A woman told me she has difficulty fasting because of her health, and can rarely attend the masjid in the evenings for Taraweeh because of her work schedule. She was feeling down because she didn’t have that spiritual connection she so badly had wanted in Ramadan. This is a reminder for her and for all of us who’ve been struggling:
Many of us feel inadequate this Ramadan. Long hours of fasting with short nights makes it hard for those of us who are parents of young kids, those taking care of parents or loved ones, those of us working full time, or those of us who are unable to fast, "FEEL" Ramadan. We can't do the extra worship we used to and even when we get in our extra Qur'an or pray in the mosque we can't even concentrate, so we end up just feeling lame.
But what we really need is a perspective shift.
We need to recognize that taking care of the future generation, providing financial support for ourselves and loved ones or taking care of our health are some of the highest forms of worship in and of themselves. We just need to make the intention and internally shift our perspectives.
Give yourself 5 minutes, just you and God. Sit and raise your hands and share what's in your heart with Him in your own words, even though He is well aware of it. Allow the burden of your frustration with yourself to be lifted off your shoulders and into His Hands.
"Dear God, I feel distant from you and it hurts especially because it's Ramadan and I want to feel close to You in this month. Please, accept all my sacrifices for Your Sake and let me taste the sweetness of our relationship together through what I'm doing. As much as I wish I could be in the masjid and concentrate when reading Qur'an like I used to do to get that eman high, I can't. But I'm doing whatever I can to fulfill the responsibilities You've given me in this phase of my life. So please, write me amongst the highest in Paradise, pour barakah into my life and let me taste the sweetness of my relationship with You through what I'm doing."
Then, just keep renewing your intention. Remember, even the mundane (brushing your teeth) can be worship with your intention. And try to increase your dhikr just a little bit when you're walking to your car or washing the dishes or taking your meds or going to sleep.
The beauty of Islam is that it doesn't restrict worshipping God to praying, fasting and reading Qur'an. It can encompass your daily actions simply through your intention.
As Abdullah ibn Mubarak said: "Perhaps a great deed is belittled by an intention. And perhaps a small deed, by a sincere intention, is made great."
This Ramadan, make your worship something transformational. Chose to understand your relationship with God as one which will continue even when your life changes. Choose to magnify your intention.