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City of Brass

City of Brass

Ramadan Pearls 09 – lend

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lend unto God. Give a loan of the leafage of this body,
That in exchange a garden may grow in your heart.
Give a loan, diminish the body’s food,
that you may see that which the eye has not seen.
When the body becomes empty,
God fills it with musk and glorious pearls.

(Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi)

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Ramadan Pearls 08 – veils

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

All desires, affections, loves and fondness people have of all sorts of things, such as fathers, mothers, friends, the heavens and the earth, gardens, pavilions, works, knowledge, food and drink – one should realize that every desire is a desire for food, and such things are “veils”. When one passes beyond this world and sees that King without these “veils”, then one will realize that all those things were “veils” and “coverings” and that what they were seeking was in reality that one thing. All problems will then be solved. All heart’s questions and difficulties will be answered, and everything will become clear.

(Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi)

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Ramadan Pearls 07 – reed

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and the belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out
of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you’re full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring. Don’t give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you’ve lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus’ table.
Expect to see it when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth
of cabbages.

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(Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi)

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Layatul Qadr 1436H – ibadat as jihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what will explain to thee what the night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand of Peace. This until the rise of morn!

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In just five brief verses, the Qur’an reveals the purpose of the Night of Power – an amplification of our ibadat at the very summit of Ramadan. We submit to its power as we stay awake all night in prayer – every act magnified a thousandfold.

Different schools of thought in Islam disagree on when Laylatul Qadr occurs, but all agree that this is the marathon for which the rest of Ramadan prepared us – not physically, but spiritually and mentally. On this night, we are surrounded by Allah’s angels on their errands of peace. And we strive to join them – asymptotically, towards an ideal of perfection we as mortal humans cannot ever truly attain, but towards which we can always move. Ramadan is the month of Jihad, and Laylatul Qadr is the pinnacle and epitome of our jihad.

I never achieve what I hope to achieve, but I do achieve something. And that is the entire point.

Laylatul Qadr mubarak!

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