Reflections

The Marriage Contract

January 21, 2017

You should include the right to divorce in your contract, but I didn’t

Over three years ago I took a course on marriage with Umm Al Khayr, a Shaykha of mixed descent residing in Amman, Jordan. In that course, I learned a great deal about women’s rights in marriage, the marriage contract and advice on having a good marriage. I continued to learn a great deal from Umm Al Khayr when I was able to travel to the gatherings of Sheikh Nuh Ha Meem Keller and able to later reside in Jordan. Growing up I always had the idea of being a homemaker and the “backward” belief that a woman’s focus should be the home. Umm Al Khayr relieved me of feeling like an outlier in modern society by addressing marriage in it’s most basic format -men work outside the home, women work inside the home. One of the greatest things I remember her saying to me is that you can’t leave your obligations to help your husband with his. Housework isn’t a real obligation in the truest sense of the word (at least in Shafi’i fiqh) but it is the logical conclusion in a marriage where the man is the primary breadwinner.

Another thing Umm Al Khayr taught me is that women can get divorced in Islam. Of course, I knew of Muslim women who were divorced but it seemed to me that attempting to initiate divorce as a woman was a great difficulty from a legal perspective. Men could simply say “I divorce you” while women had to go through the court system and since there was no Islamic court system in the secular West, women were at the hands of their husbands or their Imams to release them from an unwanted marriage which could sometimes prove impossible. I remember sitting in front of Umm Al Khayr in one of those gatherings Sheikh Nuh and co. provided once a year for their students across the globe. We were all crowded around Umm Al Khayr, which was common. Sometimes we enclosed her until the point where there’d only be a small circumference surrounding her, probably the very least amount of personal space we could provide while being as close as possible. I recall how much my legs ached with all of us bundled so close together to get as close as we could to her words and her presence. And she never seemed to mind, I actually was a bit afraid of her upon first seeing her because of the grandeur of her presence until I realize how jovial she was and felt at ease. She said to us, the first thing I say to women when they come to me crying about their marriage and saying they can’t get a divorce is “Yes you can”.

In the Marriage course I took with her I learned that as a woman you can request the right to divorce (in the marriage contract) -in a similar way in which the man does, I.e. verbally. Everything she taught us in that class I promised myself I’d do when the time came, but I didn’t. Way before I married my husband I was speaking to another man with the potential of marriage I expressed to him that I wanted the right to divorce to be in our contract, he basically responded with a “hell no”. On the morning of my marriage to the man, I am blessed to be married to we decided -at my mother’s request, to print up a contract. I did a quick google search for “Islamic Marriage contract” and went over each page line by line with my soon-to-be husband. Now that I think about it, I’m amazed that by the time I was ready to marry my husband I would have done it without a contract if not for my mom’s insistence, I didn’t even think about it.

When we got to the line about “both parties having the equal right to divorce” my soon to be husband responded in somewhat of an agitation “I’m not agreeing to that”. In all honesty in the last few months, because of discussing the issue on a podcast with my mom and on Facebook, as much as I encouraged women to do so I wondered if I wanted the right myself. As I recall, though my Fiqh on the issue needs refreshing, when a woman has the right to divorce it’s one finalized divorce, unlike men who have at least two chances for reconciliation at each pronouncement. Did I really want to give myself that kind of power? Years ago when I first took Umm Al Khayr’s class I would have insisted but more recently I wasn’t so sure. In a moment of anger, sadness, depression, I could end up uttering words that would ruin my entire life. And knowing my past issues with being able to live in that dark hole of depression where suddenly the entire world turns black, I wasn’t sure I could trust myself.

I do recall something about Umm Khayr saying a couple discussed this and had such a marriage contract with this provision and I recall her distinctly saying the woman was “level headed”. Am I level-headed? Sometimes, but there are certainly times when emotions rule the day. So when my husband refused to agree to the part of the marriage contract where I would be able to verbally divorce, I wasn’t strong enough on the issue to argue against him. So we crossed it out.

I learned also from Umm Al Khayr was that there was no such thing as alimony in Islam, once the waiting period is up, you’re on your own. Someone in the class described to her an example where a woman was a housewife, no work experiences, and how difficult it would be to support herself, “well then she shouldn’t have gotten herself divorced”. Obviously, a woman being divorced is not always her fault but it withstands that the best insurance against divorce is a good marriage.

