Common Word, Common Lord

Common Word, Common Lord

So Glad I Did It

In the Name of GOD, the Compassionate, the Merciful

It has only been a few days, but it almost seems that Ramadan is a distant memory. Now, I am eating and drinking during the day, and although it still feels a little weird, it is a most welcome change. Indeed, I am trying to keep up  the good habits I learned during Ramadan, and I am trying to keep it’s spirit alive for as long as possible. Yet, when I reflect over the past month of fasting during the very hot days of August, I can only smile with happiness.

I am so very glad I did it.

It feels so great to have been able to fast during the month of Ramadan this year. There is a tremendous sense of accomplishment, perhaps because of the fact that the days were long and frequently hot. Yet, on a more important level, I am so glad that I was able to suck it up and fast despite my tremendous fear as the month started. I am so glad that I overcame my weakness and stuck it out for God.

More than any other ritual practice of Islam, fasting is the one ritual that God says is for Him. According to the Sacred Tradition, God said: “Fasting is for Me, and I give the reward for it.” That is because, more than any other ritual practice, you can’t fake fasting. When you are alone – and it is hot, and you are very, very thirsty – you simply cannot keep fasting if you are doing it for show.

But, if you are doing it for God, as an act of love in return for His tremendous love for you, then despite all the thirst and hunger in the world (assuming you don’t get sick), you simply will not break down and eat or drink. You will suck it up and stick it out. At least, I did so, even on days when I could not bear the hunger or thirst. And I am so happy that I did, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do so.

I hope and pray that the Lord will accept my fasts this year and every subsequent year until the day I die. Although I can’t predict the future, I do pledge that I will do my best to fast and fast faithfully each and every year, because I love God so very, very much.

And that is because He loved me first.

Eid Mubarak…Happy Eid

In the Name of GOD, the Compassionate, the Merciful

A happy and blessed Eid to each and every one of you. May the Beautiful LORD shower and cover you all with His Grace, His Love, His Blessing, and His Mercy.

Have a great, great day!

Last Day of Ramadan

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

It is amazing that it is finally here: the final day of the month of fasting. Indeed, it did seem to go by quickly, yet at the same time, however, the days of fasting seemed to never want to end. I am not going to put on a show for you: this year’s fast was quite difficult. The days were very long, and as they went along, I would seem to move in slow motion in the afternoon. I must admit that I am a bit excited to be able to eat and drink during the day once again.

Yet, I did my best. I tried to remain faithful to the fast as much as I could. And even when I did stupid things (like play golf in 98 degree heat) while fasting, never once did I even think about breaking my fast. I stuck with it as best I could because, for my entire life, the Precious Beloved stuck with me through thick and thin.

And so, as Muslims the world over are (or will be) celebrating the end of the month of fasting, I turn to the Precious Beloved in prayer:

Kind and Beautiful, Gracious and Merciful, Majestic and Mighty Precious Beloved LORD OUR GOD.
The end of the month of fasting has now come, and I turn to your Beautiful Face to ask Your pardon.

Forgive me, O LORD, for all the times I wished I was not fasting, because of the depth of thirst and pain of hunger.
Forgive me, O LORD, for all those times that I could not stand up in the night in prayer because of weakness, or fatigue, or laziness
Forgive me, O LORD, for all the times I did not fast completely as I should have fasted, even though You have given me so much
Forgive me, O LORD, for all the times when I did not fully live up to the standard by which You have asked me.

Precious Beloved LORD, I tried my best to be the best servant I can be, and I know I could have done better for Your sake, my Lord. And so I ask thee, my Beautiful Beloved Lord, to forgive me and accept me into Your Holy and Honorable Fold. I tried my best this year, O LORD, and so please accept me and my fast, my prayers, my charity, and my night vigils.

Beautiful Beloved LORD, I love you so very, very much because You have been so beautiful to me for my whole life. And because You, O Beautiful LORD, loved me first when I was nothing. LORD, thank you for every single thing in my life; LORD, thank you for Your Love; and LORD, thank you very, very much for the fast. Please make me a better person because of it.

Loving God the Most

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

One of the (very few) advantages of fasting a long (long, long) day is that there is ample time to read and reflect over Scripture. I mean, since there is really nothing else to do while waiting to eat, might as well read the Qur’an. Besides, this is one of the reasons to fast during Ramadan: to honor the revelation of the Qur’an, which occurred during this most holy of months.

One of the most significant verses, among the thousands, across which I came was this verse:

And yet there are people who choose to believe in beings that allegedly rival God,loving them as [only] God should be loved: whereas those who have attained to faith love God more than all else. If they who are bent on evildoing could but see – as see they will when they are made to suffer [on Resurrection Day] -that all might belongs to God alone, and that God is severe in [meting out] punishment! (2:165)

What I focused on the most in this verse is this phrase: “Whereas those who have attained to faith love God more than all else.” The Arabic can also read that the believers are “most intense in their love for God.” And the crux of the matter, when it comes to fasting, becomes clearly evident.

On the surface of it, fasting makes very little sense: going more than 15 hours without food or drink, not even water, during a long and hot summer day looks like torture. Yet, when I think about it a little more: it is a small thing to do compared to the enormous bounty which the Lord has bestowed upon us.

When we thirst throughout the day – and we think of the nice, cold drink that is waiting for us in the refrigerator – it is a reminder of the enormous bounty of having that drink be there. When we hunger throughout the day – and we think of the succulent meal that is waiting for us at sunset – it is a reminder of the tremendous blessing of having that meal be there. There are millions upon millions – all across our world – who are not so fortunate to have food and drink so readily accessible.

If we are healthy enough to fast, that is a blessing in and of itself. I once heard someone say that “health is a crown that someone wears, but it can only be seen by those who are ill.” We should never take our good health for granted, and one of the ways we can be grateful to the Lord, for bestowing upon us health, is to fast when we are asked to do so. Fasting also reminds us of the poor and less fortunate, and if we are blessed with wealth and means, then we should be grateful by helping those less fortunate than we are as best as we can.

All these bounties that the Lord has given us: food, drink, health, wealth, safety, security; all of these He gave to us when we have done nothing for God to deserve it. Yet, He gave it to us anyway because He loved us. His love for us preceded us, and His love for us continues to permeate every fabric of our lives and beings. Each day we breathe and bask in the light of the sun, we really bask in God’s love. The fact that He gave us life itself, without us giving him anything beforehand (and there is nothing we can give Him that He needs), is because of His tremendous and undying love for us.

Therefore, seeing and living all this love, we naturally love Him right back. And as the Qur’an states, that love is most intense for God, and we love God more than anything else. Thus, when He asks us to fast for one month out of the year, if we are able to do so, it is really a “no-brainer.” We do so because we love God so very much for all the things with which He has blessed us.

And that is what keeps me patient as my throat dries and my stomach pains in hunger as the day wears on. I remember all the love my Precious Beloved showered upon me, and I feel so much love for Him. And so I reinvigorate my resolve to keep fasting as faithfully as I can. That’s because I love God so much…because He loved me first.

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