I love travelling on the bus. You get to watch people, see the outside, marvel at how there is so much beauty if you look past the chaos. Anyway, I saw some women start conversations with people they had seen out and about. I saw one woman in particular being friendly to another family on the bus, offer help to a London visitor and smile at people. I thought that she had a lovely disposition even though I had no idea who she was. I felt the urge to thank her and compliment her on her kindness to others. People say London is a lonely place so I definitely think it’s important to cherish it when it isn’t. I told her that she had a lovely smile and that it was wonderful to see her be so nice and kind to others.

So I started thinking, isn’t this what it’s all about? Helping other people to feel happy, supported, part of a community? As a social science researcher, I get asked all the time about what I mean when I say ‘community’. Well I guess this is it- the feeling that you are part of a collective and kindness and reciprocity is part of that. But it’s more than just being kind to the people who are ‘in your club’. It’s about being kind to everyone, to set the baseline for reciprocity. And especially in the month of Ramadhan. When some people are so obsessed with looking in, cleaning out the inside (I saw a post about Ramadhan being the annual ‘cleanser of the soul’. Well, if I waited for Ramadhan to do any soul-cleaning I would be a bit concerned!). Do we forget out relationships to the outside? Is that not a significant part of ‘cleaning’ our insides?

Recently, my boyfriend said: ‘Oh I don’t like it when Ramadhan comes, you get very ratty.’ Yes, I have indeed been very ratty to him this month so far. He on the other hand, has had the patience of a saint. Offering to cook for me, cooking for the Inclusive Iftar, making sure I feel supported no matter how ratty I am. He even proposed to me on an evening when I was particularly ratty! Every other day I’ve said, ‘c’mon hunny, you know I’m fasting. Of course I’m going to be ratty!’. But today, on that bus, I realised that my fast would not mean anything if I was causing friends and loved ones to endure my rattiness! I hope that by the end of Ramadhan, I can overcome it and instead exude kindness. That will be a true spiritual cleansing, and an accomplishment.

So let’s start with smiles and compliments for people you see being kind and doing acts of kindness. Regardless of whether they fast or not.

-Peace be upon you all-

Nafisah Graham-Brown
IMI Volunteer and Events Organiser

NB: I mean ratty as in bad tempered, grumpy and irritable.