Assalamu alaykum family of believers,
I’ve written this letter to all of you as we begin this final push. I pray it is beneficial to those who are seekers of His pleasure, and for those who aim to adhere to the teachings of the beloved.
I pray that these days of Ramadan have been enlightening and the nights a means of bringing you closer to His pleasure.
I’ll be going into Itikaf in just a short while, and as per the school of Imam Malik, one enters the Itikaf before the night of the 20th, and does not exit until the morning of Eid after Fajr (Subh). Albeit, one complete night is still considered Itikaf.
It is disliked to do anything other than remember God, pray and read His words as the goal of Itikaf is solitude and sincerity.
These are two words that I would like you all to keep in mind during these final nights of Ramadan.
There is no spiritual path or religion that doesn’t highlight the importance of solitude; Whether it be the Catholic Monks in their Monasteries or the Buddhists in the mountains of Nepal. We live in a time where being alone is a scary matter. We love company, and we love to know that we aren’t alone. We will turn on the radio to refrain from a quiet ride, and we will turn on the television when home alone, anything so as not to be in seclusion with our thoughts.
That fear from solitude is not one with foundations in our faith.
We are never alone. Whether it be that we are surrounded by the angels who are tasked with protecting us, or it is God Himself, the One who is not bound by time or space and is everywhere, and yet nowhere, He never leaves us alone.
Is it not God that tells us that He is closer to us than our jugular vein?
Solitude from the people means closeness with the Divine.
I request you to think deeply about this during these last nights.
“Every deed is judged by its intention,” is the famed Hadith narrated by the Khalifa and Leader of the Believers, Umar Ibn al-Khattab. This narration lies in various books of the Prophetic tradition.
It is a reminder that good deeds aren’t enough except that they are accompanied by an intention to gain the pleasure of the Divine.
Our intention in this month (if you remember) is to attain closeness to God. Every fast, every prayer, every letter of the Quran that is read is done for this purpose.
Every dollar that is given in charity, every apology given to repair broken relationships, every tear shed is all for that single purpose.
It is sincerity that God looks at more than your bodies. It is the ultimate goal of the believer to act, breathe, and to live for His sake. To make our will in alignment with His own is the ultimate goal of life.
In conclusion, Solitude and Sincerity aren’t just two words that I’ve chosen to write about; they are two words with an intricate relationship.
There is no sincerity except that you have solitude in your heart. Except that you’ve left behind every distraction that takes you from Him, and fill your heart with His remembrance.
Also, there is no true solitude except that you sincerely seek Him out and are alone with Him. You are earnestly deciding with every fiber of your being that God is your sole goal.
This may be my last Ramadan, it may also be yours, and so I pray that it is accepted though I know I have done little to deserve it. I pray it for all of you as well, and I will always have you all in my most intimate of prayers with the Divine.
May this Ramadan be a month of immense forgiveness, of innumerable blessings, and of awakenings, whereby you can see with your heart that which the deaf, dumb and blind can neither hear, understand or see.
See you all on Eid!
Arthur K. Richards