I’m attuned to Ramadan – and the vast community which is marking the journey of the moon – by going toward this season’s blessings so apparent to me! I intend to fast from separation from myself, my community, and from the Spirit of Guidance. I do not participate in the food fast. The Quranic verse that I picked on day 1 was Q: 3:84, the one that mentions Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others, and says we make no distinctions between any of them. I thought I’d pick a verse every day, but I’m still on that one. I wrote it out in Arabic and went back and forth with my lexicon. My Arabic is very rudimentary, but I love how it feels to pass behind that language curtain. The visual beauty of the letters holds me every time. [See the line from the Verse of Light at the end of this article.]
I’ve always liked the universal implications of this “no distinctions” verse. Yesterday I was caught, netted by ’unzila ‘alayna from one of my favorite verbs NaZaLa. It us translated as “bestowed upon” but the root has a couple pages of definitions: descend, dismount, alight, go down, come down, dwell. Tanziil means revelation, a rain of blessing. The action seems to be coming from the outside. For me, the “God’s Throne” is inside, in my heart. So this is a curious transmission from the Infinite to finite understanding – all inside my Being, which is God’s Being. The translation goes: Say: we believe in God and what has been bestowed on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac and Jacob and their descendents… Moses, Jesus and the other prophets: we make no distinction between any of them. And unto God do we surrender ourselves. <> <> <>
Michael Sells writes: “…Qur’anic Suras are at their most compelling when the exact relationship of one statement to another hangs in a balance, and instead of freezing into some clearly definable meaning, continues to resonate and pose questions that only a lifetime of searching can answer.”* *note: Approaching the Qur’an, by Michael Sells p. 27.
Part of this month of mornings for me is a piece from Kazim Ali’s new book of journal entries, Fasting for Ramadan Tupelo Press. He is a favorite poet who has a chapter of his own sparkling reflections from each day of Ramadan. Here’s one I like:
Sixth Day: “…I love as well the cold needling rain of spring and the autumn drizzle so thick you can’t feel it but arrive home thoroughly soaked.
The soaking, I think to be covered, suffused, bathed, owned, by something you didn’t even know was around you.
I love the mysteries and the inexplainables. The Kaaba –– black house of God, called the Near Mosque, circumambulated by millions, determining the direction of Muslim prayers, the cube at the heart of the Masjid-e-Haram –– is empty inside.” <>
Best of all, this season –– I appreciate the “A-ha moments. May you enjoy many. Ramadan Karim!