15 Nov Being shaped by Ramadan.Part1
At this time when we experience occasions, of much sorrow and some contentment, we sense the promise in the advent of Ramadan, the month of mercy and forgiveness. In the climate of this month of light, we feel both spring and autumn at the same time in our inner worlds, seasons of lovely expectations and longing.
With their profound, spiritual breezes, every sound and breath of air in Ramadan announces in a most exalted and exhilarating style all the pleasures we would like to taste in life and the hopes of good we deeply cherish.
Coming like successive rays of light, the smiling days of Ramadan envelop us with the expectations, hopes and joys they carry from the worlds beyond, and present to us samples from Paradise.
When Ramadan begins, our inner life, its thoughts and feelings, is renewed and strengthened. Breezes of mercy, coming in different wavelengths, unite with our hopes and expectations, and penetrate our hearts. In the enchanting days and illumined nights of Ramadan, we feel as if all the obstacles blocking our way to God are removed and the hills on that way are levelled.
Like rain pouring on the earth, Ramadan comes with streams of meanings and emotions that water dried and thirsty hearts, making the inner worlds of people propitious for new meanings and conceptions. By means of the light of the days, hours and minutes of this blessed month, hearts attain such spiritual depth and become so purified that they never desire to leave its climate of peace.
As Ramadan approaches, we live the delight of anticipation and preparation for it. The food and drink that come into our kitchens in the days before it comes, put us in mind of it with a thrill of expectation. And then it comes at last, laden with mercy and forgiveness. As soon as it honours us, each of us finds himself in a spiral of light rising toward the heavens and advances toward the Unknown Existent One in a new spiritual mood in the night-time and in another, different spiritual mood in daytime. We open our eyes to each of its days with a different solemnity and self-possession and reach every evening in an enchanting, delightful serenity.
The pleasant nights of Ramadan receive warmest welcome from all souls. Eyes look more deeply in them and people feel deeper love for each other. Everyone desires to do good to everyone and passions and ill-feeling are subjugated to a certain extent. In Ramadan everyone feels so much more attached to God and is so careful in his relations with others that it is impossible not to see this.
Believing souls taste the contentment of belief more deeply and experience the blessing of the good morals prescribed by Islam and the spiritual ease of doing good to others. Moreover, they try to expand, to share, this contentment, blessing and ease with others. Since these souls at rest are convinced that one day will come when this life will end in an eternal happiness and whatever they suffer and sacrifice here for God’s sake will be returned with very great reward, they struggle against their animal appetites in a mood of doing an act of worship. The meals they take at sunset to break the fast give them the pleasure of worship and are followed by early night prayer with the addition of the supererogatory service of worship particular to Ramadan. The meals they take before dawn to start fasting are united with supererogatory night prayer (tahajjud) and become a dimension of their nearness to God. Streets are filled with the people going to and returning from mosques, in which declarations of ‘God is the Greatest’ resound as in the Masjid al-Haram in Makka. You would think that the streets are each a mosque and each mosque is Ka’ba.
The people shaped by Ramadan in this way, though mortal in nature, gain a sort of eternity and each of their acts done in the consciousness of deliberate worship becomes a ceremony pertaming to the Hereafter.