So I didn’t include the allowance of verbal divorce in my contract, I still think women, in general, should. In a Western society where there are no Islamic court systems and women have to rely on our local Imams or husbands, we are presented with a kind of oppression were hoping to get a “fair day in court” is unlikely. Some women should probably be advised more strongly to have such a contract while others may not have much to worry about one way or the other or may even be disadvantaged by such an arrangement (hotheads who may divorce themselves at the first sign of trouble).

Whatever someone decides to put in their marriage contract, should be tailored to the needs of both parties. It goes without saying that no one gets married with the intention to get divorced. Once the ink dries on the signed marriage contract the goal is to use the example of our beloved messenger, peace to him, to create the best marriage we can -leaving divorce as a near impossibility.

And real protection comes from Allah alone.

Black Muslims And Black Issues

December 12, 2016

Had I been born an Egyptian during the time of Pharoahs it would’ve  been a good time to be black. Black people were the ruling class. The oppressed class at least for a period of time were the Hebrews. But I was not born back then, I was born in 1988 in America, and being black here and now means being a part of the oppressed class. Hundreds of years of slavery, decades of legalized mistreatment, disempowerment and overall injustice. I live in a time where saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ after of string of murders perpetuated by police is met with mockery and belittlement. I live in a time where a black man can be accused of everything from sexual harassment to rape decades after the alleged incidents and it ruin his legacy while white men accused of molestation continue to make movies. I live in a time where black relationships are falling apart and black children are falling behind. And yet, despite the residue of slavery, the average white American can feel more sympathy for a holocaust it didn’t cause than for the descendents of slaves on it’s own soil.

There are times in my life where I go months even years without thinking about race and racism. It’s too painful, too upsetting and too unbearable. But what I’ve come to realize is that God uniquely made me black and he bestowed upon me enough blessings to make a small dent to empower myself and my people.  If MLK and Malcolm X didn’t eradicate racism I certainly won’t either. And I’ve come to realize arguing with white people or non black Muslims about racism, trying to prove the humanity of black people or the inhumanity of our suffering should be a minuscule if not non existent part of that struggle. My struggle is to use what I have to “cast my bucket” where I am and give my people whatever I can to benefit our community.

It also means ignoring a lot of other things. I don’t plan to spend any significant portion of my life fighting ‘Islamophobia’, essentially the systematic oppression similar to what is inflicted on blacks being inflicted on “Muslims” -Muslims being, in the eyes of a typical American, Arab or South Asian. The internal racism in the Muslim community makes it so that South Asian and Arab problems become ‘Muslim problems’ while black issues are ignored. There were people in the prophet’s time who constantly came to him for knowledge then went back to their people to them Islam, did he ask them to stay with him instead and become a teacher in the “Muslim community”? Or was it natural and expected to go back and give what you’ve benefited back to your people?

It saddens me when I hear a black Muslim speaker speaking on “Islamic issues” that are in fact South Asian and Arab issues. For example, a lecture on marriage in Islam where parental approval, cultural differences and forced marriage are spoken about as if they’re universal islamic issues when they in fact have nothing to do with Islam and nothing to do with the black community that imam came from, for example. I recall Imam Siraj giving a khutbah about marriage and speaking about what I call the ‘marriage suitability problem’ that is a reality for his Muslim congregation 0black Muslims, and it would have been delusional to discuss forced marriage in any significance. Muslim speakers talk about the issue of parents forcing their chikdren to be doctors and engineers, again not a Muslim problem but an immigrant one. Had the black Muslim voice been as legitimate in the conversation focusing on the double digit employment rate, poor nutrition and institutionalized racism would be just as legitimate a discussion.

I’m not sure if black people have a huge ability for compassion and empathy or a major self esteem issue but we can’t continue to put others issues before our own communities allowing our house to burn while we put our their fire. Police brutality has been an issue in the black community -which includes black Muslims, for a very long time yet the “Muslim Community” gave no voice to this issue. So should we be expected to lend our voice when our struggle becomes there struggle as well? No, fighting for non- black Muslim rights under the general guise of “Muslim Rights” is no more important than fighting for black human rights which include Muslims. Why should we give up on our struggle for theirs? We can’t afford to lose a single soul in the black community in the fight against oppression and for empowerment.

Silence As A Cure For Hypocrisy

November 30, 2016

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As I listened to my playlist a sudden thought came over me: “Am I a hypocrite?” There are two times in my life when I stopped listening to music -both for religious reasons. The first time was under a more “Salafi” influence. I was never a “Salafi” but back when I was a kid through to my late teens/early twenties I thought they were the most religious group among Muslims and so the closer one could emulate them, the better. I don’t recall what arguments I listened to or from who but I was convinced listening to music was haram and stopped doing so for a period of time I also included occasional rants to my family about how music was haram during that period, but eventually, I would listen to music again.

