Ramadan: The Alignment of the Universe and Our Souls25 Apr 2020
When studying world religions, one of the unique elements of Islam that has always struck me is its relationship with time, and more specifically the yearly lunar calendar. The Islamic calendar is deliberately encrypted in order to entail periods of heightened spiritual pivot and retreat, in order to realign to the central foci of one’s purpose: knowing God to worship Him, and by doing so, taking pleasure in His submission in order to realign to His peace. Be it through the months of fasting, mourning or pilgrimage – God has made it known and ordained for certain periods of time to be exclusive for His lovers and Himself.
The phenomena of centuries worth of people willingly altering their routines, shifting their priorities, and placing themselves in positions of material sacrifice in order to reach spiritual heights in these times are testimony of the order and promises of God that govern us. As the Grand Host lays out banquets of free blessings for you and I to help ourselves to, one thing is clear: this is His personal invite to return to Him.
What makes this so significant on a contrasting usual basis, is that Islam never advocates for the monastic removal of an individual from worldly life – it is reiterated time and time again, that the true Muslim is the one who submits to a moral compass, whilst going about the normalities of daily life – worship, work, family, play. Yet, the point of utmost importance here is that one’s spiritual existence supersedes and penetrates our material ones: neither work, family, play are the sole purpose of our existence.
Therefore, Ramadhan also occurs in lieu with our daily routines. The divine laws, which govern the universe, also govern our souls, and therefore the journey to our perfection is found in implementing a streamlined, spiritually conscious and awakened way of life in line with the divine order. Thus, Ramadhan is like a full moon that resplendently emerges and manifests the full mercy of God, which may otherwise feel more discrete to us in the nights of our diversion all year around.
In declaring the entire Month of Ramadhan as a halt to usual life, Islam testifies that time as a concept is far more than the ticking of a material clock. When time stops for the purpose of holy months, the holy pilgrimage, and key dates become the opportunity for our reconnection and salvation – the insinuation is that our worldly moments are inextricably linked to the divine order. It emphasises the notion that the motions of the universe are governed by the divine. The simultaneous existence of invisible beings who all testify to the greatness of this month; the angels, jinns, and the blessed ‘Spirit’ referred to on the night of Qadr, all play into this humbling realisation: the human being, our concept of life and time, are always in simultaneous motion to the world of divine realities. Though the realm of timelessness is unseen, it governs the material life that we see, and the material life is but a glimpse of an illusion into that world of realities.
After all, “We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth” [Fussilat 41:53]” The holy and blessed month of Ramadhan is the unification of the divine timing of the universe, coupled with the alignment of the universe within our souls. As these two universes align towards Oneness, the serenity felt is undeniable. There is utmost mercy felt as collective, global communities realign in unison to the purpose of their existence, as fasting becomes the divine testimony of submission to the love of His praise.
The Prophet (S) said,
“Lord! Lead me to a deed whereby I seek nearness to You.”
The Almighty said,
“Make your night a day and your day a night.”
The Prophet (S) said,
“How so, Lord?”
The Almighty said,
“Turn your sleep into prayer and your food into hunger.”
And like anything material, time is of no essence in itself – but when time is utilised as a mechanism to catalyse towards our eternal lives, it is essential. Therefore, the month of Ramadhan exists as a window of opportunity to provide us with ample moments to swiftly excel, by grasping hold of the divine rope of mercy in a time when God has ordained an entire month of this earthly existence to only be His. It’s the chance to use time to purify, so when our souls return to Him, they do so in a state that utilised routines to encircle Him, as opposed to lives which encircled only the world. Were it not for the stopping of time, prolonged nights and the order of hunger in the day, many of us perhaps would never taste the light of faith which takes root in the heart only when we extract from ourselves the love of this world, in order to reconnect to the love of God
Hence, whilst time was created as an opportunity to do good – the believer supersedes the constraints of time to reconnect to their beloved. The believer no longer lives only to witness the mundane occurrences of daily habitual or sensual experiences in a timely routine – rather the priority of their time is Him; to use that time to strengthen the vision of the heart and the life of the soul.
Fasting disempowers our material attachments, and in doing so, strengthens our immaterial bonds to the realities of this divine timing. The realities which govern the night of power and destiny – the same night in which the Qur’an which contains the complete secrets of the universe and the souls, was revealed.
This is a magical time to be alive – truly, the best time of our lives in terms of opportunity. May we welcome the holy month with full hearts. May we seize its days, and seize its nights. May we make peace with this most blessed Divine timing, whilst striving for the alignment of our souls. May we utilise this time as the mechanism and means to reach the goodness of eternal life.
For Shahr Ramadhan is the gift that never stops giving: with a single night worth a thousand months.
“By Time, Indeed mankind is in loss. Except for those who have believed, and done righteous deeds, and advised each other to truth, and to patience.”– Surah Asr