It’s well after midnight and burning candles
flicker in my dimly lit living room. Music hums quietly in the background, a
love song carried through the vibrating cry of the reed flute. My head gently
sways right to left to Oruç Güvenç’s sweet notes and we sit, me and my Beloved,
at the table overlooking the night sky as London fades into a deep sleep.
There’s a stillness outside and within.
No words are
spoken as I gaze at my Beloved with longing, seeing and thinking of no one but
Him. His Names are all around me, in the light of the candle, Ya Nur, the Essence of
Luminosity. In the delicious scent of the yellow and pink roses in the vase
next to me, Ya Latif,
the Subtle One. In the love exploding in my heart, Ya Wadud, the Most Loving One.
my suhour meal — a boiled egg and a small bowl greek yogurt with acacia honey
and chia seeds — we move to the sofa. Not for a moment do I let go of his
Handhold, so strong it will never give way.*
find words to express the depths of my yearning, I open at random pages of
poetry drawn from the wells of masters. Who better than them can express the
urgings of my heart.
First, from Mevlana Rumi, comes:
The real beloved is that one who is unique,
who is your beginning and your end
When you find that one,
you’ll no longer want anything else
(Masnavi III, 1418-19, translated by Camille
and Kabir Helminski)
Then Yunus Emre chimes in:
You fall in love with Truth and begin to cry,
You become holy light inside and out,
Singing Allah Allah
(The Drop that Became the Sea, p. 72)
And Sheikh Abol-Hasan of Kharaqan offers:
Nothing pleases the Lord more than finding himself in the Lover’s heart
every time He looks there.
(The Soul and A Loaf of Bread, p. 61)
I read each verse, aloud or silently, to You, Ya Sami, the One Who Hears All.
The goosebumps on my skin and underneath a visceral reminder that You are, as
the Quran says, closer to me than my jugular vein.
are lovers and Ramadan is the time when this seeker makes efforts to cultivate
greater intimacy with God, the kind that nourishes my heart year round and
guides me on how to honour the people in my life through that Divine Love.
Ramadan is typically a time for companionship with family and friends, I’ve
spent it in solitude for many years. My immediate family is scattered across
the world and I’m not currently in a relationship. So aside from a weekly
gathering with friends, most nights I sit down for an iftar meal alone. Before
the break of dawn, I wake on my own to prepare for the coming day of fasting.
times when I wish to share the sweetness of this blessed month with another
soul or souls who share this connection. And yet my gratitude for the gift of
having this space to cultivate greater nearness with God is immense. Ramadan is
above all an opportunity for intimacy with the Divine Reality, or Allah.
Sleeping less, I spend more time consciously seeking my Beloved and Friend, Ya Waliyy,
trying to know Him/Her more and more deeply, simultaneously seeing and being
reading, prayer and dhikr, this intimacy is about
doing things with greater intention, care and presence of heart. Gently kissing
the Holy Quran and Mevlevi prayer book before and after dipping into them each
day. Lighting a candle with a Bismillah (In the Name of
God) on my breath to honour its being, and then laying it to rest with a Huuuuu, the Divine Pronoun.
small and tender ways, I try to honour the love in my heart. It’s akin to that
feeling of being love-struck by a budding romance, when we pay attention to
each detail of our new darling and want them around in every moment. The
difference is this Love is perpetual, encompassing and nurturing all the rest.
We even sit
together, me and my Beloved, to do finances during Ramadan. During the 30 days
I distribute my zakat, the giving of at least 2.5 percent of my assets to those
less fortunate. After calculating it, I call on Al Karim, the Most Generous, to
bless my path with those who would most benefit from it, and watch in awe as
the way always opens.
As we enter the final 10 days of the Holy Month, I hope to pursue this Love
Affair with greater intensity. I’ll spend longer nights in worship and
reflection as we search for the wonders of Laylat Al Qadr, the Night of a
Thousand Months, when Prophet Muhammad received his first Divine revelation.
It is he,
peace and blessings be upon him, who offers the greatest sign of potential
depths of a human’s intimacy with God:
“Neither the heavens nor the earth can
only the heart of My faithful servant can