September 30, 2008
The Night of Ei’id: Simple Reflections upon Ramadhan
Bismillahi walhamdulillahi walaa’illaha Illalahu Allahu Akbar,
Subhan’Allahi allee’ul Adheem, the Mubarak month of Ramadhan is officially over and gone upon the sun that has just set. What have I gained, what have I lost? As I have been contemplating this question in constant reflection over the last few days and hours of this Beloved month, every time I get to the latter part of it, what have I lost, I can’t help but fight back the waves of fear.
The Prophet (SAWS) is narrated to have said:
“Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)
Although, my Tawaqqul in Allah azawajaal is strong, I can’t help but question my own sincerity, my own purification and discipline that I had hoped to increase and heighten through a one month period of abstinence from petty, base Nafsal- worldly desires. Insha’Allah my sincerity was worthy enough, insha’Allah my fasting and prayers were accepted in form or another, and inshaa’Allah I gained, and I didn’t lose. I can only hope to balance fear and trust in the All-Mighty, the All-Merciful.
Having began this Ramadhan in the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, having had the blessing of being on Umrah for three weeks and experiencing the beginning of our most Beloved month there, I couldn‘t help but let my heart be torn to pieces as I pulled myself back to the U.S. My physical being might have been back on this soil, but I had long ago left my heart, my soul, my spirit back in the city of God and His Rasul (asalaatu wasalaam). So what was I doing here for the last two weeks of Ramadhan, that is exactly what I kept asking myself. It was just yesterday I was preparing to leave, going in a rush to return Home, my true Home, and yet once again, I end up back in this foreign, strange land. Having been born and raised here for a life of 21 years, I only amaze myself in the realization that I now feel nothing for it, see nothing of it after having tasted just slight drops of the two Tabarak cities.
Family and friends look on as I sit there present amongst them, but absent from everything else. My heart in deep longing, in strongest desire and yearning of my only abode on this beautiful earth, the heart of the physical realm, Makkahi Madani. Memories come to pass in wild commotions through my heart and mind, from the first day of Ramadhan in Madinah, breaking Iftar in the Beloved Masjidul Nabawi, to praying Tarawih behind the exalted, God-fearing Shuyukh who would break down into inconsolable sobs every few rakah having come upon some brilliant verses of Quran. Subhan’Allah… it isn’t easy being back, and it gets harder with every passing day as I feel the trip becoming more of the past and less of the present.
I can still see the swarms of white thobes and black abayas before my eyes, Hajji’s rushing from every single direction, everyone running with only one purpose, one direction, one Heart, all pointed in one Qiblah. Peering down from the hotel window onto the Haraam grounds, hours before Maghrib, the white marbles of the grounds are already completely covered with the whites and blacks of men, women and children taking their places upon the colorful mats that would soon hold the sweet dates, breads and yogurts of the long awaited Iftar. As I descend upon the scene, and take it in on ground level completely, it is like nothing I could’ve ever imagined, although I have been coming everyday, with each new Iftar its as if I’ve never experienced such a phenomenon before in my life. It isn’t easy remembering with each step I take that my Beloved salalaahuelaiyhe wasalaam could’ve taken a step upon that exact spot once upon a time, or that my eyes are looking upon the same mountains and hills that the Beloved, Exalted Sahabah radiyallahu anhum wa radu’An looked upon all those years ago. I continue to become overwhelmed, taken over, left standing in absolute wonder. WAllahi, it is like nothing I could’ve imagined. My heart is overtaken by utter joy, astonishing levels of love just looking out onto the immensity of my brothers and sisters of Islam, brothers with brothers sitting shoulder to shoulder, leg against leg, each having come from a different corner of the world, exchanging Salaams, blessings, duas, speaking in the language of the heart. I cannot hold the tears back any longer, I want to just sit and cry, to take in every moment with a long deep breath, I never thought I would experience HUMANITY on such a level. But before I know it, I am being led, taken by the hand by a guard of the Haraam, with a voice of nothing but compassion and love telling me to come sit, to come take my place, Iftar is approaching, Laa illaha Illala!! At this point the tears are free flowing, I feel like I’m standing on the surface of some other world, this is no longer the earth as I know it, for what else could such Love be, such compassion, such generosity, such Mercy that only falls from the ocean of the All-Merciful! The All-Merciful, the most-Merciful.
What would I do to take just one more breath, one more scent, one more sight of that world, of that realm that I cannot compare to anything else on this physical earth of ours. Ei’id has been announced for tomorrow, and I find myself sitting and weeping, my last iftar walhamdulillah is with my family back here at home, but I can only think back to my first Iftar in Madinah, sharing it with my beloved brothers and sisters of Islam, those nights of standing for Tarawih in the midst of the warm nightly winds of Makkah and Madinah, wanting the Salaatul Qiyaam to last all night, all month, just for forever, taking each moment as it came, and letting it seep and settle within the depths. Subhan’Allah, I find myself tonight wishing for nothing but to be back in Makkah, celebrating Ei’id upon the blazen white grounds of the Haram-I-Sharif, amongst the blessed black and white masses, in an environment pure of much, much worldly filth. If I began there, I would only wish to end there.
Alhamdulillahi Rabbul Alameen for such a chance, such a taste of something I surely did not deserve on my own accord but only could’ve afforded on account of the Mercy of the All-Forgiving, All-Encompassing, All-Merciful Rabb!
Thus, on an ending note, I would just like to add that throughout the whole of this Umrah, I kept all of you in my duaa and supplications, all of my brothers and sisters of SB MSA, all those who have come and gone, leaving the impression of their footsteps upon the heart of this place, as for all those who are to come, as well as all those abroad and beyond. May we increase in our efforts and strengthen our unity, most importantly may we be given the capacity to exemplify true humanity through the radiance of the only Light, of Islam. My continuous last dua, may each and every one of you be granted that ultimate Journey of a lifetime, very, very soon, inshaa‘Allah. Allahumma Ameen, ya Rabbul Alameen!