Aaisha’s Ramadaan diaries, Day 9: On showing your “jaat”

Day 9: Don’t show your jaat

Fasting has had me on a short fuse the past couple of days. I don’t know why, but for some reason I feel like I am dealing with abject stupidity in every direction I go – every single little thing is capable of getting on my nerves.

In my culture (Indian) we have a saying – “Don’t show your jaat” (nation) – which basically translates to “stop being the worst and showing your true colours”… at least, NOT IN PUBLIC. Of course, it’s usually something you’ll be inclined to hear your mother hiss at you when you’re bored at a function or throwing a tantrum somewhere because you aren’t getting what you want, but I find myself muttering it more and more these days as I not only encounter people in real life who are just being too extra, but also spot them in prime jaat-displaying mode while scrolling through my social media feeds.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to rationalise it to see if there is a positive spin to put on this and – shukr – there is a way. As much as it is REALLY ANNOYING, maybe that’s part of the jihad (FYI: jihad doesn’t mean ISIS. It means internal conflicts and battling against yourself to be better). It’s part of a process and also part of what Ramadan is meant to be doing – revealing the rawest, ugliest state of yourself to yourself, so you can see what it is that you have to work with when you’re trying to improve yourself this month. Because I’m totally really full of shit too – mind my language – and there’s no way I am also not showing my jaat, and the only way I can actually do anything about that is by first of all acknowledging that it is actually a thing.

So I’m reminded of the good ol’ Rumi quote in this situation – “if you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” Which is a good way to put things into perspective, and a good thing to keep in mind just generally.

And the verse from Surah Baqarah (2:153)

إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

which roughly translates to “Verily, Allah is with the patient”, and which you will find me reciting on repeat, out loud, as I count to ten after dealing with antics that are TESTING me.

This is a special Ramadaan series by our favourite Muslim reporter, Aaisha Dadi Patel. For Day 8’s musings, click here.