The second time I stopped listening to music was more recently under the general advice of my Sufi sheikh to his mureeds. His reasons were two-fold -evidence in some schools of jurisprudence to point to the forbidden nature of music through the forbidding of particular instruments and the vile nature of mainstream music -what is it but the outpouring of the nafs (lower self)? So why waste your time with it? To be clear he wasn’t against all “music” since some music was in fact closely linked to the Tariqa itself, Sheikh Shaghouri (the sheikh’s sheikh) was a composer of music. But the music was the outpouring of one who longed for God and occasionally used nothing more then a duff (a type of drum) as accompaniment.

After living among the sheikh and his mureeds for two years, I returned home to America. I began listening to music again, for what reasons I’m not sure. The only hard reason I’m cognizance of is a longing to be -in some small way, a part of the larger culture -black culture in particular. I felt that the more religious I became the more estranged I was from the black community, listening to Solange and Beyonce helped me reconnect. It’s not a good excuse and I hope to get back to that place when it was easier to do as the sheikh said, when it came naturally.

After only fours years I see the path slipping from my hands if I don’t make a more earnest effort to keep it. I was a better mureed in the first two years than in the second two. But I know that a part of the issue was saying too much when I first began to practice the spiritual path. Whatever my sheikh said I tried to do earnestly and I tried to convince others it was worth while, that was a mistake. The time I spent attempting to convince others -often unwittingly, should have been spent traveling the path. Maybe a part of it is because when other people aren’t convinced after hearing all the same information, you begin to doubt yourself. If they don’t get it, maybe I’m wrong?

But not every path is for everyone, through God’s grace we each have a way. Silence is so valuable when beginning any path. If you’re convinced, be convinced, let the outcome speak for itself. I remember one brother telling me that his path to the Tariqa happened when he saw someone praying. “There was just something about the way he prayed, I wanted to know more” I recall him telling me. That simple act took him towards the spiritual path -not a lecture but a presence that spoke to him.

It happens to many of us, even outside of Tariqas and spiritual paths, I remember becoming vegan as a kid and trying to convince everyone around me to be vegan, they weren’t convinced and at some point I gave up and stopped being convinced myself -even though I could feel its benefits for my body.

So am I a hypocrite because I stopped doing some of the things I told others to do. And the lesson is learned that silence is the cure for hypocrisy. I wasn’t in a position to tell anyone about the spiritual path I’d only just begun myself. I wasn’t in a position to convince anyone of following a path I had not yet seen the outcome of. Maybe, at least in the beginning, this journey is best taken in silence.

What you need vs what you want

November 2, 2016

I was looking at some art, just admiring since I’m far from able to buy anything, and I came across a lot of pieces I took interest in. But I found myself saying “Ooh I love that, but I couldn’t have it in my house”. Despite being in love with moody, monotone and monochromatic works like this piece above by Robert Motherwell I got a sense that it wouldn’t be good for me to have that kind of art in my space.

It reminds of when I was younger. Anytime I felt sad I’d put on some sad music and bring myself further down the rabbit’s hole, it seemed appropriate to put on music that I could relate to. It wasn’t until I was older and chatting with a friend about music tastes and mentioned it, she responded “Really? I always listen to happy music when I’m sad”. She listened to music to inspire a change in mood instead of dwelling on a bad one.

Some of us turn to Allah in times of darkness, looking for light. Others turn to turn to drugs, alcohol, food, etc. which only serve to exacerbate the original issue. It seems heavily due to personality what option we choose but it also has to do with awareness. Once you step outside of yourself, outside of routine and watch yourself do what you do, you then have a choice. It doesn’t make it easy to change, it simply makes it possible. So, when I get the chance to buy a work of art I’ll choose something more colorful and life-giving like this second work by Julianne Strom. Because that’s the kind of energy I need instead of simply the energy I’m attracted to.

Learning on your own

August 26, 2016

Independent learningI spent a few years learning with various teachers and attending lectures around New York and thereafter traveling to Jordan to sit in on the majalis (learning sessions) there. I’ve been blessed to learn a lot from my teachers and am forever grateful to them. Having the freedom to travel and to study takes time and I was blessed to take that time because I do not have a job or a family of my own. But many people are not in a similar scenario. Though it has been stressed to me throughout the years the importance of having a teacher to learn with, the idea of sitting for hours with a teacher and learning a text from beginning to end isn’t a real possibility for many.

