It feels like a big fluffy blanket of serenity has drifted down on me and my household.
This seems to happen every Ramadan and the problem with that is that it really makes it hard to take anything else, world squabbles over a debt crisis, and attending an impending SCBWI convention, very seriously.
In the grand scheme of things, they really don’t matter now do they?
Even while I keep praying for all the victims of the horrible things happening: the gunning down of civilians in Syria and Libya; the famine in Somalia and the oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, it cannot completely destroy that feeling of serenity.
Because with the blanket of serenity has come the assurance that those who die will go on to a better place, God is most merciful. And we have the opportunity to help those who are suffering by sharing some of the bounty that God has bestowed upon us.
At no time during the year do I believe this more than in Ramadan.
So many times I think, if there were no assurances of a life hereafter, where all injustices will be addressed and all oppression will be punished–I would not be able to take all the suffering in the world.
And along with that, I believe that everything happens for a reason, though we may not be able to see it.
It’s all part of God’s larger plan, and we have to be patient.
Back when we were renovating the kitchen and the bathroom, and I was lifting up old linoleum tiles so that the contractor could lay the ceramic, I was using a heat gun.
I was pretty careful, but in the process the edge of my little finger touched the hot nozzle, and before I could think to pull it away, I suffered a burn.
Of course my first thought was how foolish and clumsy I’d been. (Of course it’s nowhere near the scale of what’s going on all over the world I’m not even trying to compare them, but it was pretty darn painful. And till it scabbed over and began to heal it was pretty painful.)
My second thought was that perhaps this little bit of suffering would help expiate some of my sins–sins I might not even have realized I’d committed.
Because part of Islamic beliefs is that for a believer, every difficulty, even something as small as a heat gun burn or a paper cut, will expiate their sins.
So those believers suffering major catastrophes will have most if not all of their bad deeds wiped out.
For some people who do good in this world but do not believe in God or the hereafter, they will be rewarded with good in this world, and for those whose bulk of reward will be in the hereafter, then things like cuts and burns they get in this life will help expiate their sins so that they will be free in the hereafter.
There were two superpowers at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him): the Persians and the Romans. And when the early Muslims defeated the first of them, the Persians, and they saw the treasure palaces of the Chosroe II, they wept because they had never seen such wealth and they were afraid that they were obtaining their reward in this life.
When I got that nasty burn, and it started to blister and sting, I sent up a little dua (prayer) right then, to let it be an expiation for any sins that I’ve committed knowingly or unknowingly.
I want to send a donation to the drought victims in Somalia and Kenya even as I pray they get rain.
And I send a prayer out to all those who read these words, may God make this a month of blessing and peace for all of us.
And now, I really should get back to preparing for that SCBWI conference! Because even though my heart’s not into it, my brain’s telling me it’s a pretty big deal.