Alhamdulillah - اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ - Thank God!
I shall start this post with a short "wish-prayer":
May the Divine Light and the Divine Breeze nourish our souls, bring
ease and guide us through these strange times of difficulty and
crossroads - worldwide speaking. May there be "Light upon Light".
A month of "self-restraint" and reclusion into oneself, of prayer and meditation, for some of us...
A wake-up call? For some of us ...
A spiritual awakening? Hopefully, for most of us ...
Ramadan Mubarak, Ramadan Karim
The 24th of April 2020 (1441) marked the commencement of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the Month of Mercifulness, abundant in spiritual meaning. The noun Ramadan stems from the Arabic root R-M-Ḍ (ر-م-ض) which means "scorching heat”. During this Holy Month, Muslims around the world observe fasting - Al Sawm - refraining from eating and drinking water from the break of dawn till sunset.
With the Maghreb Azan, the Sunset Call to Prayer, Muslims break the fast with iftar - the first meal of the day.
The Prophet Mohammad - Peace And Prayers Be Upon Him, would break the fast by eating three dates.
Fasting represents one of the five pillars of Islam alongside shahada (profession of faith), salat (prayer), zakat (almsgiving), and hajj - pilgrimage.
During Ramadan, the fifth salat of the day - Isha prayer is followed by Tarawih prayers: additional ritual prayers performed by Muslims at night. A Juz’ - جُزْء of the Holy Quran ( a section of approximately 1/30 or 1/40 length) is read.
During this time of the year special TV programs are broadcasted. As for the cuisine, every country prepares specific delicacies for the feast of Ramadan. It is a time when visits among relatives, neighbours and friends intensify. Also, iftar gatherings would usually take place in restaurants and outside the house.
It goes without saying that the incumbent pandemic has affected the gathering rituals and that Muslims are celebrating within the comfort of their own home.
Yet out of sight is definitely not out of Light or mind.
I believe that the power of the collective thought and prayers transcends the boundaries of social distancing, especially during this Holy Month - a feast of the soul.
Surah Al- Baqara is the longest Surah of Quran Al-Karim and it sets the amendments regarding Ramadan.
The Holy Quran was revealed in 114 surahs. A surah means chapter. 86 surahs are Meccan, and 28 surahs are Medinan. The classification rapports to the place of the revelation of the Holy Quran: any Surah revealed after the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Prayers Be Upon Him) is termed Medinan and any revealed before that event is termed Meccan.
I am sharing a few verses of Surah Al-Baqarah, should you care to learn more about it, or should you be a Muslim, see it mentioned, again - right over here:
Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 183-185:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ وَأَن تَصُومُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ يُرِيدُ اللّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلاَ يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُواْ الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 183-184-185-187:
183. “O ye who believe!
Fasting is prescribed to you
As it was prescribed
To those before you,
That ye may (learn)
184. (Fasting) for a fix
Number of days;
But if any of you is ill,
Or on a journey,
The prescribed number
(Should be made up)
From days later.
For those who can do it
(With hardship), is a ransom,
The feeding of one
That is indigent.
But he that will give
More, of his own free will,
It is better for him.
And it is better for you
That ye fast,
If ye only knew.
185. Ramadhan is the (month)
In which was sent down
The Qu-ran, as guide
To mankind, also clear (Signs)
For guidance and judgement
(Between right and wrong).
So every one of you
Who is present (at his home)
During that month
Should spent it in fasting,
But if any one is ill,
Or on a journey,
The prescribed period
(Should be made up)
By days later.
Allah intends every facility
For you; He does not want
To put you to difficulties.
(He wants you) to complete
The prescribed period,
And to glorify Him
In that He has guided you,
And perchance ye shall be grateful.
187. Permitted to you
Or the night of the fasts,
In the approach to your wives,
They are your garments
And ye are their garments.
(…) And eat and drink,
Until the white thread
Of dawn appear to you
Dinstinct for its black thread,
Then complete your fast
Till the night appears;
But do not associate
With your wives
While ye are in retreat
In the mosques. Those are
Limits (set by) Allah:
Approach not night thereto.
Thus doth Allah make clear
His signs to men: that
They may learn self-restraint.”
“They are your garments
And ye are their garments.”**
Men and women are each other’s garments; i.e. they are mutual support, mutual comfort, and mutual protection, fitting into each other as a garment fits the body. A garment also is both for show and concealment. The question of sex is always delicate to handle: here we are told that even in such matters a clear, open, and honest course is better than fraud or self-deception. The sex instinct is classed with eating and drinking, an animal things to be restrained, but not to be ashamed of. The three things are prohibited during the fast by day, but permitted after the fast is broken at night till the next fast commences.**
’tis during the Holy Month of Ramadan that the Qu-ran Al Karim was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad - Peace and Prayers Be Upon Him, on Jabal an-Nour (Arabic: جَبَل ٱلنُّوْر, 'Mountain of the Light' or 'Hill of the Illumination), in the Hira cave (غَار حِرَاء), on the 27th Night known as Laylat Al Qadr, the Night of Qadr (of Power, of Decree, ofHonour, of Destiny … - depending on the interpretation).
Qadr in Arabic is rich in meaning and stems from the root q-d-r - to be able, to be capable of.
This is how the "moment" is revealed:
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
We have indeed revealed
In the Night of Power.
2. And what will explain
To thee what the Night
Of Power is?
3. The Night of Power
Is better than
A thousand Months.
4. Therein come
The angels and the Spirit
By Allah’s permission,
On every errand:
Until the rise of Morn!" **
To my understanding, this copy of the Holy Qu-ran is a special edition and I’m very grateful my eldest sister has shared it with me.
I am very proud of her. She knows the Holy Quran by heart! Yes.
Surah by surah, and verse by verse. Yes, I know. She’s got the memory!
This special edition has the Arabic text on the right, the interpretation in English, on the left, and related comments, in English, at the bottom of the surah.
Yes. I can read it in Arabic too. The English text, and especially the commentaries have enabled me to understand far better the revealed word.
Mariam asked Fares of the Dunes: “How is the Holy Month of the Ramadan going for you?”
Fares of the Dunes: “Above all, I praise my dialogue with God… It’s beyond words.”
The gentleman is from another sphere,
Keynotes of his vibrant heart I hear…
Fares of the Dunes told Mariam:
“It seems that after so many years abroad you are clinging to the Arabic tradition.”
“Am I? Or is it mon être, the essence of my being…? I was borne in Damascus, after all. The 9 years of my magical childhood in Damascus are encoded in my blood.
Or is it my belonging to a family with a history of hundreds, and hundreds of years in the very neighbourhood next to ancient citadel of Damascus ?
For sure, the atmosphere of the Holy Ramadan, here, is not as it was in Damascus. I miss the intonation of the azan - the call to prayer.
Mariam writes to Fares of her childhood on his wall:
“Fares! Do you remember the na3em we’d buy during Ramadan? I miss it so. It seems ages ago… In the once upon a time of Damascus.”
STAY SAFE, STAY BLESSED
**Reference of the excerpts and the above annotation as its edition reads: By The Grace of Allah, This Printing of This Holy Qu-ran: English Translation of “The Meanings and Commentary” is Completed at: The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Complex For The Printing of The Holy Qur-an, Al Madinah Al-Munawarah under The Auspices of The Ministry of Hajj and Endowments.
Photos: Dates & The Umayyad Mosque - Damascus via Pinterest