What is the reality for most of us is that if we make an effort we could probably gain a lot by doing a little each day -as long as we have a plan. My advice is just because you don’t have a teacher in the traditional sense doesn’t mean you can’t acquire tradition knowledge and an orthodox understanding over time. So how is this possible? Foremost with du’a and possibly with these following six steps.

  1. Read traditional books. Ask a scholar you know and trust (or a learned person -for example, that guy you know that spent two years in Egypt studying Islam) for a recommendation on classical Islamic texts. Why classic texts? Well for one, as Sheikh Nuh (May God preserve him) states in the beginning of his translation of Reliance of the Traveller: “For most nontraditional works seen up to the present have been one man efforts, while the classical texts have been checked and refined by a large number of scholars, and the difference is manifest” (P. viii). Secondly, the scholars of today pale in comparison to scholars of the past -and they’ll be the first to tell you. And thirdly the works of the past are far more accessible -many classic books have a small summary of the original text (or subject matter), the longer text for further explanation, and commentary by other scholars making it easy to gain both a overview and an in depth understanding of the text/subject.
  2. Keep in touch with any scholar. You may be asking “who and how?” Firstly, a scholar that has a basic knowledge of fundamental subjects in Islam. How would you know? Just go to the bio on their website, friend/follow them on Facebook and get a sense of what they’re about, or ask people who know them. Thereafter keep their email (or message on Facebook) and ask them questions. Ask them whatever you’re sure you don’t understand from the text and need further explanation. Of course many scholars are busy (and it doesn’t have to be a “scholar” just anyone with knowledge) and may not reply so try to contact about ten, inshaAllah, one of them will be willing to help.
  3. Strike up conversation with people of knowledge about the text you’re reading to make sure you have the correct understanding. This is for the parts of the you’re sure you understand but because you’re not in formal circles of knowledge you don’t get the feedback necessary to confirm you’re understanding the text as it should be understood, going over it with others in a causal manner will help to confirm you really understand what’s being conveyed in the text.
  4. Approach independent learning with an understanding that studying with a teacher is far superior and open your heart to the idea that when the opportunity to learn with a teacher presents itself you will take it. Maybe in the near future your time will open up and you’ll find a class or a teacher available and squeeze in those lessons you were too busy to learn before. And if you’ve done steps #1- 3 you’ll be able to utilize those teachers that you created a relationship with previously and build on what you know.
  5. Think about learning online. You may not feel you have time to learn online either but look in to different programs and see how much time they allow you to take. For example, the class may be weekly for 10 weeks and maybe you aren’t able to complete it in ten weeks, ask them how long they allow students to access coursework or register for the class again the following semester and continue where you left off. Online learning (ex: seekergudance.org, qibla.com) allows students access to traditional knowledge and seekers from the comfort of their home so it’s a viable option even for the busy soul.
  6. Be consistent. Learn a little daily (or weekly) and you’ll be surprised how far you come over time. There’s no need to feel like it’s all or nothing, the most important tool is consistency. As the beloved messenger of God, peace be upon him, has said: “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” Sunan Ibn Majah 4240

Hijab is not simply a “choice”

August 14, 2016

aab-uk-pink-and-taupe-two-tone-chiffon-hijab-s15hijpt-z-dzbb_1It’s very difficult to have an honest conversation about hijab. Muslims go in to defense mode and non-Muslims go in to attack mode. The basic question that surrounds the tension -is hijab a choice or a form of oppression? As Muslims we’ve been trained to say of course it’s a choice, many non- Muslims will say the opposite. But I’m going to say something more nuanced and honest, it is sometimes one and sometimes the other.

On the macro scale there is no doubt that some countries force their women to cover. This is often the non-Muslim retort to those of us who say hijab is a choice. They point to Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia where it is no doubt that wearing hijab is not a choice. But even this is dishonest, it makes it seem as though all Muslim countries require women to wear hijab, they don’t. Jordan is one place that certainly does not, I’ve lived here for two years and it’s quite clear that though most people here dress modestly, they certainly have a choice in their dress -wearing everything from typical western clothes with or without a head scarf to Khaleeji Abayas and black face veils.

