The arrival of the holy month of Ramadan (fasting) was highly thought of by the Masjid Darussalam in Cavite City (May 2017) as they held an inspiring occasion entitled, “Istiqbal Ramadan.” (Welcome Fasting).
Modesty aside my hubby was one of the speakers in the said event. It was a nice afternoon as our hearts were inspired and enlightened by the value and the essence of Ramadan.
The speakers’ motivation and encouragement to engage with good faith in the coming days of purification had intensified our enthusiasm to experience another joy and another battle against the dominant self that perchance may increase our perception of reality in such moment.
But how do we welcome the holy days of Ramadan?
When we expect a visitor, of course we get busy preparing for his arrival. We clean the house, prepare the meals, clean up the guest room and look up to other things that would honor our guest.
In the same manner, when Ramadan approaches, we also need to clean the house of the spiritual self because we expect a special guest, so to speak, to knock on the blessed door of our hearts during this blessed month.
Of course, to clean the house of the inner self, we need repentance and prayers as our important tools. Perhaps no guest will be pleased or eager to move into a dirty house. As we all know angels love purity and cleanliness. In the same fashion, if our dwelling places are not clean no angels will be eager to knock on the door of our living quarters.
As Al-Bukhari advises: “The Angels of (Mercy) do not enter a house in which there are pictures (of animals).”
Somehow if we ponder his words of wisdom deeply, the “animals” are nothing but the impurities of our evil-whispering ego hanging on the wall of our being.
Now let us reflect on Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) calling and pray for strength and enthusiasm on the coming of this holy month:
“O ye people, the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching and Allah has ordained for you to fast in this month. In this month the gates of heaven will be opened and the gates of the hell will be closed and the devils will be chained. In this month is a night which is better than thousand months and a person who is deprived of the blessings of this month is truly a deprived person.”
Every year the Beloved gives us the opportunity to purify our hearts and awaken our slumbering souls through fasting. Imagine how fortunate we are, for in 365 days, there are only twenty nine days to undergo self-discipline which is abstinence from everything prohibited during this holy month while we bask in amusement and liberation for eleven months!
Hence, it is not just an ordinary event or episode in our life that we ignore or take for granted, for it takes another long period of waiting to enjoy holy days in another time. And we are unsure if we could embrace the luxury of time again to experience such a momentous event.
As Ramadan approaches, Shaban (the eighth month of the islamic calendar), which is considered as one of the meritorious months comes ahead. It is the month of asking Taubah (forgiveness) from the Most Forgiving One. Hence, we must cleanse our muddy selves of blemishes and impurities continuously.
During Shaban, there is a fervent prayer called Laylatul Baraat (the day of salvation) to be performed every fifteen of this revered month. As we commence to cleanse our impurities at the start of Shaban (or any time), we are ready to embrace the advent of the blessed month of abstinence.
We can also perform other prayers to welcome its arrival such as dhikr (meditation) for purification and other prayers and or fast for few days. To prepare for the physical nourishment during break is only a peripheral task during this holy month; what matters most is the spiritual undertaking while in the state of renunciation.
Although observing this coming holidays must not become a pressure for those who are not prepared or enthusiastic to wage war against the tyrannical self, for the All-Knower guides whom He wills.
As ardent lovers, we need to cry out for the guidance and inspiration of the Beloved to increase the pure love in our hearts.
Let us welcome the holy days of Ramadan with reverence, dynamism, and pleasure as we expect the coming of the “Real Visitor” whom we always call and yearn to be with.