Ramadan is quickly coming to a close. As I write, the 28th day is starting to wane. I always feel melancholy as Ramadan prepares to leave us. The abstaining from food and drink is not always so pleasant, but we learn to patiently deal with it as we move through the month. The pangs of hunger, continuously reminding us of the state we are in, become dull and we don’t notice them so much by month’s end. We start to turn inward and work on our spiritual-selves. We pray more. We read the Qur’an more. We reflect on our shortcomings and work on becoming better humans. We seek forgiveness from our Lord. We give charity to those who are less fortunate. We feed people. The community comes together each night. Camaraderie builds. Old friends become new again. The relationship with our Creator becomes stronger. We become more grateful for what we have. By month’s end, the heart is overflowing with love, compassion, gratitude and hope.
So, it is only natural that one would feel sad to see all of this vanish with the close of the month.
The month of Ramadan also brings with it some amazing opportunities for what is to come once we leave this world. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) stated that the beginning of Ramadan is Mercy, the middle of Ramadan is Forgiveness and the end of Ramadan is Freedom from the Hell-Fire. Likewise He (peace be upon him) stated Woe to those who fast Ramadan and are not emancipated from the Fire. This brings on a great urgency as Ramadan closes with increased worship in the hopes of finding that freedom.
This year, 2016, we find ourselves planning to search for the new moon of the month of Shawwal, marking the end of Ramadan, on July 4th! Here in the United States of America, of course July 4th is Independence Day, the day the founders of this great country liberated themselves from the tyranny of King George III of England in 1776. From the location where I normally sight the new crescent moons, I can see nearly the entire San Francisco Bay Area. It will be interesting to see all the firework displays from there all happening at the same time, at a great distance however, but nonetheless that will be a lot of fireworks!
It struck me odd this year that we are ending the month of Ramadan with increased effort to find freedom from the Fire, and we will be closing out the month celebrating freedom with fire. I’m sure there is something deep to think about there but I have some more spiritual work to tend to.
So to all my readers, a pre-Eid Mubarak and have a safe and happy 4th of July!
Until next time, Peace.
P.S. Please remember to go out and search for the new crescent on July 4th. I’ll be at Russian Ridge, my usual place, if anyone is interested in joining me.