When Ramadan first begins, the month stretches before you, looking endless, and yet here we are already 2/15’s of it has past.

It goes so fast!

And it reminds me of an Afghan folktale.

There was a good king who ruled with kindness and wisdom, and his people wanted to get together to reward him with a gift.

They thought of getting him a fine horse. They thought of fine clothes or livestock, but then a wise man convinced them to give a special ring.

On it they engraved the phrase, “This too shall pass.”

When the king received the gift he asked what the phrase meant. The wise man said, “When you are going through a difficult time, filled with grief and hardship, look down at the ring and know that this time will pass. And if you are going through an easy time, filled with joy and frivolity, look down at the ring and know that this time will pass too, and you should prepare for difficult times ahead.”

The king blessed them and thanked them for the very wise gift.

This afternoon, when the hunger pangs were getting to me and I had to rest a bit, I remembed that ring and thought ‘this too shall pass’.

And when we went to the masjid to pray taraweeh, and the qari (reciter) was going on and on and my feet were getting sore from standing, and I started eyeing the chairs and those who were praying sitting down, I thought, “this too shall pass”.

(Actually I’m a lot better with regards to that! Last year I had to sit and pray, but this year, with all the walking on the treadmill, it’s a bit difficult but I have no problem standing for the whole prayer.)

I don’t often remember to think of that phrase when things are going well, but sometimes I do.

But after having seen about forty Ramadans, come and go, I know that this too shall pass. Eid will come. And we will go back to our normal routine.

But while Ramadan is upon us, I can only bathe in its peace and serenity.