By Imam Khalid Latif
August 24, 2009
In honor of Ramadan 2009, elan presents a three-part series reflecting on how young Muslims can approach the holy month from Imam Khalid Latif. Imam Khalid is the Executive Director of The Islamic Center at New York University (NYU), and one of the most notable and influential young Muslims in the United States.
I think that the month of Ramadan is about honesty.
In this judgmental world of ours, it’s unfortunately easy for one to find a Muslim who is critical of another Muslim’s lifestyle. Even more unfortunate, it’s easy for us to respond to those criticisms quite mechanically by saying “You don’t know what my intentions are,” and then walking away, more annoyed than advised, but not ever really productively asking ourselves what our intentions were.
During Ramadan, we get to see who we in fact really are. It becomes ingrained in the psyche of every Muslim that from the first day of Ramadan through the last, it’s just you taking on yourself. But for whatever reason, it’s not ingrained within us that the opportunity to understand ourselves a little bit better is there for the taking.
What sets human beings apart from other creatures in this world is our intellect – those animals whose lives revolve solely around eating, drinking, and having sex. But do we really use our conscious mind as best as we can? Or do habits run our lives?
This Ramadan, we should try to understand a little bit better our own respective habits and then take on those that we deem are not good for us. When dissecting a habit, it’s important to make note of a few things.
Primarily, one would want to identify the habit itself. Anything from nail-biting to backbiting, eating unhealthy foods to not eating at all, sleep deprivation to sleeping through Fajr, the list could go on and on. But breaking a habit entails acknowledging that it exists.
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