Beloved Community Peace to your hearts, bodies, minds and souls.
Beginning with sunset last night we have entered the last ten days of the glorious Ramadan. May we feel gratitude flowing in every cell for finding ourselves participating in this enormous event of Ramadan, the last ten Days and the Night of Power enshrined within them. May we turn even more ardently in this culmination of the Month of Mercy to the Source of love asking forgiveness and mercy for ourselves and for all peoples.
When our beloved Prophet Muhammad, saws, was asked where to look for the Night of Power, he answered that the special night can fall anywhere in the year’s cycle but to look for it especially in the last ten nights of the Ramadan, and particularly in the odd nights. Last night, the twenty first, was an odd night. It was also the night commemorating the death of Imam Ali, who was struck during salat by his former servant with a poisoned sword and died three days later. Mustafa has sent out one of the prayers revealed through Imam Ali called Mashlul. It is one of three prayers translated by William Chittick and now reprinted by Pir Press.
The Ramadan is a time of manifest miracles. And the last ten Days, overflowing with the Mercy of the Beloved, are even more abundant in miracles, these visible Signs, Ayats, of Divine Mercy.
I would like to point out three Signs which came in this Ramadan that touch my heart. One is the recent legal ban on the class of pesticides called chloropyrifos that have inflicted damage to childrens’ nervous system and brains for years. They are part of organophosphates developed by the Nazis for chemical warfare and then repurposed as pesticides used pervasively on non-organic apples, strawberries, citrus, corn, broccoli and other fruits and vegetables(!) This breakthrough is the result of years of work, with many years of defeat, by a group called Earthjustice which defends the rights of the earth and its peoples. What a great relief to know that people will not be consuming this particular poison any longer.
The decision by the courts to force the hand of the Environmental Protection Agency is a Sign, an Ayat, to this faqir that the shrouds of destructive energies surrounding our human family are beginning to shred, to let in the light of truth and love.
The other two Signs are from a different direction.
One is the court decision on April 20 that the death of George Floyd constituted murder. It is not something to gloat over, rather it is for weeping. But at last there is a decision of justice in the courts given to the black community. May it be a part of overturning the desperate system of endemic racism and the abiding intention of undermining an entire noble people for hundreds of years using violence and shame. This court decision is also a Sign from the Ramadan.
The third Sign is the surfacing of the identity of the 14 year old girl kneeling at the side of the Kent State student who was one of four students shot to death by National Guard troops called in to stop the demonstration which formed in protest of Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia. The young girl, Mary Ann Vecchio, with her arms in the air in horror at what had just happened, was photographed by another student. The photo went viral and her life was changed. She had to go into hiding as much as possible. In a Washington Post article sent out by Zem Zem, who uses the famous photo for teaching her courses on racism and injustice, there is a brief account by the woman herself who was that girl. It is so touching. She emerges as one of Allah’s saints, hidden and even reviled for a large part of her life. And now Allah has sent out the news that she is a beloved - a beautiful Sign that Allah sees and loves those who persevere in good deeds and humbleness even when others do not recognize them. Her decision to come more into the open and allow a rare interview on her life story came when she witnessed the suffocation of George Floyd. She cried to herself, why does no one come to help?
I send these three Signs out because in our retreat we are not disconnected from the life of humanity. We are even more intimately connected. Through our desire for Allah and our longing to merge into Allah our heart opens out even more to others, weeping and rejoicing.
So let us use these last ten days to retreat even more deeply into the heart. Let us contemplate from there the magnificent Signs of Allah. Let us enter the field of Unity where there is unity of all peoples and unity of all beings with Allah, where there is only Allah. Let us enter the Dar as Salam, the heart of the Beloved.
This great secret
Allows me ceaselessly to see Your Face
As destined weeping and rejoicing flow
You are simply all that I am. (Nur al Jerrahi Ilahi 18)