Staying Power

The Day of Celebration is over,
and now returns
the whisperings
and sweet temptations:
shayateen released,
trying to despoil
all we gained
in the 30 days and nights
whose faint scent still lingers.

Tightly wound were we,
imaan at a high,
daily siyaam
nightly qiyaam
dhikr
tahajjud
Quran
dua…
generosity,
beautiful character,
and the spirit
of all things good,
rolled tightly
into this communal experience…
a manifestation of our very best.

The perfect recipe to
elevate the soul,
depressing the nafs…
a beast restrained,
humbled,
submitting to the Higher Call.
Trained over weeks
to live in obedience
to He Who gifted
us this season of serenity.

But now that the chains are gone,
with boundary lines
still drawn in the sand,
will we venture beyond?
Will we walk
close to the edge,
tempting transgression?

A slip is all it takes
to pull us back in
to the spiral of sin.

“It’s just one episode.”
“Just one movie.”
“One game.”
“One song.”
“What could go wrong?”

And while relaxation balances our spirits,
we must engage
within predefined personal limits,
lest we indulge
again
and again
and again,
ghafla
growing stronger,
unravelling the beautiful quilt
of taqwa
we so painstakingly sewed.

So,
while the feeling is still fresh,
and the heart is clean,
let’s polish the vessel
which guides our entire being.

Continue
with deeds that light the way
to our success both
here and Hereafter.

Whatever it was
we found spiritual elevation in,
maintain it in some way:
remain steadfast,
and Allah will bless
deeds that are consistent,
even if they be less.

Shawwaal is here.
A new age.
A new life.
A chance to be true.

To strive.
To thrive,
To stay
the best version of you.


Glossary (for those of other faiths):

  • shayateen: Devils, which were chained up in Ramadaan
  • siyaam: Fasting
  • qiyaam: The ritual prayer (salaah)
  • dhikr: Remembrance of God, often by way of verbalised phrases of praise
  • tahajjud: Early morning prayer in the last third of the night, which is an extremely potent time of spirituality
  • dua: Supplication to God
  • nafs: The self. Also translated as “psyche”or “ego”.
  • ghafla: A state of negligence and heedlessness. In the Islamic context, forgetting God and one’s divine origins, or being indifferent of these.
  • taqwa: A state of consciousness of God.

Original photo by Ann Savchenko on Unsplash

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