originally posted : Oct 20, 2004

It is habitual for us to ‘regret about the past, complain about the present and worry about the future’. We spend more time thinking about them, than trying to solve them.

However, there are certain events in our lives which give us reasons to push ahead in life. They become milestones to ponder about. We reflect about them as we continue to turn the pages of the calendars and diaries.

And which other month than Ramadan is the most suitable month to reflect on such events, especially when they happened between last year’s Ramadan and the present one?

For the writer, three such events transformed into building blocks for future happiness. ‘3 Rs’ that unfolded themselves by the Will of Almighty between the two Ramadans.

Experience of Realty

The first one happened during last Ramadan itself. Umra, the lesser pilgrimage, was undertaken in the second half of the holy month.

I had always ‘imagined’ what the Ka’aba (the black structure) was like in realty. For almost a quarter century I had performed my prayers facing the same Qibla. But never got a chance to see it with my own eyes. What was it like to stand beside and touch the structure built by Abraham (peace be upon him)? How tiring it must be to run between the hills of Safa and Marwa in the memory of Lady Hajra, the mother of Ismail (peace be upon him)?

All those who went there and returned, narrated stories and incidents. But since not used to listening others’ experiences and rather having my own experience, I would not listen to them so enthusiastically then.

I wanted to know this and more.

And what was it like to stand- with legs shaking, heart trembling and soul dancing- near the blessed Rawdha Shareef (burial place of Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)? I had read about the ecstasy of the saints of past. But no experience is as sweet as own experience. How would the soul contain the joy of the prayer performed in the area marked as ‘paradise on earth?’

I wanted to know this and more.

Since a little child, lips have been accustomed to reciting ‘sallallahu…’ But the one who had to receive the greetings was always miles away. Angels had to deliver them to the Beloved in whatever manner Creator has designed. But how about standing a few steps far and greeting the Leader of two worlds in a mild tone, loud enough for him to hear it directly without the need of angels?

I wanted to know this and more.

That was Umra for the writer. An experience of realty for thoughts that were so far imagined in the mind. And the reward of performing Umra during the month of Ramadan is no less than the Hajj performed along with the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.

Sign of Rahmath

The second was the coming of the better half, to fill the remaining second half (of religion). One’s acts of worship alone will not complete his status of a virtuous slave of God. He has to find a mate from among his own kind and live in peace with her.

And the realization that the love and mercy found between the spouses is not of their own romantic spell, but a gift from God to which they should be ever thankful. Neither the husband’s admiration of the wife nor the wife’s selfless love for her husband is the ability of either. It is the amazing work of the Supreme Creator, Most Merciful and Most-Loving, in which, He declares his glory and praise.

“And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” [The Holy Quran, 30:21]

Not many who frequently quote the above-mentioned verse in marriage-related articles realize that it is mentioned along with other verses that invite man to the signs of God. This verse is one of the six verses that start with “And among His signs is that…” which has references to creation of man from dust, creation of earth and heavens, diversity of human languages, spectacle of sleep and the phenomenon of lightning which arouses man’s fear and hope.

Therefore the love and mercy between hearts of man and woman is as intricate and superb as the other fascinating creations of God.

The Quranic word for mercy is Rahmath. A word closely associated with the all-embracing attribute of God, including over his wrath.

Release of ‘The Cool Breeze’

If first was of Divine nature and second of social significance, then third was of personal ambition and creativity. A work that took almost four years to complete… sleepless nights engrossed in tearful meditation and prayers, this intellectual endeavor taught me the meaning and interpretation of the word Patience. Written passionately from the bottom of the heart once, its release was a dream come true. It carried a great message – of history and of self-inspection- for the community in which I lived and for the world at large.

As a speaker admitted at the release function “The countless happenings around him has influenced his heart. And that is why poetry flows from him without command or demand. It is richly associated with his experience which stimulate an innocent reader like me. Like any other true poet, he announces an ambition of humanism to knit all broken hearts all over the world.”

The three Rs were great blessings from the Creator. Events of greater magnitude may follow more in the coming weeks, months and years. But these shall remain building blocks, I think. The last lunar year thus deserves special mention and special thanks to Almighty.

A million gratitude to the One Rabb for the Three Rs that followed. And for all that shall follow.

“Lord! Help me to give thanks for the favors you have bestowed upon me and my parents and help me to perform good deeds which please you and enter us by Your Mercy among Your righteous servants”.