Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ramadhan Thoughts

For those that don't know, Ramadhan is a time which Muslims fast from food and drink during daylight hours. However, there is more to the month than the tradition of abstaining from food and drink. This year has been unique for me because it has been my first Ramadhan outside of the Islamic community that I grew up with. Organizing an Islamic program, picking up food, cleaning up the place of gathering has been something I have done for the last few years of my life an now I am in a new stage. Due to recent events in my life, I have been exposed to a different Ramadhan experience. For the first time, I am realizing the value of family and gathering more frequently in this month. The daily schedule is revised in this month to be conducive to spiritual growth and family bonding. Waking up in the morning before the time of the morning prayer increases the moments the devote spend in reflecting their lives in relation to the Divine. The pangs of
hunger during daylight hours brings the believer to a
state of humility while drawing attention to their motives for making such a sacrifice. As the time for the night prayer comes close, the believer waits with anticipation of dedicating his or her fast to God and reaching out towards the Infinite in the form of formal prayer.

This month is also designed as a time for self reflection but one cannot take advantage of it completely without making time for such spiritual exercise. It was not until the night of the 21st that I realized the magnitude of prayers that are said in this month and the effect of the Divine promise to answer those prayers. At the end of a 20 hour work shift, a call to an Islamic television station from Iran painted this picture clearly. Laying in bed a man desperately sought spiritual guidance in his time of passing. His cancer had escalated to a stage which he felt more productive in asking his Creator to take him from this life than asking to be cured. His greatest disappointment being that he was unable to partake in fasting even though his condition made him exempt from it. His heartache was one based in his inability to reach his Creator in a way that his fellow Muslims took for granted.

As the month comes to a close I realize that love for proximity to Greatness is the greatest of wealth.

*photo courtesy of Deviantart

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