The Second Ten Days of Ramadan - Digging Deep, Renewing Intentions & Focusing on Forgiveness
Posted on May 15, 2019
We’re well underway now into Ramadan, right? The first ten days passed in a mixture of excitement and perhaps some apprehension as we got used to fasting - and a lot of sharing of advice, articles, duas, stories and notes on how to make the most of this holy month - prayers to say, lectures to listen too, Quran apps to make our reading easier.
But now the challenging part of Ramadan begins - the second ten days. These are the Days of Forgiveness. And I don’t know about you, but I could use some forgiving in my life.
The second ten days are when we tighten our proverbial belts and settle into this month of fasting, when suhoor perhaps becomes a chore and our intention to have a healthy iftar gives way to whatever we have on hand and can quickly prepare when it’s time to break out fast. When tiredness can reign supreme and whatever goals we have set for ourselves this month may feel unattainable.
When it becomes a bit of a fasting slog, and focusing on the why of this whole endeavor - to grow closer to Allah (S) and learn self-restraint - may get lost or buried in the daily grind of work, family-rearing and, well, living. Maybe I should speak for myself here, but I’ve certainly felt that tiredness in the second ten days - the struggle to find the meaning in my fast, to focus on my Quran reading and really connect with Allah (S).
But, I can’t imagine I’m alone in this.
Perhaps you’ve struggled already in your first ten days of fasting. Maybe like me, you were sick and had to miss a fast or two. Maybe your kids were sick, and you weren’t able to get to tarawih or read Quran like you wanted to. I know I’ve been struggling because I have yet to set foot in our local masjid, which opened this Ramadan after we had been fundraising and working for it for a decade. But, two of my kids got sick - one very sick - and I also got sick. And, best laid plans were set aside.
Just because, perhaps, things didn’t go according to plan during the first ten days doesn’t mean all is lost for the second ten days and the last ten days of Ramadan. Remember, we are in the Days of Forgiveness now. It’s never too late to start afresh, to seek forgiveness. Allah (S) is waiting for us to come to Him, even if it’s well into the month.
This is a time to regroup, to renew your intentions, to dig deep and give into the uncomfortable parts of fasting - the parts which pushes us to dig deep, worship more, appreciate our blessings and reflect upon why we fast. My friend Fatima Pashaei nailed it earlier this week when she said in this Facebook status update:
We are nearing day 10 of Ramadan, which is when our bodies realize that this starving thing is the new normal. Days 10-20 are (IMO) the toughest days of fasting, because you reach full withdrawal. Ramadan rage is real - your body runs out of regular fat reserves, and you lose patience easily. Your brain isn’t operating at 100%. Your sense of smell intensifies. Sounds bother you. You take lots of naps. You think about food all day and maybe even start to watch cooking shows just to get a cheap fix.
Of course, it could be worse - we could have NOTHING to eat in the evenings. For many people around the world, going hungry every day is NOT a choice, it’s a necessity. If nothing else, fasting reminds you of this fact and humbles you. Hang in there, friends!
She is right. At the end of our long day of fasting, alhumdullilah we have food to break out fast with. Yeah, we may be tired and feeling the effects of managing our fasts and elevated ibadah with our other worldly responsibilities, but so many of us have the basics of humanity - food, clean water, shelter and hopefully family - things we all to often take for granted.
I like to remind myself of why we fast. The Quran lays it out for us in Surah Baqarah, where it says:
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may learn self-restraint.
How many of us can say we practice self-restraint in our lives, like in aspects of our lives we may have never considered? If we are fasting from food, are we also fasting from backbiting, from insulting speech, from envy, from judgment? Are we exercising more patience and understanding and forgiveness? This is my biggest challenge in Ramadan (and in general) - drawing on patience and understanding in the way I navigate my world, in how I parent my children and help my son manage his autism. In how the kind of wife I am to my husband. And most importantly, in the kind of believer I am for Allah (S).
There’s a reason these second ten days of Ramadan are the Days of Forgiveness. It’s a time when we as Muslims must seek the forgiveness of Allah (S) for all our transgressions and shortcomings and turn towards Him with the intention of doing better, being better. If we can remember this and hold on to this, hopefully this middle portion of Ramadan will be uplifted and treasured as it should be.
You got this, my friends!