Spirituality In The Holy Month Of Ramadan
This article covers spirituality in the Holy Month of Ramadan.
The Month Overflowing With Mercy
There is no month but Ramadan that can sail by with relentless joy, everlasting pleasure and never fading love. Presenting the spirit, essence, and true meaning of all the gentle seasons that have passed through the entire year, the days and nights of Ramadan, every single moment, embrace hearts within their exclusive bliss and charm in the most remarkable and pleasant fashion; Ramadan embraces them with compassion and holds them in the warmest love, exciting them with an enthusiasm for life.
In fact, the days of Ramadan are the center of attention, the sum of our spiritual joys, the stage for excitement, the helix of the divine light of progress and the sphere of opportunity and a prize that encourages the growth of all human characteristics all over the world; this is most especially so in Muslim countries and among Muslims.
Occurring in a totally unconventional manner during the night, and with a special brightness during the day, the days of Ramadan pass, communicating a special aura to the hearts, reuniting those parts of society that have fallen out of touch with one another; opening the way for all those in solitude to congregate, eliminating their severance from society. It is a banquet of emotions and ideas for everyone in varying dimensions, and reminds us all, one more time, about life.
Ramadan, above all, is the month of the Qur’an; in this regard even the ones who have distanced themselves from the Qur’an throughout the year, those who are parched with a burning thirst, find themselves in this light, in this radiating ambience. These days replenish the valleys of the psyches which have almost dried out with the spirit, meaning and mystery that the Qur’an has showered on people distanced from the Qur’an; it converts the complete heart into a flower garden and elates these people with the joy of existence. They, on the other hand, sense and receive the entire cosmos by and through the Qur’an, developing wings with the emotions and thoughts that are communicated, appreciating that the whole creation process is manifested in the Qur’an, and are meek in astonishment and reverence. They sometimes breathe through their tears, unburden with their tears, having a sense that the veils that come between have been removed, feel that they are closer to God than even the closest ones, and find themselves almost in an abundance of joy.
As a matter of fact, the divine contents of the Qur’an can be totally penetrated solely by those who cannot only hear the sound of the entire cosmos, but who are also attuned to the melody of the human soul; a melody composed of fear and hope, worry and joy, dolor and cheer, all at the same time. The souls beyond time, those who can listen to the Qur’an as if it has been sent just for them, can experience the flavor of paradise’s fruits, the colors and beauty and the panoramic falls of the gardens and bays of Paradise, and become enthusiastic and energized. In the philosophy and life of these people, metaphysics completes physics; meaning becomes the true content and significance of the matter, and everything that has had its value concealed up to date becomes visible. Again, an imaginary mystery is sensed on the countenances of these people, as if a secret intuition and an extraordinary comprehension has been inspired by their receptiveness to the infinite sphere of the Divine Names and Attributes; a maturity, a satisfaction, a purity, a sincerity imbued by the piety of days fully engaged with the Qur’an; a delicacy, an attraction and a benevolence cherished by the golden enthusiasm of faith all pour in through these portals.
In no month other than the “Qur’an oriented” Ramadan are the nights and days differentiated by different illuminations; the nights are luminous, the days are enlightened.
Once again in Ramadan one can observe, perceive and discern the Qur’an and its celestial origin from beyond the heavens, with its aura of divine manifestations, and its significance that is scattered throughout the cosmos, with its love for God and the traces of it glowing so clearly on the countenances of the believers. Indeed during Ramadan, the originality of the Qur’an shines in every glowing face; in faces that have been shaped by the entire web of fate, in eyes that disseminate the inner profundity of the entire meaning. Male-female, old-young, rich-poor, learned-illiterate, almost all walks of life are affected by Ramadan during this blessed period of time, as far as the schemes of life are concerned, and they breathe the impressive demeanor that comes within Ramadan…
Again, within Ramadan, every single soul becomes purified from all his/her spiritual errors in an unprecedented dimension, and they reflect the light that comes from beyond the heavens; this is, of course, reflected in accordance with his/her aptitude and ability. As a result he/she gains a place in Paradise. This month grants such an abundance and prolificacy that almost everyone that shelters in its shadow can benefit from its wealth and riches and attain the spiritual sultanate; all believers who normally are differentiated from one another in many aspects become completely metamorphosized in its luminous climate; they are able to transform and reach somewhere that is blessed, in relation to their states.
The excellent and divine light of Ramadan – with the meaningful grandeur of the cosmos reflected in the eyes capable of receiving this light, and by shedding a prism on the servants of God – Ramadan is able to diffuse onto the people in different walks of life, to penetrate into their hearts in a profound manner with its unique taste, ambiance, spirit and significance, so that even the most obstinate ones will not be able to resist it and will surrender.
During the whole of Ramadan, the nights enfold everything in their mysteries; mysteries so intimate and amiable, the days which embrace one’s emotions and thoughts with an unaccustomed pleasure are so warm and soft, the faces in faith are so affectionate and informed, the sounds that summon one to God are so caring, and above all, the total meaning of these are so touching that the ones who can open their hearts to this month of mercy, even temporarily, welcome the happiness of heaven after they have unburdened themselves of their worries and sorrows, one by one.
