TTG Day 24 – Doing it to do it
I’ll be honest: I was going to write something deep and ruminatory earlier in the day–until I decided to lay down for 15 minutes which turned into an hour and a half. Then it was time to leave for Iftar at the home of friends. We are still heading home. I wanted to make sure to post in the name of commitment and accountability.
Just a note to give thanks for a wonderful night and the transcendence of love, the abundance of love!
Somewhere in these last nights of Ramadan lies the Night of Power, the night celebrating the first revelation to Muhammad (pbuh, saws). I will write about that on Tuesday inshallah.
Thanks for checking in on us. See you tomorrow.
Waz Day 25 – IOU
My weekend has been jam packed with a visit to a friend and her growing family and some downtime for myself and my partner. We have just returned and I am owning that I don’t have an actual entry for today.
I am grateful for community and understanding. And as I enter official PMS central, I will have to remind myself of all the lessons and reflections I’ve had thus far.
TTG Day 26 – The Night of Power
BEHOLD, from on high have We bestowed this [divine writ] on Night of Destiny.
And what could make thee conceive what it is, that Night of Destiny?
The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months:
in hosts descend in it the angels, bearing divine inspiration by their Sustainer’s leave; from all [evil] that may happen
does it make secure, until the rise of
(Sura Al-Qadr, Asad translation)
I am sitting on a bench here in Manhattan before going in to my dergah. After another unexpected flare up of an ongoing health issue I was overcome with sadness this morning and wanting to wallow. Wallowing would mean not making the trip to New York for tonight’s celebration on The Night of Power. And what a night it is! Some describe it a equal to a thousand months of prayer. It offers absolution for all that has come before. A few Ramadans ago, I’d been coming to dergah every night for a while and thought to give a particular night a miss. So powerful was the pull of the night that my Shayka came to me in a dream.
“you could miss this night,” she said, “but it is better for you to come.” Little did I know that it was the Night. I came and all of us there were transported deep into the realm of love.
What does it mean to have such an opportunity? The chance to offer our hearts in adoration, witnessed by angelic hosts for the equivalent of over 90 years of prayer! For me, Laylat-ul-Qadr is about exceeding myself. It’s about exceeding sadness, fatigue, and whatever else of the dunya that wants to keep me in the space of “It would be nice but…” Shayka didn’t come to me in a dream this time but Allah encouraged me and made it possible to be here on this bench, waiting for sunset through the care of F.
What would/does it take for you to exceed yourself for the sake of love?
O Allah, help is to remember You in all things, in all experiences and to exceed ourselves in adoration of You! Amin.
Waz Day 27 – Peace of My Heart
On my walk home today there was thunder rumbling, warning of more rain to come today. The interim humidity leaving me feeling super oily. In the distance there was a foggy/hazy smoke from a car fire a couple blocks away, causing traffic and loud honking cars. My lower back was throbbing from cramps and I was not only bloated but also cranky from a tedious day of moving my office and setting it up for a second time in two weeks. I even cancelled attending an iftaar at NYU with a friend… needless to say, today was not a good day.
On these days, I remind myself of:
When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up.
– Prophet SAW
But how? Oh Allah! Oh As Salaam! The source of our peace – please tell me where to look for peace inside of me? What is it that I need to give up? I am so intertwined with things in my life as if there is no alternative reality, I feel like I can’t see another option.
Al Habir! The All Aware!
Is my unrest more than just a hormonal imbalance/peaks? I haven’t fasted the last couple of days and beyond the not fasting, I have not prayed or zikr-ed… I ask myself if Allah has removed the tranquility from my heart because I have not been a good Muslim. I haven’t held Allah in the bright light that my deen asks me to and in turn, did Allah turn my inner light to dim? Al Nur, please light my path.
Al Sabur! Patient one – I ask for your patience in my struggles, in my trials. I beg of you to outlast, outstand my humanity. Oh Allah, I ask for you to instill patience within me and all who have to encounter me on the lowest of the low days.
Oh Allah, Al-Wali, I give you not just a piece of my heart, but I make every effort to relinquish all the pieces of my heart.
TTG Day 28 – Gratitude
It has been a challenge to keep up writing entries these last ten days. Since I am off my fast, these last ten days do not physically feel like culmination. Laylatul Qadr was…powerful. We dhikred with our whole beings and I prayed for what I wanted with my whole heart. Within minutes prayers were answered.
In these last few days, when the pull of re-engaging with the dunya (world) is strong I think of my Shayka’s directive to retreat as much as possible. What does retreat in the ocean of love and adoration look like?
Yesterday I was reminded of one of the most powerful illusions we allow ourselves to live in–the subtle ingratitude and forgetfulness of thinking we have “arrived”, of thinking these days of striving for Allah’s pleasure mean we deserve…anything. Like a child waiting for that piece of candy after doing a bit of homework for the night. The truth is not even a vast sea of constant acts of devotion equals deserving. Our reward for our intentions, for our striving is not a discernible prize. Our being, our creation, creation–one another, all the pieces big and small, are Allah’s gift to is each moment.
So, Eid is coming and we will celebrate but let us remember that we are celebrating a moment. The question to hold in our hearts, no the intention, is KEEP being with Allah, the permanent retreat of the heart is Allah. “Hold the world in your hand, and be with Allah in your heart,” someone said. Ya Allah help us to remember you in all moments! Increase us in gratitude and awareness Ya Shakur, Ya Khabir!
Some years ago my friend Felicia introduced me to Gratitide bowls. She filled a bowl with one hundred small stones and each evening she would transfer them to an empty bowl. For each stone she moved from one bowl to the other she gave thanks for something.
“I am grateful for my hair!”
“thank you for my legs”
“I am grateful for that delicious ice cream, yum!”
“I am grateful for my friend Sam”
And on she would go, 100 gratitudes a day. Wow. What 100 things am I grateful for today? What do I have to get present to and notice in my heart and being to be fully sincere in my gratitude, to sidestep perfunctory gratitude?
Inshallah I will share my 100 Ramadan 2012 gratitudes in my final Ramadan post on Saturday.