“The gates of heaven are open, make supplication fast!”
Whenever it rains this is what comes in my mind after years of hearing my mother encourage me to make du’a when it rains, and when it rains in Cairo it doesn’t last long; hence the ‘fast’ prompt. Our window unit is currently getting soaked in a good heavy shower. The unit enhances the rain acoustics through our living room–a good sound– there’s also flashes of light and drums of thunder echoing in the distance. Here’s another thing you’ll often catch me doing in a thunder storm, if there’s a loud boom I will subconsciously start counting with loud whispers on my fingers “One. One thousand. Two. One thousand. Three…” another trick my man taught me when I first arrived to the mid west. “Every second counted in delay of the sound after the flash, means that the storm is a mile or two or three… away depending on the delay in seconds counted “one… oh my gosh it’s right above us!” I used to be terrified of thunder storms… also, basements.
I am still terrified of basements.
It’s a strange feeling to give up food and drink willingly when your fridge is stuffed full. Mind over matter. And the truth is if you eat, nobody will know… really, it’s this private act of worship between you and your lord. You made a deal, to abstain from your most basic needs from dawn till dusk. As the hours proceed, your body starts to slowly give in: Tiredness, thirst, hunger, fatigue, headaches. Your body gets weak and you realize you really are nothing, what’s the big fuss all about then? Your mind starts to remember all of your favorite dishes, the first thing that nags are sweets–the fastest source of energy. But water, oh my water! in these soaring summer temperatures, and so you splash your face with cold tap water and try to swallow the rock that has now hardened and refuses to move inside your neck. Yes water.
Umar Ibn Al Khattab is one of the five companions of Prophet Mohammad who were promised Jannah (May God give us paradise). He was known for his strength of will power. When asked about his three favorite things in dunya (earthly pleasures) one of them was fasting during summer hours (i forget the other two). Really!! my mind never understood this answer, out of all the pleasures in this world, one of his three favorites was fasting in hot summer hours?? The man lived in the Arabian dessert aka Saudi Arabia of today. It is indeed difficult to understand reason behind someone who has totally conquered his lower self and soared along side his spirit.
Maybe this is the reason behind his love for enjoying a hard form of worship, because he could taste the sweetness of the aftermath. Just like a good sweaty, aching, heart pumping workout and the high one gets after; knowing that, yes, this is good. Pain can feel good when you can visualize the results. Or even better live them as if they were already here.
So here it is. It’s real: The thirst, the fatigue, the dazed vision, it’s all here. Can you feel it? Oh this is going to be a good one. Trust me!
Shakleton had it right people.