We are enjoying the Holy month of Ramadan of 1432, or are we really? Using the word ‘enjoy’ I mean spiritually uphold and practice holy month. It is a moment to share a time for your spirit to mature and to listen to the beats of your heart. What does your heart accompany while it is beating? Does it keep the time with the noise around your physical surrounding or the music in the nature singing the union of the existence which indicates the Compassionate Creator’s undeniable presence?
In the country that I live the month of Ramadan has been recently identified with the word ‘festival’. Recreations, fairs, ‘Sufi musical’ concerts, iftar banquets full of lots of kind of luxury meals, religious lectures (reprimands) with high-tone voice from angry sheiks, traditional Ramadan polemics which serve for ordinary believer just not to take pleasure from his worship, and noise, noise a lot of noise… All of them serve to suppress the screams increasing from the depth of the hearts… And the spirit of the Ramadan does not come around us among whole this clamorous atmosphere.
Last night, I could not help but thinking that we are being forced into discipline and put our spiritual life and affairs in order by ‘a secret hand’ through the admonitions that we and our Muslim brethren around the world had been receiving for a long time. And perhaps we are responsible, according to ‘the eternal destiny plan’, for all evils in our lands. We are scolded because we are escaping from ourselves. The moment when find ourselves we will find the Creator and the real cause of causes.
The reason why I was caught up in the middle of these thoughts was the picture of a five-year-old Palestinian child’s severed body that I saw on the internet last night. Consequent to the last attack on Gaza by Israel nearly ten people were killed. The rigid crackdown on the protestors by brutal Assad regime in Syria has cost lives of thousands of people and the death toll is rising up. The sectarian-centred aspirations of Iran in the region have no a little bit of mercy against any civilian. The turmoil of so called Arab Spring has not left any piece of hope in the hearts of people. The daily news reports of blasts from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan have darkened the days of Ramadan. The drought and famine in the West Africa and witnessing little children starving to death have shocked us in our luxury iftar banquets and put us into shame of being human. And an undeclared civil war which had been going on for thirty years that cost forty thousand people’s lives in Turkey culminated fiercely in the Ramadan.
What is happening for Allah’s sake? Allah (SWT) who is the most merciful and most compassionate does not crush, oppress, victimize or act unfairly to his servants and any being. The time of troubles and calamities is the time of prayer and worship. All these evils that have befallen us should direct us into more repentance and prayer.
The month of Ramadan should not be a month of parades or noisy celebrations but a moment to be with your-self and with Allah (SWT). Islam is not just a compilation of ideas and teachings that we need to convey into the other people without being touched by them. That is a religion that first of all needs to discipline our souls. Evaluating the dire situation that we are in, the focal point should be our souls and deeds. I have to ask myself; ‘what wrong did I do so that this child deserved of starving to death. We need to change what the Westerners call ‘self-criticism’ into interrogation of our souls: Al tazkiyat’ul nafs.