Sunday, 18 December 2011
Allah, in other words.
Ever since the commencement of Muharram, and even more so since the Christmas period came upon us, I’ve been pondering the question of my own personal connection with God, with Allah (SWT). It’s a question I think we all return to, and all are forced to reflect upon at various junctures during our earthly journey. Sometimes my connection feels good, feels strong and in sink; but more often than not, I feel detached, disconnected, unable to establish what I often think of as that broadband connection with Allah (SWT) that all believers need as a pivotal force for their continued earthly growth and sustenance. Muharram seemed to bring it home to me, because I was spending more time in the mosque. Cramped up against the wall with chatting women and screaming children all around me, I felt defeated, angry at myself for not getting in to the zone or not being so at ease with the environment as they seemed to be. I felt uncomfortable in the mosque, and disjointed when I chose to worship at home, as though I had let the community down by preferring disassociation. These issues are all connected to other issues, possibly warranting posts of their own, but all of them pointed back to one thing for me; prayer! Salat after all, is the driving force; the backbone of the Muslim’s constant communication with Allah (SWT). I perform ablution, I dress in hijab; and I stand reverently reciting the Arabic words, yet it doesn’t feel right, doesn’t feel deep enough to reach the places where my heart yearns to go! Often I feel as though, if I could just find the words, not any words, but the right words, then the connection would feel real. I want to be able to communicate with my Allah in the way I can type on this blog, in the way that I can lift the phone to a dear friend, or share a few lines via twitter! And its twitter that answered my question! How often have you marvelled at all the infinite possibilities you can convey in 140 characters? I used to think that some one who rambles as much as I do would never be able to fit in to such a concise little box (you know me, I’m not good with conforming and boxes!), yet twitter works for me and for billions of others around the world! This theme was further emphasised while listening to ‘Something Understood on Radio 4 this morning, as they discussed the 99 words that summarised life! It was deeply moving listening to the poetry, music and words of choice that people had chosen to illustrate the meanings of their respective journeys. As I listened, I realised that I could place the words in to 2 categories; attributes, such as goodness, love, kindness, passion etc, to nouns like birds, trees, flowers, animals, rain. These attributes must surely feel familiar to you; after all, most of them are encapsulated within the 99 names attributed to Allah (SWT). As for the nature and the nouns; aren’t they all designed by the one who holds all manner of beautiful attributes? And how relevant it was, that they chose 99 words, out of all the numbers they might have chosen! That’s when I realised; that connecting with the creator is not quite the great mystery many religious scholars would have us believe! Hadaith tell us that the qur’an can be summarised in 3 recitations of sura ekhlas! Yet the first word of the Qur’an to be revealed was ‘Iqra (Read). Reading will take you on all manner of journeys, to all kinds of exciting or disturbing places, life changing places and mundane spaces, yet to really connect with the creator is to strip back all of the knowledge we try to hide behind. It is to tare open the heart and connect at an elemental basic level, where words and space and time become irrelevant, and only the relationship, the reality, exist. You don’t need philosophy to tell you that, nor do you need mosques books and academia to take you to that place. Use your own words, and trust the connection that is unique to your own soul; live it, breathe it, speak it and follow it; life, and loving Allah really are that simple!