Not sure if you’ve ever heard about those new interactive mind games popping up all over the world, but let me tell you, they’re extremely intense. The players are locked up in a confined space with a time frame of 60 minutes to figure out the puzzle and break free before the room explodes. (Okay, the room doesn’t ACTUALLY explode, but you know, a little spicing-up is always fun)
I’m not gonna lie to you guys. When I heard about those ‘Escape Room’ games, I was beyond intrigued to go try them out, and I must say, that one hour you spend in there ends up being one of the fastest and longest hours of your life. (Weird I know, but I don’t know how else to explain it…)
The Mind Game
To cut a long story short, let me show you a snapshot of what usually happens inside this prison-like room. This way please…
One of us was all over the place, chatting away. She’d yell and scream every time we cracked a code, I think the instructor on the side of the wall went deaf. She’s the fun type, but boy was she a huge distraction too! One of us was silent. Focused. Organized. Judgmental. She had zero tolerance for mistakes. We were too scared to make any suggestions or ask questions. Like hello, it’s a game for crying out loud! One of us was panicking. She kept her eyes on the timer, frozen in place, too stressed to actually figure out what the mission was. One of us was suffocated because the clues made no sense and one of us didn’t care to think too much. She just followed the other players’ lead.
I closed my eyes to drown out the noises and I couldn’t help but wonder…
The distractions, judgments, fear, worry, stress and disappointments….Is this room a reflection of our lives? ? A prison we’re trapped in, struggling to stay on the right path. The players had a specific goal; to break out before the timer beeps. Just like in this world, we strive to succeed before we die. But we go about it differently because people are different. Some follow their hearts, and others follow the rules. Some are too distracted, or too strict, or too judgmental, or just wasting time panicking about losing time. With the confined space of obligations, competition, doubts and desires, sometimes our struggles make us forget the real mission is to earn a better place We forget to remember that Allah sends us hints to help us, and guidance on how to work as a team….
Inside the room of life we’re stressed and drained, and all we want to do is to escape!
“Three minutes left! We can do this!” One of us said, so calm and contained.
And you know what? We did.
After almost sixty minutes of excruciating pressure where we were literally ready to kill each other, the door opened to a whole new feeling. There was this moment of freedom and victory. Somehow we forgot about the previous struggles and arguments and we all smiled and hugged each other. For a precious moment we didn’t care about our differences because we all shared the same feeling…. Relief.
The Need To Breathe
We thrash and struggle to escape our pain for eleven whole months every single year…
Daily challenges leave us mentally drained…
Trying to make ends meet and all our other responsibilities leave us physically drained.
The social life, the social media, the masks people wear and the feelings we shove inside all leave us emotionally drained…
And most of all, the doubts, desires and distractions that fill our hearts and minds… they shift our focus from our real mission as slaves of Allah… and whether we like to admit it or not, this whole process scars our souls..
Then a blessed month arrives… And the door opens to a whole new experience of freedom… and we don’t care about our differences anymore because we are all suddenly on the same page…. Everything is peaceful and beautiful and serene…
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said,
“When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the (Hell) Fire are closed, and the devils are chained.”1
One For All And All For One
Did you know that since ‘The Night Of Qadr’ is better than 1000 months, it’s worth more than 83 years, which is basically a human’s average life span!
Okay Pop Quiz everyone!
Imagine if a legendary sinner somehow winds up breaking down in tears of repentance on that same night, and Allah, the Most Forgiving, accepts him. How far does he rise in the blink of an eye?
That girl who refuses to wear hijab and that man with the repulsive attitude, we all get the same chance to be transformed. This friend who never prays, and this one who prays day and night, we have absolutely no idea how their ending would be, because what they’re like inside the prison of life can be far from what blooms in their hearts in the month of Ramadan; the precious time of relief.
No matter how different we are under pressure, in times of peace, we all get the same chance to change.
The real ‘you’ comes to life in these thirty days. Your heart is opened and your soul finally gets a chance to heal. You’ll find yourself overwhelmingly, ridiculously happy just sipping water after a long hot day of fasting. You’ll give generously to anyone who asks, look forward to ‘Iftar’ with your family and loved ones and you’ll stand for hours at night to pray, willingly giving up your sleep. You’ll quench your thirst when you feed a poor person, and your heart will race you to the mosque for ‘Taraweeh’. You’ll find a whole storage of patience, love and faith inside of you, and it will be hard for you to explain where it came from. The things that used to distract you will find no place in your life for a whole month, because your soul is too busy enjoying this peaceful freedom. Tears will flow down your face and cleanse your heart… and the Holy Qur’an becomes your new best friend. How does all of this happen suddenly? Do you become a different person in Ramadan…?
No, you don’t.
The truth is, who you are in this month is the real ‘you’ submitting to Allah…
All this gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, patience and appreciation were there all along, locked up inside the struggles of life…
You get a chance once every year, to retrieve this treasure and remember why you’re here. This month is a reminder of all the goodness you possess that might have been covered up by outside sources. This is the time when you can put all your mistakes, worries and pain behind and start anew. Ramadan is the sparkle of hope and the energy boost that motivates us to be better. It’s a breath of fresh air you’re in desperate need of and that’s why you feel so peaceful….
Because you’re finally free…
To be ‘you’…