By Ruhana Ali; writer, leadership facilitator and a trustee of the East London Mosque Trust. 

Old friend,
When you knocked humbly at my door
I smiled so bitter sweetly. 
Such regret in my joy
I couldn’t devote to you completely.

I know I promised I’d try to change,
But life had me distracted. 
You brought me hope of a better year,
But my endeavours got retracted.

Ordinarily a competitive soul.
A perfectionist, I like to win.
As I’m reminded of what Ihsan means,
I know it lies within

To worship Allah as if I see Him,
And if not to know that Allah sees me, 
But how often is this conscious?
When worship can wane in sincerity.

Ibadah becoming robotic like
Racing to complete the Quran in the month,
But how many verses did I actually stop to comprehend, 
Was my heart like those that are numb?

Over indulgence at Iftar,
I’m probably not alone.
Was that extra plate of food necessary?
Even the body has rights and will moan.

Grumpy, tired and short tempered,
Less smiles throughout the day.
Colleagues confused about how spiritual this all is
And try to stay out of your way.

The realisation shaitans are chained, 
It’s mostly down to nafs.
That moment you make heartfelt dua,
To practice sabr is tough.

Beautiful character and actions are good examples for others.
As we focus on ourselves, 
Let’s not forget to make dua
For our oppressed sisters and brothers.

But alas dear soul, regret not
Allah created us insaan,
By nature we are forgetful.
Glad tidings for those with imaan.
Allah hears the duas of the repentful.

To achieve true perfection,
Don’t try to shoot for the moon.
Do the small and consistent good deeds,
We may feel the sweetness more soon.

I won’t kill myself in unrealistic goals,
We are indeed creatures habitual.
Just strive to be the best I can, 
Starting with my daily rituals.

Coasting, getting by, doing the bare minimum
Is not our Prophet’s (ﷺ) way.
Striving to do things excellently,
Starting with positive intentions for the day

And old friend as you are back,
Smiling so bashful and bright,
I’ll continue to renew my intention for us,
Determined to put things right.

Let’s spend quality time together, 
Away from all the hype.
Fasting doesn’t mean feasting,
Simplicity is part of the fight.

Rekindle old relationships, 
Don’t be stubborn or too proud.
Seek forgiveness from others,
Make amends where possible,
Give sadaqah, say salaam out loud.

You always bring happiness,
Even though many pass away before your grace.
It’s all the more reason to strive hard
And be consistent with my pace.

Youth is not on my side.
Time vanishes with every breath,
I know If I bid thee adieu
You can testify after my death.

We shared some difficult days,
We cried in challenging nights. 
We were alone with only Allah,
Desperately sharing our plight.

Let’s make the most of our time, 
As it always ends so fast.
So if you knock at my door next year,
I won’t regret the year gone past.

I’ll embrace you with all of my soul,
As you are a month in which there is perfection.
As i make Ihsan my goal,
I can ponder this reflection.....