A Heavenly Month
We, in Ramadan, can almost view the panorama from beyond this world and listen to the melody of Firdaws. An integrated faith of the religion of the hearts; in fact, a life led in belief, an appreciation of the divine meaning, blessed affection and spiritual gratification are also considered to be among the essential elements of this melody. Those who can color their lives with these components shall find themselves experiencing an abundance of delight and enthusiasm beyond which it is impossible to imagine. In other words, such blessings could be seen to be God’s rewards, granted in advance to those who are inclining towards Him with all their hearts, or a feeling of the nucleus of Paradise placed in the essence of faith. As for the genuine pleasure-without-sorrow and unending happiness, these do not belong to this mortal world; they will be offered as God’s holy gift to the souls who are able to reach the final stop with a heart assured of its fate, in another realm.
Conceiving the whole globe as a grand mosque, the Ka’ba as the mihrab (pulpit), the Prophet’s tomb (Al Rawdatu’l Mutahharah) as the minbar (altar), and all of those who pray as the congregation of this vast temple, every single soul can taste the joy of praying with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) standing in front of them.
Again during Ramadan, each action and behavior that is carried out at the times of sahur, iftar and tarawih (special meals and prayers) these periods considered to be the harbor and stairs used to approach and reach God – become so mysterious that the heavens and the lights of the realms beyond the heavens almost seem to be poured down on our heads, and they whisper to us magical poems alongside our praise and gratitude to God; as affectionate and warm as the lullabies composed in the very hearts of our mothers, and as profound and respectful as the glorification of angels..!
An exceptional mildness and warmth embraces our conscience as we comprehend Ramadan in its original profundity and become one with Ramadan in all ways of life… a sweet breeze of emotions blows here and there… and it, like a familiar breath, reveals numerous occasions of love and reunion!
Throughout Ramadan a sacred excitement, that never fully ceases, can be sensed in the air; every single moment – from the legendary fascination of the nights to the mysterious minutes before dawn, from the course of days blessed by Ramadan, to the colors of the Ramadan dawn with its heavenly inspiration; a different flood of emotions prevail every moment. The dawn, with its mysterious and confidential aura, points us to particular bays where our wishes and needs shall be met, and it whispers the paths that we should follow to reach there. Days come with a breeze – a breeze that is lively most of the time, lively, yet so benign, polyphonic and warmhearted at the same time – the days embrace us, making us perceive them through the delight that originates in our prayer and worship, that we practice at least five times a day. The days then leave, along with their divinely arrayed colors, pouring their final smiles down on us, with a promise that the episode not yet completed will be fulfilled. The evenings, on the other hand, loom on the horizon, always with the promise of a splendid feast; they make themselves felt through a series of bustling occasions that are related to the time, they appeal to both our bodies and souls; they surround us with the excitement of both iftar and tarawih, they hint to us that we are standing at the front door of a secret realm, they make our souls appreciate the bliss of living in a Muslim way, inspiring our hearts with their sparks of love and passion for holy reunion.
In the same way, the nights stand on the horizon enveloped in a mystery of silence; they whisper to us of a private meeting with the Absolute Beloved; they lead us to transcendental ways of life and present compositions of paradise’s melodies for those who are capable of hearing them. The nights keep on revealing things, no matter if we can comprehend them or not. Like circles joining one another, these mysterious utterances sometimes turn out to be such impressive orations that all, except the totally blind and deaf, hold their tongues and stand in astonishment while listening to these sermons that consist of neither letters nor words.
As our feelings and thoughts change and become more profound during Ramadan, Ramadan, too, puts forward extraordinary meanings and original ideas, these are parallel to our aspirations and dreams. They are directly proportioned to the profundity of our ideas; they create such an eloquent speech that these orations cannot be found in the works of the greatest speakers, writers, thinkers or philosophers. To penetrate into the subtlety of these profound and loaded utterances, however, the necessity to comprehend the very language of Islam becomes evident. If we can understand this language concisely, Ramadan – with its days and nights, with its fasting and tarawih – will permeate our hearts and our essence so effectively that we will never desire to leave such a world; a world woven with emotion, conscience and imagination.
Even if we were to be deprived, literally, of the luminous climate of such a Ramadan, we could picture the vicinities of the mosques with their gleaming lamps that in a way recall the heavens, the faces of Muslims, with their saint-like glow, that fill the mosques, their hearts resounding in sincerity, and their pulses beating with excitement. Imagining these people affected by Ramadan, their faces shaped by trust, the warmhearted glances that they freely throw on all, the smiles they shower on the way, their warm and open hearts, their feeling of benevolence and their Muslim demeanor we could share their perception and portray myself as a guest of their sahur or a participant at their iftar meal. We also could discern the intentions of these virtuous people – they are going to the mosques in great enthusiasm to worship, and they bend their bodies double in the psychology of service – and we could perceive that aura which has been completely blessed with all its riches.
Ramadan, with its own original tone, its light and mystery, makes all of us appreciate the spiritual riches hidden within ourselves, and feeds our starving hearts with heavenly gifts, gifts that stand open at all times, even to the darkest souls, and it continues to cool our souls through the heavenly breezes and removes all the hatred in our hearts with its blessed atmosphere. Even if those who are full of hatred, those who cannot stand the reality of Islam, who swear at the divine light, who set war on tolerance, love and dialogue remain unmoved.
We, as a matter of fact, contrive to grasp Ramadan with all our hearts and our essence; it then offers us love, interest and excitement in its most affectionate, sensitive and profound moments. That is, by granting us hope and ambition enough to satisfy our hearts, it makes all the sad faces smile.
Therefore, we would never wish for Ramadan to leave us, in spite of this, it goes. It leaves like a guest; it has arrived and spent a pleasant time with us, staying for a while. As with everything, it comes one by one, it goes on in the same way… and then the ’Eid comes to us as the royal heir of the full harvest of this magnificent month.
By M. Fethullah Gulen