Shaykh Riad Saloojee on his efforts to cling onto what little is left of the blessed month of Ramadan.
From the generous bay windows of my i’itikaf mosque, I can see out into the world. I’ve been in seclusion now for three days. The world already appears different and distant.
The trees sway in the wind. The leaves are taken by the faintest breeze. Their green changes in the sun’s rays. The sky is there and gone. The clouds sweep slowly across its blue canvas. They have no form, always in motion, always in motion.
The sunnah of i’itikaf marks the closing time of this blessed month. If you listen closely, you can hear its whispering farewell. The Sacred Law teaches us to remain in His house, to leave only for pressing need, to free our hearts from all besides.
Interesting, isn’t it, that i’itikaf means literally to cling, to hold fast, to devote, to attach?
I’m trying. But already, the dread starts to set in: What thereafter? Can I survive with my heart — out there?
High in the clouds, the birds soar in circles.
Here I sit, trying to hold on.
Trying to hold on to the One that gave me this month of gifts: all the good; all the chances for worship; all the opportunities to disconnect from the addictions that fetter my mind, body and soul; all the epiphanies about my deficiencies: and all those precious moments to feel my dire need for Him.
The wind stops but only to resume again.
Nothing lasts. This, too, shall pass.
But He will remain. As He always was. As He always will be. His grace and love and subtle kindness have no passing end.
We can keep the sprit of Ramadan through the i’itikaf of our hearts. That doesn’t have to change. We can be in Ramadan forever, in I’itikaf forever.
This is the path: to be in I’itikaf of Him with our hearts, to cling to Him with all indigence and poverty, to keep our hearts raised in supplication at the threshold of His door.
The poet writes: The one who fasts from passing pleasures, at the ‘Eid finds love itself.
O Allah, let us find you in these swiftly departing days and nights.
You as our ‘Eid. And ‘Eid forever.