On the blessed occassion of this blessed month, I would like to share a story with u written by my freind Nada who would like to dedicate it to all belivers. I pray that this blessed month brings us many many blessings and successes and is a training ground for the coming months inshaAllah.
My Silent Guest
As the soft rainbow of pink, red and burnt orange streaks painted the clear blue sky, and the stealth of the sunset crept in, there was a sudden shift in the air. Sheets and sheets of calmness descended on the many houses preparing for the congregational magrib prayers. With the descent of the blanket of calmness, I heard a soft, tranquil knock on the door of my heart. My heart skipped a beat, my stomach somersaulted, and the blood rushed, pumping renewed energy through my veins. Here was my guest that I had been waiting for. A quick mental calculation reminded me of the year I spent preparing for the arrival of this guest of mine.
Rushing to the door with a smile stretched across my face, my eyes sparkling in anticipation, I opened the door and saw the healthy glow on my guest’s face, no traces of travel, exhaustion, or weariness to mark its beauty. Bearing countless gifts, the warmest glow of tranquility burning in those silent intense eyes, it floated in with the sweet, warm fragrance of musk, and a sure promise to stay for a month.
This year I had intended that my guest’s usual stay would be very different to those before, where it usually came as a stranger and departed as a stranger. I was determined that it would not leave a stranger this time. I wanted to know it inside-out, familiarizing myself with all its hues, something like knowing every scar on the back of my hands, like every familiar whiff of the sweet fragrance of a baby’s toothless mouth that you can never get enough of. I wanted it to return the next year in anticipation to meet me again as much as I waited its arrival.
As each day passed of the month of its stay, I found my guest was changing every fiber of my being. We spent every moment of the day together. We woke up together, ate together, prayed together, recited Qur’an together, studied together, prayed congregational prayers together, traveled together, practically did everything together. It taught me so many new things. It was silently guiding me, leading me, directing me, gently caressing me with its mercy, cleansing my heart, removing layer after layer of the dust and grime that over the years had accumulated on my skin, hair, face, mind, heart, soul, bringing forth a renewed sheen that I hadn’t seen in as far back as those innocent days of childhood bliss. I looked at my guest lovingly with the sweetest and gentlest smile on my face, love shining through the windows of my soul, letting the aura of tranquility emanating from it flutter into my quivering heart, its soothing touch blanketing each new found layer it uncovered. I let myself go willingly towards it, moving like a parched soul, yearning for more and more of its company.
How generous was my guest, it never asked anything in return, it just kept giving me and giving me and giving me. It asked me what I wanted the first night it arrived. I asked it for tranquility, I asked it for mercy, I asked it for blessing, I asked it for success, I kept asking and asking, and never did it say no.
Soon it was time for it to leave, 20 days had passed, and only ten remained. How had time passed me by so quick like the wink of an eye? I began to weep, tears of desolation rolled down the curve of my cheeks, wrenched from deep within my soul. I did not want it to leave and I told it so. It told me that I had ten days left where each day would be better than the previous 20 days. Then it told me, within those ten days and nights, I would find a night that is better than 1000 months, where droves of angels would descend with the Archangel Gabriel, and in it I would find a sense of peace I have never experienced before. It was the night of power. Fervorently, I stood tirelessly night after night searching for this elusive night of power. Thoughts raced through my mind. Was it the previous night? Or will it be this night? With renewed determination and zeal I looked for the night of power in each night. I asked my beloved Allah for everything my mind could think of. Where was the list that I had prepared? Hunting through the recesses of my mind, I pulled out a dusty list of things to ask for, that somehow I had pushed back into the invisible files of my memory. I looked at the list with my renewed vision, underlining every word and highlighting it with the ink of my inner eye. Yes! There were my goals that somehow in the race of modern life, I had forgotten. With each goal now ingrained in my visual memory, I prayed to my beloved Allah to help me actualize each one this year, or to take me a step closer to accomplishing each goal. Hadn’t I heard Ustaz Amr Khaled say time and time again in his new series, “Sunaa Al-Hayaat” that if you keep a goal in your mind and worked for it, Allah has to make that goal come true?! Meticulously, I wrote down each goal and the steps that would lead me to accomplishing each one as my beloved Allah willed. Each goal had to have sub-goals, and a number of micro-goals to ensure its success. Granted that it might not work exactly as I planned it, but I was sure that I needed to do this to keep myself focused and directed towards Allah’s wide straight path.
Then, like a sudden bolt of lightening that hits with no prior warning, the final sunset came for my guest to leave and I wept again, the hardest I have ever wept. Just as it had done the first night, when it drifted in, it enveloped me once again in its warm embrace and sucked away my pain, my heartache, my despair, and said to me, “I leave you tonight but tomorrow you must celebrate, thanking Allah for letting me come to visit you for this whole month. You must praise Allah for if it hadn’t been for His mercy, guidance, and Will, you would not have seen me this month. You must praise Him for all the changes He allowed me to bring to your life and be extra cautious in retaining each change in the rest of the months to come. Like an athlete who trains and prepares himself in high altitude to arm him with the ability to perform under intense pressure of a competitive environment, I have been here to train you this month to sustain you for the coming months. I won’t be here to remind you, you have to do it yourself. Always remember that Allah is just a prayer away. He is closer to you than your jugular vein”.
With these remarkably powerful words, my guest, Ramadan, drifted away into the silent night, its silent footsteps echoing in the silence of the hollow of my heart it had occupied the past month. I wondered how many of my friends and family members had felt the loss of its departure. Determined to keep its memory alive in every leaf of my life, I performed my ablution, focusing on doing it as meticulously as the Prophet (p.b.u.h) did it, hope burning in my heart that Allah would bless me with Jannat-ul-Firdous al-3ala, fantasizing the seating with the Prophet (p.b.u.h) and his companions in Paradise, breaking our fast with our beloved guest Ramadan…