By:  Misha Ali

We often think of Ramadan as a month of starving and waking up in the dead of night to eat our only meal of the day, but a lot of us never really see the true picture of the world during this time of month. We hear stories about kids overseas with no food for iftar and sahoor. We sympathize with them, donate some money and move on.

But do you really sit down and think how your life would be if you were in their position? I was the same way. I would hear stories about little kids whose parents cannot afford much food so they had to sacrifice their food for their kids. I remember feeling so bad for them and wishing I could do something. But I never sat down and thought how different my life would be if I went a month without one of the necessities we take for granted every day.

This summer my family and I are in Pakistan. This is our first Ramadan away from home, and I can honestly say it has been interesting. This summer has been Pakistan’s hottest summer. On top of that there is load-shedding. This is where the city will turn off the power for an hour or two to cut back on electricity being used. A few weeks ago, there was something wrong with the power lines, so some places across the city people were going a whole day or 2 without power. Alhamdulillah, we were lucky ours did not go out for that long. But going out and seeing how people were dealing with these issues shocked me. There were people out on the streets, because they have no home, or they haven’t had power for 2 days. There were people on the news striking against the government, because they are not taking action for these issues people are facing, especially during the month of Ramadan.

As I was witnessing all these things that I don’t see on a normal daily basis, I felt embarrassed. Embarrassed because I personally complain a lot. I complain about the smallest things, when they don’t go my way. I am not the only one either. I know many people who complain even more. People complain about not having enough food during iftar and dinner, or the way the food was served. People complain about not having enough or the right kind of soda for their guests or even for the people at Masjid dinners. We complain about the mosquitoes and bugs outside; no one wants to serve because it is too hot to stand outside and you were fasting all day.

All of these little things seem 10x more ridiculous when you see the real deal in a less privileged country.  This Ramadan has taught me to count my blessings, because my life is filled with them Alhamdulillah. All of our lives are filled with them, and I think we should all sit down and really think about it. That clean running water is always there for you when you need it, but does everybody around the world have that? The AC running 24/7…is that a norm for everybody around the world? We are so blessed to be living in a country that provides us everything we need, and, with that, remember to say "Alhamdulillah" even when you didn’t get that samosa during iftar! L

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