Jaihoon’s Journal of Ramadan 2011
August 22 2011
Socializing with Almighty
The year 2011 has been that of socializing of mankind. A host of services and devices, parasitical on our time, have been connecting individuals and groups for the good and bad reasons. Surprisingly, familial parties and anarchical riots are both organized across the same platform.
But this Holy Month is, in principle, the time to ‘socialize’ with the Almighty. Its days are to ‘befriend’ the Most Merciful and nights are to ‘follow’ the Most Loving. Mankind has been blessed with this incredible opportunity to communicate sans the ‘whisper’ of the Devil. Our hearts quiver in His Glory and we stand for longer hours hoping for His grace and mercy.
The Hands-Free Transit
We seek all means to keep our journey of life as light as possible. We wish to transit from this world hands-free without the sinful baggage on our shoulders. That is indeed the goal of every believer during this Holy Month.
I too on my part embraced this Ramadan with some resolutions.
The Whistle Blower
It is said the Devil is chained during these thirty or so days. Alternatively it means that we are free from his satanic whispers. This also means we are ourselves to blame for our faults in a state of fasting. Ramadan is thus the ‘whistle-blower’ against our own nafs. A mini form of the Last Day of Accountability. It is the month to smelt our Self in the fire of His Fear and purge it of all the impurities.
A few reflective incidents I came across in this Month.
One. My Mom once asked me to bring some lemons from the courtyard for the Iftar preparations. I went up to the lemon tree and found the fruit looking at me just as I looked at them. It required an action to bring them down and so I shook the branches and they began to fall plenty on the ground. Ramadan, too, is the month to shake the Tree of Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness. With duas and tears. In light and dark. In solitude and crowd. In whisper and wail. And we stop at nothing but His Response.
Two. A Customer asked me the other day why Indians are hard-working when overseas while they are sleepy in their own country? What makes them so efficient and dedicated here but lethargic and selfish at home? Allah has kept aside this Holy Month because HE knows that man would not strive for good until he is conscious of a reward for it. And when Allah rewards, man would not be even able to estimate its value.
Three. In the beginning of the Month, I aimed to complete reading the Holy Book once. And I would consider it a modest achievement if I do. My mother has set a target of twice or more times to complete the recitation of Quran. The barkah in time (i.e its perception) is different for different ages. My generations’ is unfortunately stolen by Technology.
Elvis Presley of Traditional Islam
Prior to the commencement of the Month I was given an audio collection of speeches by the American Muslim scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. The Washington born Mark Hanson, former to his conversion to Islam, has travelled extensively in the Arab world and has a fairly good idea of what he is talking about. Criticism aside, I found him to be an excellent presenter of ‘traditional Islam’ (as he calls it) and in perfect harmony with my psyche. Mentored by spiritual masters across traditional Arab lands, the appreciation in his speeches for Islamic culture and history, love for the Holy Prophet, respect for the family of the Holy Prophet, inter faith harmony and tolerance, critique of materialism, mastery of Arabic – all make him a Gift of God for US Muslims.
Ramadan is also the month of patience and forbearance. But being good at neither, I had my wife and kids sent for vacation so that Ramadan would be spark-free for me. But I sacrificed all the rewards I could have earned in my diplomacy with them.
When I spoke to my son on the eve of Ramadan about the moon sighting, he enthusiastically said he had seen the news in which the Grand Sayyid of Panakkad in Kerala had announced the commencement of the Holy Month. And to fulfill the threefold instructions of the Holy Prophet, I had him started the Quran lessons with a local mulla. ‘Teach three manners to your children: Love of the prophet, Love of the family members of the prophet and Recitation of Quran, as the preservers of Quran will be under the graceful shadow of Allah with prophets and righteous one on a day when there would be no shadow besides Allah’s graceful shadow’.” (The 2/3 Love Reminder: Holy Prophet’ call to the Parents and Educationists)
Carnival of Qiyamullail
Allah blessed with an opportunity to attend the Qiyamulalil led by Salah Bukhathir at a local masjid. Since almost a decade, it has been a regular habit to attend this spiritual carnival.
Ramadan is the month in which every moment could be made an act of worship including sleep. The break from one form of worship is and should be another form. When tired of prayer, shift to reading of Quran and then to dua etc.
Respect on earth and heavens
Allah has blessed us with tremendous blessings including respect in the hearts of others. Friends and strangers address us with titles and names out of love and admiration. It is only natural to wish that our Creator too recognizes such titles and consider us with love and mercy.
Ramadan: Qalb and Qalam
Our Creativity is a two-fold blessing from the Creator and is a result involving two Qafs (Arabic ق) . Qalb, or the heart, is related to the absorption of knowledge and Qalam is symbol of its expression. A new development in my creative life is a forthcoming mobile application based on my literary writings.
Shopping List for Devotional Fiesta
A few months back I was sent a free shopping voucher worth a few hundred Dirhams from a garments outlet. I and family planned meticulously what to buy and had a check list made before the spree began.
Yes, Ramadan is the most grand discount extravaganza we can ever imagine. Shopping for the blessings of Allah, be it of the greatest or silly value. There is no limit for the goods we can accumulate. We can soul-shop in this month, especially in the last 10 days, more than what we can in all our life. Who knows, any sinner could rise to the station of a saint in this magical night.
Once again asked my wife to prepare the shopping list for this Devotional Fiesta of Divine Forgiveness.
May Allah accept.