This was the moon early this morning as dawn was breaking. Still waning in its last few days of its continual cycle before it vanishes for its monthly interlude as it meets up with the sun. Some time mid-late next week it will reappear in the sky invigorated to start waxing once more.
I don’t pay much attention to the waning crescent in other months and rarely do I photograph it. Not because I can’t but usually because it does not hold much significance to me. Ramadan on the other hand is all together different. Ramadan has a special place in my heart, as it does for most Muslims. Its a month of reflection, a month of exercising our will in abstinence, a month of foregoing the urges of our caprice, and a month of tightening our belts and getting busy in remembering our Creator. Its a month of becoming intimate with who we are and what we are capable of. Its a month of returning to the recognition of the relationship we have with the Lord of the heavens and Earth and all that is between those two. Its a month of recalling the word of God as revealed in the Qur’an and yearning to be better so that we can follow in the footsteps of the prophets and saints who proceeded us.
For Muslims, Ramadan is met with great anticipation as it approaches and is left with deep melancholy as it departs. Decades ago I wrote a short Ode to Ramadan titled “The Guest”. I sent it out in those early days of the internet in an email message to my close friends on an email board through which we communicated. Somehow it managed to escape that circle and make its way out into cyberspace in what we could call today going viral. Its still floating around out there, you just have to “google” that title along with my name and it will come up, if you are so inclined.
In it I referred to Ramadan as a guest that comes to us bringing blessings with it. It was written near the same time as I am writing today, near the end of Ramadan, in a reflective mood as to what we have earned during this month. I saw us as stationary and that Ramadan was coming and going. I bid it a farewell in that ode as it was leaving.
This morning a different thought occurred to me. As I said to myself, referring to Ramadan, “fare well my friend”, I became confused as to who the friend was. Did I mean Ramadan or did I mean my self as well as my other friends honoring Ramadan? My new perspective saw Ramadan being stationary and that we were the ones coming to visit it and then departing with the gifts it gave us. In fact, we are the ones that are moving through time. We tend to think of time passing by, but in reality, time is static and we move through it. I suppose it is all relative, just as if you are sitting in a moving car, is the car moving past the objects outside of it or are the objects moving past the car you are in? Its relative, and in a sense it does not matter.
However in the case of time, it is a created thing just like everything else. To the Creator, it is static and known because it has existed since Creation started. God knows everything at every moment because every moment in time is already there from its beginning to its end all laid out and God sees everything from what was, to what is and to what will be. Rather than time passing us by like water flowing past a rock in a river, we are like that car moving down the road. We encounter moments in a static time line much like a car encounters bumps in a static existing roadway. Our choices and decisions result in different turns we take along our journey to the end of time. When the end of time occurs is of course unknown to us, especially if we are driving along wearing blinders and refuse to look out the window for the warning signs along the road.
And so as we speed along in time we approach the end of Ramadan. If we feel that it has come to its end very quickly, maybe it was us who were moving to fast, that we did not slow down from our daily rigor and relish the month long portion of time we were moving through. Its kind of like when you encounter a designated “scenic highway”, its beautiful. If we don’t care we will just speed on by and never garner the gifts of that beauty. But if we slow down, and maybe even stop and get out of the car to breath if only for a moment, we come away with so much more.
So as we see the time-signs of the impending end of Ramadan, (hint: the waning crescent moon) rather than thinking about doubling our efforts to get as much out of Ramadan as we can, think, rather, that we should slow down our pace and possibly stop doing so much of our distracting activities. By doing so, we can relish and “see” the beauty that Ramadan is, treasure what it has to offer us and once we have gotten out of our time-travel machine, we might actually get to take a breath of Ramadan. Only then will we have garnered what is contained in Ramadan.
So, my friends, I say to all of you Fare Well on your journey through time. I hope you have stopped in Ramadan long enough to gather the provisions you need, for the next “time” you encounter Ramadan again, if at all, will be a long ways down the road.
Peace to you All.