This is Day Three of Altmuslim’s #30Days30Writers series for Ramadan 2015.
By Arzu Kaya-Uranli
If the brain and the belly are burning clean with fasting,
every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears,
and a new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you.
— Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
I am so thankful to God, once again, to be able to reach the most uplifting time of the year: Ramadan. We already are in the third day of the sultan of the other 11 months, on the path to learning discipline and perseverance.
Once again, it is a great opportunity make new discoveries. Ramadan, with its own light and mystery, makes us realize the spiritual abundance hidden within ourselves.The holy month, as sanctioned by Allah, awards us fasting to explore and disclose new things deep inside of us — the chance to reflect on life and religion.
One of the significant elements of Ramadan is that it takes place during the ninth month of the lunar calendar: A birth of life! And we can be reborn into our inner reality through this special time of the year, renovated and rejuvenated. It can be very transformative, if we fast properly and/or approach it with an open and sincere mindset.
Divided into thirds, the beginning part of Ramadan is a period for mercy, the second part is for forgiveness and the last period is for redemption and renewal, with special prayers dedicated to all three themes. So, right now we are in the days of mercy, and striving for humility in our lives is a great thing to focus on now. Strive to feel more merciful towards ourselves and towards to those who are less fortunate.This is the time for us to pause and think. Without food and drink for entire day, we can easily realize what we have given up and understand that in partaking in this sacrifice, we can hopefully better see all we have taken for granted. We should use this sacred time to help us to realize again that too many people around the world suffer from senseless conflict and violence.
It’s our collective mission to pursue justice and peace and to uphold the dignity of every human being. It’s time to remember that the color of skin, religion, ethnic background, gender, age, status, traditional or religious attire are not to be used as weapons to oppress or persecute our innate human rights and responsibilities.
The essence of Ramadan is a month of humanist spirituality, hopefully elevating our minds, erasing selfishness from our hearts and enhancing our awareness of others. Every year I’m amazed to find a new angle to see my surroundings through the lens of Ramadan. No doubt, fasting creates a particular state of mind that can be achieved through true effort. It can be the evolution of personal understanding and bring personal revival.
If we fast properly (from food and drink if we are physically able to, and/or from the things that plague our nafs), we can detoxify our soul and spirit, thereby purifying ourselves. Then we can restart our eager efforts to make the world a better place.
It isn’t easy, and it can tire us out. But, it’s the time to wake up. Are we ready?
Arzu Kaya-Uranli has been working as a broadcaster in New York, USA since 1998. She writes weekly editorial articles for Huffington Post and Today’s Zaman on human rights, education, gender equality, environmental issues and Turkey. Kaya-Uranli, also is an award winning Turkish Literature & Language teacher and she has been teaching Turkish for more than 20 years at institutions and universities. Her Twitter address is @akuranli.