August 18, 2012

Ramadan Reflections: Renewal and Resolve

Posted in Character, Islam, Knowledge, Sufism, Taqwa, Tazkiyah tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:04 am by faith786

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum,

*****

Today’s Public Service Announcement:

Ramadan cannot be ending. Ramadan cannot be ending. It is like watching a really close friend packing up and getting ready to leave for a year. Taraweeh, walks to the Masjid only with the moon and the lights at the Masjid lighting the way, the first sip of water at Iftar time, the lights in everyone’s houses, the community as one big family…I will miss Ramadan!

*****

What brought me to type this post was two experiences I had recently.

(Warning: long post.)

1) Two nights ago I was reading in the Quran in the Masjid with five women after Taraweeh. A very upset security volunteer came upstairs and kicked all the women out. Even the Masjid is open for men 24 hours because of itikaaf. I get how women can’t do itikaaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan (due to accommodations, etc.) but I don’t see the big deal of letting women stay an hour or two after Taraweeh to pray and read Quran. Shoot, one aunty was still praying when the guy was yelling. (Have some respect for her, please.)

So we were escorted out of the Masjid and three women really wanted to spend the night in the Masjid praying because it was the 27th night and we found out one Masjid 35 min. away was open the whole night to the public. Suddenly, without knowing these women or how to get to this Masjid, we ended up going there together in my car. It was powerful; I was suddenly being called to another Masjid with people I did not know. For a moment, those three women were as close as family to me. We depended on each other as we were going somewhere unknown by ourselves. Allah swt reminded me the importance of the innate human bond and how He calls us on an adventure at the time of His choosing-not mine (although I could have declined it, but seemed inappropriate to. At least, not that night).

We spent the night there in prayer and ibadaat, and around 6:30 am we went back to the first Masjid and I dropped them off so they could drive home in their car. I got home near 7 am. I had an appointment at 9 am. (Oh LAWD.) I ended up not sleeping and went for my appointment. I had to park about 8 blocks away and walk the remainder of the way. It was raining that morning and the rain got heavier as I got out of the car to walk. For whatever reason (I probably wasn’t thinking correctly that morning) I was wearing sandals and long (nearly dragging on the ground) pants.

The walk started off beautiful; the trees were bright green, the grass and bushes were rich and lush, the air was brisk and refreshing, the sky dim, but the earth bold with color, the feeling and sound of rain rapping against my clothes and skin–it was a beautiful morning. My breath began to steady. My eyes started to soften.

As I was walking, my clothes were getting soaked by the rain and I ended up walking through puddles (so my sandals, feet and bottom of my pants were completely drenched). In the beginning, I was getting wet by rain, by water, by dihydrogen monoxide and atmospheric impurities. By the end of my walk, I was drenched in God’s Mercy, His Rahmah, His Nur. I felt that deep intrinsic connection/connected-ness between the universe and myself. Myself and God. My mind began to calm. And my soul began to brighten.

I realized, God is Ever-Present. His Beauty is manifested everywhere around us. But really, we are never alone. God is with us. Always. Rain is a powerful symbol in Islam and a powerful symbol in society, literature and culture. For me, that morning, that rain was a Divine Renewal.

(On a hilarious note, I did show up to my appointment as a squeaky, drenched, soggy mess. I was meeting someone for the first time on an academic matter–great first impression, no?)

***

2) Taraweeh. So although Ramadan might be for one or two more days, the Masjid I go to believes last night was the last night of Ramadan and therefore, offered the last Taraweeh there. In my head, I kept thinking there might be another night, so I can be excited for that. Coming home, I realized even if there is another night of Ramadan, I couldn’t go to Taraweeh. The really late night prayers, the brightly illuminated Masjid at midnight, the random Falafel Truck, reading prayers and extra Quran in the Masjid, the feeling of that big family–it just ended. End of Ramadan Depression immediately hit.

Later that evening I got a call from a lovely friend and she is also having a really strong case of End of Ramadan Depression too. In the conversation I had with her, we realized that we will miss Ramadan dearly (and be depressed about it for a little while longer) but we will try our best to keep that spirit, the goals, and the ideals of Ramadan with us. We want to be better individuals and Ramadan gave us a month to really focus on it. Now we have to get ready to jump and fly for the rest of the year with our determination and goals at the tips of our wings. Or pray that Allah swt will catch us and heal us. =)

We decided we want to be better and we will try to keep working  just as hard after Ramadan. There was a sense of Divine Resolve in both of us.

One step at a time and we will be on our way. We can’t become Jedi Masters unless we face struggle and even fall sometimes. But we will keep that spirit of Ramadan that we will get up when we fall.

***

So there is how the title of this post was decided: Renewal and Resolve. =)

***

 

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