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City of Brass

City of Brass

Ramadan Pearls 06 – expectant

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

When it comes to material food, if you eat too little, you will remain hungry like the crow and suffer ill-temper and anemia; if you eat your fill, your body will incur the penalty of indigestion.

Partake of God’s food, that easily digested nutriment, and ride like a ship on the spiritual ocean.

Be patient and persistent in fasting, be always expecting the Food of God.

For God, who acts with goodness and is long-suffering, bestows His gifts on those who are expectant.

The full-fed man doesn’t wait expectantly for bread, wondering whether his allowance will come soon or later;

but the foodless man is always asking, “where is it?” and expecting it hungrily and seeking and searching for it.

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Unless you are expectant, that bounty of manifold felicity will not come to you.

(Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi)

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Ramadan Pearls 05 – objective

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As for the men of knowledge of the hereafter, what they mean by the correctness of fasting is its acceptability; and the acceptability of the fast is whether or not it has enabled one to reach one’s objective. They understand the objective of fasting to be the taking on, as much as possible, of a character which contains one of the characteristics of Allah – the Self-Sustainer* – and which resembles the angels in their having no desires.

(Muhsin Fayd al-Kashani, from Leaves from a Sufi Journal)

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* Al-Qayyoum, one of the Names of Allah – see Qur’an 2:255, 3:2, 20:111

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The Fourth and the First

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This evening, just prior to sunrise, members of my mosque in Los Angeles gathered round to raise the flag of the United States of America. Due to fortuitous timing, just as the flag was unfurled, a squadron of planes flew overhead in formation, cast in rose hues from the setting sun.

30 minutes later, as night fell, I stood in prayer, near the open windows of the mosque, blessedly cool air finally washing over me as respite from the Valley heat. Children played outside the window, and fireworks blossomed overhead, beyond my line of sight but making their presence known from the sound of their thunder and the chatter of the kids.

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This is the convergence of freedom – the First Amendment, freedom to pray, freedom to believe and to speak; the Fourth of July, a celebration of our nation and pride. In my prayer I am literally living the dream that is America – here and only here am I free to practice my faith without fear or compromise.

1400 years ago, a Prophet was commanded to Recite. 200 years ago, a group of prophets of another sort made a Declaration. Across centuries, the traditions that I honor intertwine.

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Ramadan Pearls 04 – angels

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

He who has fasted for Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and is in the discomfort of heat and struck by thirst, will have his face wiped and be given the good news by a thousand angels whom Allah has entrusted to him until he breaks his fast; at that point Allah will say: “How sweet is your odor and your soul. Oh angels witness that I have forgiven him.”

(Imam Ja’far al Sadiq, as compiled in Leaves from a Sufi Journal)

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