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Feel Something: Ramadan Sensations 19 September 2007

Posted by mecca in Spirituality, THEMES.

One thing that a thoughtful Ramadan experience is said to do is reverse 11 months of “professionalizing our existence,” to borrow the phrase from Martin Amis. “Professionalizing” the religious experience means to become rote doers of rites (stiff and perfunctory); with Sunday-school heart; and exposed to pretension and self-righteousness, among the greatest risks of religiosity. If Ramadan were a proofreader’s pen, it would stop at “Muslim” (the professional adherent) and strike it down to “muslim” (a person who believes and remembers why).

It’s a marvel how a geologist can take a soil sample and come up with thunderous conclusions about the physical condition of the earth and the mad culture of consumption that’s ravaging it. Seeing the big picture in something small and self-contained is the definition of sagacity. When Ramadan comes, things change. We all know it. It’s an interruption in routine, a time that agitates a rote existence. This interruption has many purposes, but it comes down to this: It is said that if you want to see how your life is going, then look at your day, your sample, and realize (hopefully enchanted) that we are and always have been in this constant state of returning, a procession of hours and days that’s taking us to nowhere but God, who made us and eventually wants us back.

To live with that consciousness and awareness of the grand ride is among the highest achievements of revealed religion. It affects everything. That awareness is also extraordinary and cannot be scaled with the ordinary. We are shown rituals—acts that are breaks from the norm—and we are taught something about them. How we engage them is really the challenge that by all appearance will not become easier. Trained to be jaded and consumers, Ramadan each year comes to us with an offer to be counter-cultural, to think differently, and hopefully remember the ride and the destination.



1. Amad - 20 September 2007

salam..i enjoyed this short reminder… well written!

I’d like to share with you what Shaykh Yaser Birjas wrote, which echoes well with some of the “Ramadan sensations” :)


2. ABD - 20 September 2007

this is a gem of a piece.

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