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Ramadan: Poetry

  • Published at 04:25 pm June 16th, 2016
  • Last updated at 04:29 pm June 16th, 2016
Ramadan: Poetry

Soul My first memory of hearing the Quran being recited was in my grandparents' village in Feni. The recitation would begin between four to five in the morning, along with the sounds of wood crackling, pond water stirring, chicks and ducks rising. The smell of earth, beautiful earth lifting with the light. I would lay beneath my kantha and melt into my senses.

One of my favourite pieces from the Quran is the Ayatul Kursi, (The Throne Verse, the 255th verse of Surah Al-Baqara), an ode to Allah and creation, revealed to beloved Mohammad between the years 609 and 632 CE:

"Allah. There is no god but Allah - the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Allah, nor sleep. All things in the heavens and on earth are Allah's. Who can intercede in Allah's presence except as Allah permiteth? Allah knows what (appeareth to creation as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they encompass aught of his knowledge except as Allah willeth. Allah's throne doth extend over the heavens and on earth, and Allah feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for Allah is the most High. The Supreme.“

The translation is not as interesting as the original in Arabic, which according to my Arab friends, has a totally different sense of energy, joy and enlightenment. Al-Afassi has a beautiful rendition. You can listen to it hear: https://youtu.be/gU3FYW3w768

Interestingly, Ayatul Kursi is quite similar to another powerful hymn to God and creation from the Rig Veda, "Gayatri Mantra," a twenty-four syllable poem by Brahmarshi Vishvamitra (Sage Vishvamitra, father of Shakuntala, grandfather of Emperor Bharata), composed between c 1500–1200 BC in Northern India:

"Oh God, the Protector, the basis of all life, Who is self-existent, Who is free from all pains and Whose contact frees the soul from all troubles, Who pervades the Universe and sustains all, the Creator and Energiser of the whole Universe, the Giver of happiness, Who is worthy of acceptance, the most excellent, Who is Pure and the Purifier of all, let us embrace that very God, so that He may direct our mental faculties in the right direction." (Translation by Shri Hopi Maliwal). You can listen to a rendition by Lata Mangeshkar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKCMO9X_weM

Mind Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī, known simply as Hafiz was a Persian poet who came to know Allah at the age of sixty. He sat in a circle for forty days without food and water. Such was his longing to see and know. He emerged from that chilla (meditation retreat) with nothing but love for the divine and this is what he had to say:

I have learned so much from God

I have learned so much from God

That I can no longer call myself

a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of itself with me

that I can no longer call myself

a man, a woman, an angel

or even pure soul.

Love has befriended me so completely

It has turned me to ash and freed me

of every concept and image

my mind has ever known.

-translated by Daniel Ladinsky in

The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master

Body There is a very material and practical side to us and that is the finite matter of which we are made and how we treat this finite matter impacts the palpability of the infinite that resides within. Eating more vegetables (alkaline foods) and less meat, alcohol, coffee, sugar, fat (acidic foods) would help us to feel more relaxed so that namaz and meditation is much more fruitful. A list of acidic and alkaline foods can be found here: http://www.energiseforlife.com/acid-alkaline-food-chart-1.1.pdf

Drinking plenty of fresh, raw juices will give you more nutrients and less mass to digest. During Ramadan, this will save your body the energy required to digest and you will feel lighter as well. The following is a juice recipe to detox the liver: http://rawfoodrecipes.com/recipes/beet-detoxifier-smoothie/

Substitute as much as you can with local fruits and greens. You can find more recipes for juices here: http://rawfoodrecipes.com/course/juices/

I wish you joy!