Bismi’Llāhi ir-Ramān ir-Raīm

In the Name of God, the Universally Merciful, the Singularly Compassionate


The life of the outer world continually reflects the realities of the inner world, including that of the soul —which perpetually exists in some mode of relationship with the Almighty ﷻ. And Allāh ﷻ is the Lord ﷻ of all the worlds, outer and inner. Every thing is exactly where Allāh ﷻ intends for it to be, and no event is accidental or irrelevant. So every moment is profound and contains the seeds of spiritual opportunities, however quiet and unassuming the moment may appear. We, however, are challenged to sustain awareness, presence, and gratitude. Time is precious, yet how many of us squander it carelessly? We are not given an eternity to realize the ultimate purpose of life. It has been said by so many wise elders that life is actually quite fleeting, as if a lifetime is a mere blink of an eye. So use your time wisely.

Intentional experiences —rites of passage, spiritual quests, pilgrimages— are microcosms of life’s journey, wherein the Almighty ﷻ moves us through the major themes of existence in a short span of time, so that we might reflect on the questions of ultimate concern. Ramaḍān is one such experience. Ramaḍān is not so much an event that happens every year as it is a gift that each individual is given. The illumination you receive from it depends on how much you show up for Ramaḍān. And only Allāh ﷻ knows if you will be given another Ramaḍān.

I suggest that you take some time to give thoughtful consideration to the following questions. What intention(s) did you make to frame your Ramaḍān? Did your intention focus your time or limit it? Or was it open-ended to the point of not providing sufficient direction? What were your specific goals and objectives? How well did you achieve what you set out to do? What personal limits did you encounter? What steps did you take to correct them? Does your strategy get to the root of your issues, or is it a superficial fix? What did you learn about yourself —your false self and your true self? How will you carry the successes of your Ramaḍān into what remains of your life? Will your Ramaḍān resolutions come to an end? Will the vices you renounced be resumed? Or did you manage to do your part and be graced with liberation? Will your sacrifices ripple into future generations? Or do they stop with you? Will you build on the progress you made? Or is it on hold until the next Ramaḍān?

If you take the time to be considerate about this month, you will effectively be containing and integrating its blessings into your Body-Mind-Soul. Since the life of this world is characterized by distraction and dispersion —often leaving one confused, scattered, aimless, or preoccupied— the opportunity of a blessing received can easily be squandered. It becomes ever more important to hold mindful presence of Allāh ﷻ like a sword and shield, ever on guard against the tendencies of the soul and the pull of the world. Catch the currents of grace by setting an intention for your time until the next Ramaḍān, and as a preamble for the rest of your life. Live intentionally, so that your final departure from this life is a spiritual victory, as when Imām ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib ع said after being fatally stabbed by a poisoned dagger while prostrating in prayer, “By the Lord of the Kaʾaba, I am victorious!” And Allāh ﷻ knows best.


© Ḥakīm Ilyās Kāshānī