Day 18 – July 26, 2013
Prayer from Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family) for the 18th day of Ramadan:
O Allah keep me awake, in this month, to find and get the blessings of its mornings; enlighten my heart with the rays of its bright light; let me (all parts of my body) yield to follow its traditions, in the name of Thy Light, O the Light of the hearts and minds of those who know.
Day 19 – July 27, 2013
From Imam Zayn al-Abidin (AS):
It is Thou who hast opened for Thy servants a door
to Thy pardon, which Thou hast named ‘repentance’.
Thou hast placed upon that door a pointer from Thy revelation,
lest they stray from it: Thou hast said (blessed is Thy Name),
“[O you who have faith!]
Repent to Allah with sincere repentance!
Maybe your Lord
will absolve you of your misdeeds
and admit you into gardens
with streams running in them,
on the day
when Allah will not let the Prophet down
and the faithful who are with him.
Their light will move swiftly before them
and on their right.
They will say, ‘Our Lord!
Perfect our light for us, and forgive us!
Indeed You have power over all things.’” (66:8).
What is the excuse of him who remains heedless of entering that house
after the opening of the door and the setting up of the pointer?
Day 20 – July 28, 2013
Prayer from Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family):
O Allâh, place light in my heart, light in my tongue, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light behind me, light in front of me, light on my right, light on my left, light above me and light below me; place light in my sinew, in my flesh, in my blood, in my hair and in my skin; place light in my soul and make light abundant for me; make me light and grant me light.
Day 21 – July 29, 2013
Certainly We have created man
and We know to what his soul tempts him,
and We are nearer to him
than his jugular vein. (50:16, tr. Quli Qarai)
Day 22 – July 30, 2013
The night of this day begins the 23rd night, or Laylat ul-Qadr. I love this night, as we believe it’s the night the first revelation of the Qur’an was given to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family). We spend the night in prayer and reflection. After 22 days of fasting, staying up all night in silent and vocal dhikr opens your mind to new ways of feeling and thinking.
We begin our prayers with the Fatiha. It seems appropriate. It does mean “Opening.” What exactly are we opening? Just our prayers? Fatiha is the longest continuous prayer in the Qur’an, so what is it we are praying for? Particularly on this night, a night which is better than a thousand months; a most blessed month. And who are we to ask anything from God, the Omnipotent; God will give and take as God pleases. There is a certain hubris in assuming we can speak to God. We are, after all, God’s bande, God’s servants.
We call prayer ibadat, which is related to abd, or to be a servant of God. In Persian, the word bandagi would be similar to ibadat. It’s a reminder that what we should be doing should be for God, not for ourselves, or for the dunya. Although, ideally, as we serve God, we improve the dunya and the lives of those around us.
We are also reminded of our place in the world. No matter what we achieve, there is always something greater. Allahu Akbar. God is greater. Greater than anything we can conceive of or accomplish on our own. We will always have more to strive for. More good; more compassion; more service; more. But that more is not money, or fame, or any type of worldly success. To aim for that would confuse the ends with the means. The money, fame, material success are simply tools to achieve the vision of good that God commands of us.
When we pray, we remember that we are not the purpose of creation. When all else perishes, the Face of God will remain. When we pray, we remind ourselves of our relationship with God. And we realize that when we focus on ourselves, we do not do all that we could. We do not become the full person we could be. It is in subjugating ourselves to God that we start to realize our true potential.