Some non-Muslims also claim that it is not a women’s choice but her father or the men in her family who force her to wear the hijab, “no” we respond, it’s our choice. But of course there are some women who wear hijab because their father tells them to and for nothing more, like I did as a teen. But here’s another level of dishonesty: force cannot be equated with abuse. My parents “forced” me to wear hijab, just like they “forced” me to go to bed at 11pm as a teenager, just like they “forced” me to go to college. What would happen if I insisted I was not going to wear hijab? I don’t know. But I certainly wouldn’t fear an “honor killing”, which was a foreign concept to me until I heard it in the news.

Yet and still for some Muslim women it is a choice, they decide at a particular age to start covering, sometimes as a religious awakening and sometimes to fit in with friends. Some Muslim women are neither discouraged nor encouraged to wear hijab and some -to the surprise of many, are discouraged from wearing hijab.

And, one last bit of honesty, hijab isn’t just a choice in Islam. It is considered an obligation. In Islam we have obligations, encouraged acts, discouraged acts, forbidden acts and acts that fit none of the aforementioned categories. Hijab falls in to the first, an obligation. I have never seen it mentioned among major sins -to not wear a head covering, but I could not say it is a minor sin either (God knows best). The point is that yes it is a choice but it’s not like drinking water or drinking tea, it is a consequential choice. So someone may go out of their way to struggle to wear hijab because of their faith, in other words they may make a choice they personally dislike in order to please God.

I understand that it’s easier to tout the line “hijab is my choice”, I understand it’s easier to forget about the nuances but there is a bit of disservice we do to ourselves and to conversations about our faith when we try to fit it in the already existent framework. The idea that hijab is simply a choice -like choosing between water and tea, is one that is most palatable to the Western framework but it lacks the depth and nuances that the conversation deeply needs and deserves. But maybe now is the time for mantra over depth, hopefully one day we can move past that.

Asking more of our religious leaders? Or should we ask less?

August 5, 2016

Photo by Nicole Najmah Abraham

Photo by Nicole Najmah Abraham

What is the job of an Imam? In the most basic sense it is simply to lead the prayers including the Friday Jummuah. But what does it usually mean in our communities? Often the Imam becomes our prayer leader, our counselor, our adviser, our teacher, Masjid maintenance, our match maker, etc. It’s not to say that’s wrong but when the average salary of an Imam is $30,000 it may be too much to ask. The job of our Imam becomes a full time never ending task list and worst yet none of this is really in the job description.

When someone becomes an Imam they’re usual called to do so because they are the most knowledgeable in Islamic matters in their community. Fundraising for a leaky roof, answering 2am calls from a single mother kicked out of her home and helping congregants get married isn’t explained as part of the job. Worse of all is this, when an Imam allegedly falls short of his duties he is blamed as being unworthy of a position whose expectations were never clearly laid out. How many other positions work that way? How can we accuse any religious leader of being incompetent if we keep the job position so vague?

More recently I’ve heard talk from many that religious leaders need to be trained counselors, trained in leadership, trained in social media, etc.  Well two issues I find with this is one questioning the merit of increasing the role of the imam instead of inviting more people in to take on the leadership work in the Muslim community, secondly if we are going to officially increase the responsibility of the Imam and increase his necessary qualifications, are we willing to officially increase their pay? Are we willing to pay for this increased training? In my opinion the idea of the Imam being the end all be all in any community is a bad one. We have Muslim psychologists, building maintenance workers, fundraising professionals, etc. in our communities, instead of asking the Imam to do more why not ask less? While others help with community leadership by contributing their skills? Why would we want one man to to be our end all only to then criticize him when he falls short? More of us Muslim professionals -especially in high paying professions, need to volunteer our time to help in our communities. I see the job of the Imam as being closer to a ‘scholar in residence’, the Imam has usually spent years of his life studying Islam, let him teach the people, answer their fiqh questions, lead the salah, etc. and free him of periphery responsibilities that can be better filled by people trained in those areas. But whatever any community decides an Imam should be, let the job description be clear before hire.

Women, the Tariq and marriage

August 1, 2016

D56H22 Paper doll graffiti in a public street - Rome

I once reflected on why it might be that in the past Sufi Tariqas, including my own, have not been filled with many female students. Of course, modern day women would say it’s because of plain ‘sexism’ but I wonder if it was not the wisdom of the women of the past not to be involved in a Tariqa. When you’re a religious woman, as you probably are if you’re in or considering joining a Tariqa, the sheikh becomes the only man outside of your family that you are emotionally and spiritually connected to. When you get married your husband would then become the second man you’re close to outside of your family. That’s where the issue begins. Men don’t like competition even if the competition is an old man and spiritual saint. There’s a difference between chatting with him about how amazing and clever your dad is as opposed to how amazing and clever your sheikh is. Our Sufi sheikhs take up a major place in our heart -for both men and women, but for women that space may lead her husband to be jealous or plain annoyed and I’ve been told by some female mureeds.

