I wrote, previously, about how I was taking these final 10 days of Ramadaan off for my own part-time itikaaf, and what I hoped to achieve in that time. Now, as I near the end of that period (which has actually only been 5 days – the working week), I see what I’ve been missing all these years.
One of the speakers I listen to often – Shaykh Hussain Abdul Sattar – once mentioned how the default for a human soul, the natural inclination (“fitra”), is towards spirituality. But for the most part, we live and operate in environments counter to that spirit. And so, our souls can drown in the day-to-day activities of life, and the environments so focused on the outward – which gets much more emphasis than it should. We lack balance, and so our souls are not nourished as they should be, while our bodies and minds are given most of the attention. (More about that here.)
And it’s not easy to get away from that – because we need to live in this world. We need to earn a living, take care of family, and do all the other things that come with the life of this world. But when we get a chance to escape it all, that’s when we can invert the equation. And that comes in the itikaaf period.
By simply removing yourself from the normal routines and environments, your soul naturally rises. Mentally, you no longer have the chains of work to worry about. Then, by placing yourself in solitude in a blessed environment (the masjid), you take another step towards inner peace and purification. Add to that an abundance of extra acts of worship – in these blessed final 10 days of Ramadaan – and it’s an even greater spiritual boost.
I’ve felt it. Even though I’ve done far fewer acts of worship than others, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s not about quantity. I’d venture to say, in this specific context, it’s not even about quality either.
For me, it’s about one thing: connection. Connection to the Almighty. And that comes – for me at least – in isolation from everyone and everything. For me, the few actions of worship – Quran, salaah, dua, dhikr – act as a means of getting to that point of connection; when the heart can once again feel that intimacy with its Creator. It’s a feeling that nothing can match. A goal above all other goals.
And it’s something that can be more easily achieved in times like this.
It’s a freedom – a liberation – from the ordinary. Because even the normal, day to day acts of worship – salaah, Quran, etc – can take on the feeling of routine. They can lack depth and feeling, because they are just scattered fragments floating in an otherwise dominant ocean of everyday life.
But when you consciously leave that ocean, and give your soul the intense attention it needs, the results are beautiful. The heart is uplifted. The spirit is enlivened. You find energy you never had before. You feel alive. You feel connected, once more, to your true purpose. To your most noble ambitions and spirit which got buried under the dust of life.
I haven’t felt it in a long, long time. And, chances are, I’m not going to experience this again for quite some time. But I’m just immensely grateful that I’ve had this window of peace – to reconnect and find that which used to be so close to me all those years ago.
Alhamdullilah – the barakah of Ramadaan is amazing. And I wish this month would never end….