It feels like it hasn’t rained since Harvey decided to dislodge itself on us. Or rather, it didn’t feel like it until yesterday when a thunderstorm passed over. But it didn’t just rain—the thunder was like gunfire on the battlefield, lightning tore the sky down to the horizon, water was coming down as though it didn’t intend to stop.
And then the lights went out. The stoves wouldn’t turn on. The phones wouldn’t work. The internet was no longer active. It was five in the afternoon which is about as bright as an afternoon can get in these summer days, but the storm clouds had filled the house with dark. I lit our kitchen igniter, mounted a stool, and went on a search for candles. Lighting a few across the kitchen counter, I couldn’t help but travel back to Karachi childhood.
I loved it when the electricity went out. It brought everyone closer. There wasn’t much you could do without electricity, including sleeping because it got too hot without the fan working. The candles would go on and there weren’t even that many, so it just wasn’t an option to take your own candle and do something by yourself—except using the toilet. Everyone sort of huddled in one place, or if it was too hot—retired to the rooftop to tell Jinn stories. It was intimate, cozy, enchanted.
And so I found myself in the same—but different—coziness yesterday. Dad was asleep, Mom was downstairs, and I came upstairs for a bit. I am not a happy camper in the sunlight. The dark clouds had spread a sort of warmth and calm in me. Sitting in relief, I thought about what to do next. The power company said electricity would be restored in three hours. My phone had only so much battery, so I couldn’t read Quran on it for long, in case I would need that 20% before the power came back. That also meant I couldn’t use the internet on my phone. It was just too dark to read otherwise. It was also too dark to work on my current illustration project.
So I sat on the floor and made duaa. In a way, the storm was a weave of so many things at once—the thunder reminded me of Allah’s power, His greatness. The fear and awe of God that is naturally in our souls wakes up immediately when we hear clouds make sounds like that. There was also the appreciation of how much we’re given. People in Pakistan are literally dying from the heat right now in the middle of Ramadan. There’s also a huge, long-standing load-shedding problem and they often don’t have electricity. In turn they don’t have water either. Ours is just an anomaly, and we don’t even have to deal with that kind of heat, or water shortages. And lastly, everything else blacked out—without phones, without light, without distractions, I was able to finally say things I wanted to say, ask for things I wanted to ask. I was able to think.
It was the perfect waking up, the perfect present from above. Ramadan in itself is like a passing storm—when it comes, it pours tons and tons of Rahmah, without limit. All other things get blacked out, become secondary. The only thing to really, truly remain vigilant about is whether we’re being consistent, whether we’re taking advantage of this time, whether we’re asking Allah or not—because Allah for sure, is ready to respond to us.