Our Sufi sheikhs are also our guides in life. If the sheikh says not to do something, you don’t do it (Or begin your journey of struggling against it until you stop). But what if your sheikhs’ advice is opposed to what your husband wants? If your sheikh tells women to wear a looser version of hijab indoors but your husband enjoys seeing your hair how do you think he’ll feel if you decline his interest to follow your sheikhs guidance? Our sheikhs can also guide us in the details of our lives. We ask them intimate questions about what we should do in this or that scenario, we cry in front of them, we come to them at our lowest points, we completely trust them, but what if our husband doesn’t feel the same? What if you’re going to you sheikh for advice feels more like a violation of his trust than a solution? What if he believes the vulnerability you have before your sheikh is closer to emotional cheating that it is a means of help?

I once heard a scholar say “(some) women will get their boss a cup of coffee before ever getting it for their spouse. The related point is that we as women don’t seem to value marriage as much as it seems out foremothers once did. The idea that our independence could jeopardise our relationship and that we should care enough to reconsider that independence is a foreign idea to us. I understand, I believe, why there might not have been many women in the Tariqas of the past, they understood there was a conflict of interest. They were also wise enough to realise that marrying a man of Tassawuf would also lead them to benefit from the Tariqa without harming their marriage.

God knows best.

Take your time

June 19, 2016

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Painting by Ludwig Deutsch

After travelling and overall exhaustion from the heat I fell asleep and ended missing two prayers. Usually, when I miss a prayer I try to rush to make it up. But I have the unfortunate habit of rushing the salah itself. Somehow in my mind, I mix up having to rush to pray with rushing the prayer itself. With this being my typical habit -to the point where I don’t notice I do it, I was about to do the same thing until something came over me and gently said: “take your time”. Take my time, take it easy, relax. Release the anxiety of making up a prayer, release the anxiety of whatever you think you have to do after prayer, release the idea of “getting it over with”.

I sometimes suffer from performance anxiety with my salah causing me to rush when there’s no need. I’m afraid my salah won’t be good enough -which of course it won’t be, it won’t be reflective enough, I won’t pay enough attention, I’ll forget a verse or what rakah I’m up to, it won’t be deep enough or profound enough. So maybe I rush through it to avoid the pain of not being good enough.

Or maybe it will be too profound. Maybe the verses will penetrate too deeply. Maybe the hell fire will become too clear. Maybe my shortcomings will become too heavy to bear. Maybe I’ll see the reality of “God is greater” and “Glory to God”. Maybe I’ll fall apart and be unable to continue through life knowing the reality of the prayer, the reality of life.

Whether fear of underperforming, being overwhelmed or a false sense of urgency. Something helped me to just forget it all and simply take my time. It’s not to say I had a grand spiritual opening but I felt at ease. A small step but a big one in improving our worship to God.

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REFLECTIVE RAMADAN | WISE WORDS FROM AL GHAZALI

June 11, 2016


Reflective Ramadan Post Series, #2 Wise words from Al Ghazali

I think the below passage perfectly describes what we hope to attain from Ramadan, exerted form Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad’s translation of Al Ghazali On Disciplining the Soul and Breaking the two Desires:

“Fight your soul with the swords of self- discipline. These four: eating little, sleeping briefly, speaking only when necessary, and tolerating all the wrongs done to you by men. For eating little slays desire , sleeping briefly purifies your aspirations, speaking little saves you from afflictions, and tolerating wrongs will bring you to the goal -for the hardest thing for a man is to be mild when snubbed and to tolerate the wrongs done to him. And when you wish to indulge your desires and sin stirs your soul, and the delight of superfluous discourse is aroused, you should draw the sword of eating little from the scabbard of the midnight prayer and sleeping briefly , and smite them with the fists of obscurity and silence until they cease to oppress you and avenge themselves upon you, and you become safe from their visscitudes to the end of your days, having cleansed them of the darkness of the soul’s desires so that you escape from their hazardous affliction. At this you will become a subtle spiritual body, and a radiance without weight, and shall roam in the field of goodness, traveling the paths of obedience to God like a swift horse in the field and a king taking recreation in a garden.”

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