Question: What are your suggestions for feeling the elation of the three months of Rajab, Sha‘ban, and Ramadan deep within us and making the most of their spiritual atmosphere?
Answer: First, we need to state that the three months are the most important blessed segments of time when believers can attain greatest proximity to God Almighty, become eligible for His immense mercy, and journey through the horizons of the heart and spirit by abandoning sins. Every year believers need a process of heavenly rehabilitation to purify the carnal self, discipline the spirit, and purify the heart. These months are a very important means to realize such rehabilitation.
Obviously, a person’s being able to rid oneself of carnal burdens, ascend to a certain horizon, and maintain a certain level of spirituality requires a serious devotion of remembrance and reflection. However, while doing this, one needs to keep the heart and spirit receptive to religion and spirituality. That is, as people try to grasp matters related to faith and the Qur’an with their mental powers and discussion, they should also try to benefit, sip-by-sip, from the showering of Divine blessings and light.
The One Who Cherishes the Divine Will Be Cherished
So many people have praised those special segments of time and have drawn attention to the various beauties of these blessed months in accordance with their viewpoint and horizons. Analyzing these invaluable works, word-by-word, through reading circles and internalizing their meaning are very important in terms of understanding and sensing the spiritual blessings these months can make one gain. In order to benefit properly from what is written about the three months, it is necessary to leave aside a causal manner of reading and delve into the depths of the issue. Otherwise, if such feeling and way of thinking are not developed, it will not be possible to thoroughly benefit from the sources about the three months.
In addition, for feeling the particular beauties of these three months and their delights that are reflected on human heart, it is necessary first to appreciate them as “the months full of surprising Divine gifts and favors” and then seriously try to make the most of their nights and days in devotions, without wasting a second. For example, those who do not determinedly wake up in the middle of the night for the supererogatory Prayer of tahajjud and turn to God in devotion, sipping the blessings of the night, cannot profoundly feel the spiritual beauties told about these months, taste them, or feel their delight. If somebody does not seriously maintain a state of metaphysical vigilance and become immersed in devotions with a consciousness of servitude, they cannot sense or feel the meanings these months convey, even if the blessings keep pouring down in abundance. They might even evaluate others’ statements about these segments of time according to their limited horizons and see those experiences as mere fantasy.
Benefiting from the abundant blessings of these days depends first on having belief in them and cherishing them. Attentiveness is reciprocal. If you are not attentive to the spirit and meaning found in these months, they will not open their doors to you, and the most enthusiastic statements about these months will remain faint in your sight. Even the touching expressions of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali or statements of Imam al-Ghazzali that move hearts with enthusiasm do not make sense to you, as the impact of a statement does not only depend on its real worth but also on the listeners’ mental and spiritual receptiveness to the issue, together with their viewpoint and intention.
In this respect, one must own the issue to the degree of being permeated by the hue of the sacred months; only then will they be able to hear and feel what those blessed months whisper into the human soul. If believers do not rid themselves from superficiality as well as their mundane routines and try to gain insight into these months’ truths, they will not heed even the most exquisite words expressed about these sacred months as they would go in one ear and out the other without any effect. Those who prefer acting lightheartedly, who do not exert an effort for self-renewal at a season of such abundant blessings, and who fail to act seriously can hardly benefit from these months.
Gatherings Becoming for These Heavenly Segments of Time
Another aspect of the issue is related to the societal spirit and general acceptance of the society. Nevertheless, feeling the true depth and immensity of the blessed months is an attainment peculiar to those who have deepened with respect to the horizons of their heart and spirit. It is a reality that Muslims have begun to grow aware of the value of these months, are attending to mosques, and are becoming oriented to God Almighty. Taking this valuable opportunity, it is possible to help people learn certain truths and feel these in their souls by different events and activities. In the same way it is possible to hold spiritual gatherings to appeal to the believers of this contemporary age during the blessed nights of Raghaib, Mi‘raj, Bara‘ah, and Qadr, with the condition of being true to the spirit of the religion. This will mean seizing the opportunity of making people closer to God and feeling the essence of religion within. It is also possible to make different gatherings more meaningful through reading circles or religious talks. Thus the expectations of believers will have been answered correctly.
I would like to draw attention to one more important thing that I have realized about these programs: all of such activities should be meant for helping people to become one more step closer to God Almighty with respect to their world of thoughts and feelings. If such events and activities do not take believers to their own identity and guide them toward finding themselves, then they are nothing but a waste of time. Instead of voicing Divine truths and evoking love for the Prophet, make God bless him and grant him abundant peace, making people enjoy themselves by appealing to their fancies and desires only serves to waste one’s time, and even can lead to transgression. Every means that does not take one closer to God Almighty and His Messenger is a delusion. It is not the job of devoted souls to make people have fun.
In addition, it is necessary to be aware that people of the modern age have a general inclination towards entertainment in terms of their lifestyles. For this reason, their positive response might be deceptive. By looking at their pleased manner, you may think you did a good job. What really matters, however, is whether what you did was right according to the criteria of the Qur’an and Sunnah, rather than catching their interest. In this respect, even if there is no large-scale attendance to a program, one should always seek the right conduct. In other words, what really matters is whether the program stands for anything meaningful in terms of hearts and spiritual life.
At such fruitful periods, when the heavens are filled with blessed light and the earth is adorned with heavenly tables, we should always guide people toward deepening their heart and spiritual life; we should always pursue sublime goals in everything we do. So much so that we should convey a new meaning and spirit into the hearts of people at every time, and let them set sail toward the horizons, always asking for more and more at spiritual journeying.
In order to realize all this, either traditional hymns, prayers, and eulogies in praise of the Prophet or new ones can be recited. But no matter what happens, with every gathering and activity, we must always try to evoke a yearning for eternal bliss in people and eventually help them awaken to the very spirit of religion.
This text is the translation of “Ruhumuzu Dinleme Zamanı: Üç Aylar“