Departure of the Queen

Well, I have to confess, I am beginning to wax a little melancholy as the ending of this auspicious month approaches. Today, I returned to my solitary suhur, then walked beneath the canopy of trees toward the mosque for morning prayer and muraqabah, or meditation. The stars were still shining like brilliant diamonds in the deep dark sky.

I did search for a glimpse of the moon, so I could check our progress toward the final day, but alas, he was not visible between the tall trees. Or perhaps he (using the gender ascription of the Arabic, since pronouns are arbitrary functionaries of language anyway) had already set for the night. I will need to look for him where I last saw him, and when I last saw him: on this road toward the mosque, in the evening around tarawih time.

I have my flashlight handy because once I past the community kitchen, the darkness is overwhelming. But I only need it for a short while. After that I am surrounded by holiday lights in multiple colors and configurations. They celebrate this month with these decorations and it makes the last part of my solitary walk filled with both light and the deep darkness of the sky. These lights keep me from stumbling in the dark but do not interfere with the display of lights that shine from the stars.

Only a handful of people make their way to the mosque this morning. The shaykh and one man with 4 or 5 women. People are allowed to pray in their houses, you know. I come out to the mosque only because I am here for the company of my spiritual practice and the option to pray there brings me joy and comfort. I reflect back to the height of the weekend when guests and locals overflowed in the mosque, even spilling out to a tent set in the yard out front.

Perhaps what I am feeling is a loss from all this company celebrating this time with the Queen. She has not yet departed after all, and we are still honored by her visit. Perhaps it is the deafening silence of being so removed from the hustle and bustle of the cities and even from my own family that makes me feel a bit melancholy. I should probably catch ride outside the gates of the estate where I can have bars for my cell phone and get in touch with them later today.

Before the shaykh arrives, I continue with my Qur’an reading. I don’t use the tiny mp3 player anymore because this last juz’ includes most of the Qur’an that I have memorized myself, and this is more a review than a simple reflective read. Coming to the end of the Qur’an reading is also melancholy, and I forget why I felt I should rush just a few days ago. How will I put my friend down, except for the many occasions I use it in my work, after this?

Oh, I know. In my next entry I will tell you the story of meeting this blessed book and how it transformed my life. Although nearly 40 years ago, it still takes my breath away in beauty and wonder. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far through this Queenly visit of Ramadan without telling the story of the Qur’an and me.

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