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Ramadan meditations: What is the work?

  • Published at 12:08 am May 24th, 2018
  • Last updated at 09:48 am May 30th, 2018
Movement can remove the pain of generations across our bodies NASHIRUL ISLAM

This Ramadan, let us reimagine ourselves as inclusionaries and invite all to our hearts, igniting a renaissance

How wonderful it is to be alive at a time of positive possibilities. It is up to us to make this a beautiful century for all beings, not just the few. 

Let us expand the brotherhood to beinghood, not excluding any of Allah’s creations, be it an ant or an atheist. 

Everyone is included. If it were up to me, an ideal mosque would be a cultural centre of interfaith gatherers who offer namaz together, engage in interfaith research and debate, enjoy games, attend a variety of classes to encourage life-long learning, and provide services depending on the community’s needs. 

Indeed, a community that moves together, sticks together. And is it not time to welcome male and female Imams who can speak to our contemporary lives in these mosques? 

This is the new Ummah. If we cannot move our hearts toward this vast vision of being, I am afraid, we will not have to wait for artificial intelligence to get us, we will annihilate ourselves. How sad that would be, as Islam is indeed a beautiful culture of the heart.

There is much work that needs to be done in order for us to move towards this dream everyday. The bulk of the work resides within us, as we are our greatest obstacle. According to Dr Candace Pert, our feelings (including racism and prejudice against the poor), habitual reactions, beliefs are embedded in our bodies, across our central nervous system, connective tissue, and fascia. Meditation, movement (namaz), fresh food, and the will to pursue our best selves can remove the pain of generations across our bodies. 

Removing this pain would give us the clarity to make neuronal connections about our priorities in life. Are the goals material accumulation, hate, ignorance, and exclusivism -- or is there more excitement and meaning in the phenomenal advancement of the arts and sciences built upon a strong foundation of the basics: Sanitation, water, social housing, universal child care, universal health care, universal education? 

In talking with Kevin Kelly in his book, The Inevitable, no techological advancement can be made without covering the basic needs of everyday people. Friends ask me, how will a developing country pay for this? I wonder -- not just about developing countries -- but the rampant global culture of tax evasion, the level of illegal imports and exports, and the corruption of the police force. 

Sharing the wealth is not just Bangladesh’s issue, rather it extends to developed nations as well. 

This Ramadan, let us reimagine ourselves as inclusionaries and invite all to our hearts, igniting a renaissance.

I have stilled my restless mind, and my heart is radiant: 

for in That-ness I have seen beyond That-ness, 

in company I have seen the Comrade Himself. 

Living in bondage, I have set myself free: 

I have broken away from the clutch of all narrowness. 

Kabir says: I have attained the unattainable, 

and my heart is coloured with the colour of love. 

-- Rabindranath Tagore

Shireen Pasha is Berlin Bureau Chief, Dhaka Tribune.