late ramadan reflections

Category: , , , , , By freshouttatime
we're running into the 24th nite of Ramadan here in Ankara. 3 weeks ago I was new to this place and had different expectations than what i've experienced. Needless to say, its been good, Alhamdulilah.
I've managed to keep my fast all except for one day, where I ran a fever and was sweating like krazy, and InshaAllah the next week should be fine.
I've kept up some of my personal goals, in terms of reading and I hope of keeping my cool.
I've managed to meet many different levels of practicing Muslims, to sincerely devout, to the moderates, to the not so practicing ones. All of them revealed a sense of kinship through common practices and cultural identity.
I've tried my best to be charitable, and I think this was the toughest, I've observed that i still suffer from selfcentered ness.

The big issue is dealing with doubt, in all aspects, if I can achieve my goals, to the Macro issues of whether or not what I believe in is worth my effort.
I think the biggest learning asset is in observing and interacting with people of different beliefs and different lifestyles, plus holding onto a set of core principles you won't betray. For me the core principle was along the lines of: Remain steadfast and be good
Its been drilled into me by my mama growing up and of course it is what sticks out most to me in my understanding of Islam.
So like I've mentioned in other posts, I've heard from Turks and non-Turks who don't practice religion too much, but all tend to have a commitment or an inclination towards being well natured.
I've heard from more practicing ones, and seen more practicing ones applying teachings from the Quran in their behavior with me. This has left the biggest mark on me, because I can see and understand, and empathize with their reasons for being Good.
This Ramadan I was able to devote more time to reading and gauging my thoughts on my role as a Human in life and where it will lead me in the hereafter.
I think what convinces people of the veracity of the Quran is that it speaks so matter of factly and directly about the consequences for good and bad behavior. Couple that with any knowledge you might have of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and context of the verses revealed and it sits easy with you.
So what has been ticking me off as of late are the scholars, skeptics, and objective Islamic experts. To me unless proven otherwise Objectivity is always viewing something with a predisposition of doubt, not ambivalence, but doubt and undermining that which is under scrutiny. So from the getgo you have a rough idea of what to expect when you read works from this perspective. To quote Ahmadinejad from Columbia "the audience has already been vaccinated and deprived of the opportunity to judge for themselves"
A lesson learned from the scripture, is that the Prophets mentioned said that they did not come to seek a reward or compensation from the people, rather their reward is with Allah, and they have only come with a warning because people have gone astray
I'm learning that its very difficult to swallow one's ego and accept good advice from someone else. Someone here at ODTU mentioned to me, "you know what, if you don't like someone but they say something that is truly valuable, just take what's good and leave the rest"

Lets switch up the colours shall we? Tonight was a good evening, for Iftaar me and a few other folk went out to some restaurant and I had SEA Bass Filet....mmmmm good! I really enjoy the food here, its not spicy, its full of flavor, and the portion is not too much and not too little so i can eat and be content. Then we went out for some icecream at a dessert place and that was decent but the company is what made the evening enjoyable.
Afterwards i caught Taraweeh at Kocatepe, it was bustling outside and in the bazaar next door, and i'd say the prayer hall was at 40% capacity.
After prayers I went into the Bazaar, looking for some english books. I FINALLY picked up a Mus-haf and a few other things. One vendor discovered quite easily that I was a foreigner and gave me a complimentary book on Ramadan, its a 64 page HQ book on Ramadan featuring essays and pictures by Muslims originating from Turkey.
I'll end with pictures.