Ramadan Diary 1434/2013 Week 3 (part 1)

One of the things Muslims do during Ramadan is try to read the entire Qur’an over the course of the month. Each night, we try to read a juz’, or section of the Qur’an. As I entered week 3 of Ramadan, I realized one of my consistently favorite verses of the Qur’an, the Light Verse, was going to be read. The verse always opens ways of thinking and being for me. There is something so powerful and visceral about the verse, while remaining ethereal and paradoxical. It is about a lamp, and the continued guidance given by God after the end of nabuwwah (prophethood) through Imamah (the Shi’i Imams). It also describes God as a light. The most basic thing that illuminates the world around us, that allows us to see, but that we cannot hold, or control. Oh, to be a candle lit from the lamp!

The verse reads:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The parable of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp —
the lamp is in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star—
lit from a blessed olive tree, neither eastern nor western, whose oil almost lights up, though fire should not touch it.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His Light whomever He wishes.
Allah draws parables for mankind, and Allah has knowledge of all things. (24:35, tr. Quli Qarai)

Mosque-lamp shaped vessel, Turkey, 16th c.

When I realized that verse was coming, I thought I needed reflection time to myself. To spend the time in Ramadan increasing my levels of compassion and empathy is one thing, but to affect change should be the goal. To do that, I need time to strengthen myself. So during week 3, I read prayers, and have included some in this piece. Many revolved around the idea of light, as I sought a direction. The next selections are my reflections on various aspects of faith that emerged during week 4. While I have split them into days, there is no sequence I recall coming into them with. The day splits are just for easy breaks in text.

Day 15 – July 23, 2013

Prayer given by the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family):

O Allah! O the One Who makes the light Radiant!
You radiated Yourself through Your Light.
O absolute Light! All lights are the result of the abundance of Your light.
O Allah! O the One Who controls all!
You are honored because of Your (Divine) honor.
O the One Who grants honor to the creation! All honors are due to Your honor.
O Allah! O the owner of limitless greatness! You are Great through Your own greatness.
O greater than all greats! All greatnesses are owing to Your greatness.
O Allah! O the One Who alone is worthy of worship!
O the Bestower! Only You have (truly) bestowed favors on the creation
O favorer Lord! All these favors are because of Your favor.
O Allah! O the owner of real greatness and grandeur!
Only You are the possessor of true greatness and all the greatnesses of the people of the world are, O the Great!, due to Your greatness.

Day 16 – July 24, 2013

From Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family) to his daughter, Bibi Fatima (AS):

In the name of Allah, the light,
in the name of Allah, the light, the light,
in the name of Allah, the light over light,
in the name of Allah, who is He who manages all affairs,
In the. name of Allah who created light from light.
Praise be to Allah who created light from light,
and sent down light on the mountain (Tur),
in between the inscribed book, in the parchment unrolled, by a
measure, well-determined, on the Prophet, the giver of glad tidings.
Praise be to Allah;
it is He who is remembered with the highest of the high attributes,
who is known to be the most glorious.
In joy and happiness, in sorrow and distress, He (alone) is thankfully praised.
Blessings of Allah be on our master, Muhammad, and on his pure children.

Day 17 – July 25, 2013

Prayer from Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family):

O Allah! Give my soul piety and my conscience purity. You are the Master of my soul and the Guardian of my conscience.
O Allah! I seek refuge in You from a knowledge that does not benefit, from a heart that does not tremble, from an ego that is not sated, and from a prayer that is not accepted.

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