Friday, August 5, 2011


Today I was involved in a friendly Facebook discussion on the meaning of divinity.  Now, my idea of God is not like most.  To me, “God” is an energy; a universal love.  Love is something that is central to all of the world’s major traditions.  That’s why I feel a special connection to my many Muslim sisters and brothers during this month of Ramadan.  I take my relationship to those who share in this universal love beyond friendship.  If you believe in love, and believe in practicing it in your life, you are a sibling of mine; a spiritual sibling.  My religion is love, and love is inclusive not exclusive. 

Love IS divinity.  If one focuses their vision, one can see love in all facets of the universe.  Chardin has mentioned that even evolution shows the principles of love.  It is a Capitalistic society that sees Darwin’s ideas as “survival of the fittest” and counter to love.  No, if we view it as the coming together of ever increasing complexity and consciousness, then that is unity, and unity is a form of love.  Evolution is perfectly compatible, in my humble opinion, with religion, and science and religion do not have to be at odds.  They can be united in the truths that both aspects of humanity have found in the universe.

I had asked a few of my Muslim friends for responses on what they thought about Ramadan; both in general, and if they had any particular thoughts about a Ramadan memory from a certain year.  I received a response from a dear sister, whose name I’ll keep anonymous, and I enjoyed this statement in particular as it contained a universal truth:  “You have to train yourself to do good and not just run behind your desires. I feel peace in this month.”  Ramadan, due to my Christian background (I no longer consider myself a Christian or belonging to any one religion) has been shut out of the education I received growing up.  I believe that to be true of many in the West, and I don’t need to go on in this context about the misunderstandings we have of Islam here in the United States and many parts of Europe. 

Many know that Ramadan is first and foremost a recognition of Allah’s delivered message to The Prophet in the form of the Qur’an.  The Qur’an states that Allah “sent down the Criterion to His servant, that it might be an admonition to all worlds”.  This is the month for Muslims to recognize and give praise to Allah for sending the divine message.  It is a time for self-discipline, for peaceful relationships, for communal gatherings after sunset, for a commitment and a goal in the ritual of fasting, and for prayer.  Everything in Ramadan represents love, and that is where I find common ground with my Muslim sisters and brothers, even though I am not Muslim. 

It is especially bittersweet, and therefore significant, that Ramadan is occurring this year during a great time of social upheaval in the Arab world.  I stand strongly against the structures of power that kill, maim, torture, kidnap and beat their fellow Muslims for wanting a more peaceful existence; a more conducive environment to experience the divine, and the freedom (physically, socially, psychologically and spiritually) to practice the love that is expressed through Ramadan. 

At the same time, all this social upheaval gives hope.  People are realizing the power that they have; good power in the form of taking control of their own lives, and working with their fellow citizens.  So, to all in the Arab world, and to all Muslims as you celebrate Ramadan this season, may you be blessed now and always.  May the universal love that finds us all touch you and those around you.  May these expressions of solidarity of the people create a truly free environment and not lead to further repression.  I stand beside you as you fight for justice, love, peace, non-violence and commitment to the discipline that is exemplified through your faith.  Further, I invite and welcome your comments about anything I may have said about Ramadan that you might not agree with.  Please, be open and let’s discuss.  Let us all continue the ongoing dialogue and let us keep talking.  That is the only way peace and understanding can be maintained in our increasingly complex world.  Salaam. 

Tim ~ First Friday of Ramadan 2011

No comments: