Seasons of Change
Elhemdullillah we completed the month of Ramazan with our Sheykh Lokman Efendi’s himmet. It was a very unusual month here in upstate New York. As Sheykh Efendi said, we experienced every season this Ramazan, winter, spring, summer and fall. The weather changed from one day to the next even as the days grew longer, and the sun migrated more northerly bit by bit. Now we are officially in the “mud season” of early spring as Shawaal enters with its own gifts and blessings. Mud is a good reminder of our dirtiness as fallible human beings. Our mistakes might appear as fine as dust to us, easily shrugged off or cleaned up, but mud clings to everything. It isn’t easily scrubbed or blown away by a light wind. Just as some habits stick to us and with us, even past the merciful deluge of Ramazan. So what do we do, if we failed to become fully clean in Ramazan? The answer is clear as Sheykh Efendi always tells us: keep doing the work of taking account of ourselves, of cleaning the dirtiness through hizmet, through refining our character in the service of others, through fasting the six days of Shawaal and fasting from all the things we did manage to leave in Ramazan for the sake of Allah SWT. Fasting six days of Shawaal have a great reward as promised by Holy Prophet AS and the good news is, if you took a break from fasting right after Ramazan, you have the whole month to take part in gathering the blessings of the voluntary fast. Some of us are not able to fast for health reasons and this can be sad and disappointing when we hear about the great blessings but there is much we can continue to fast from, as we did in Ramazan. This world has no shortage of polluting activities that we can continue to avoid. The first one (and I say this to myself first) is the phone you are likely holding in your hand as you read this blog. The addiction of technology runs rampant through our lives and while we often use it to access Islamic content, along with the access comes a whole host of temptations and haram things. As Sheykh Efendi frequently says, social media often dominates far too much of our attention during the day and creates feelings of disconnection to Allah SWT and entanglement in this dunya. The longer you can be without your phone, the healthier and happier you will likely feel. If it’s hard for you, as it is for me, this is pointing to the place we should begin to work on in these blessed days, seeking the pleasure of our Lord. May it be easy for us all to keep the spirit of Ramazan alive in this month and strive to enhance what we learned and protect what we gained for the sake of our Sheykh, Amin!