In redemption days hoping for better

Arzu Karya Uranli
Arzu Karya Uranli


Date posted: August 7, 2013

Arzu Kaya Uranli

“If the brain and the belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire. The fog clears, and a new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you.”

-Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi

We are in the very last days of Ramadan, the sultan of the other 11 months. It is a very special month for Muslims aiming to get closer to God by reading the Quran to understand its message, donating to charity, practicing self-control and showing inclusive thanksgiving. The sincere aim is to improve ourselves spiritually and our relationship with others.

My Ramadan in the US has been quite delightful so far. I have been to many iftars (fast-breaking dinner) of friends, associations, cultural centers and observing all the joyful spirit of the special month.

Ramadan awards us fasting to explore and discover new things deep inside of us, life and religion. Every year I’m amazed to find a new angle to see my surroundings through Ramadan’s lens.

The theme of the iftar dinners at Turkish Cultural Centers in the US is ““Understanding hunger and poverty by fasting” this year.

According to UN statistics, one child dies every six minutes due to hunger. The Turkish American community in the US organized a fundraising campaign with the Helping Hands Relief Foundation to send donations to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya during Ramadan to help to set up their iftar tables.

Yet, “There is more than one type of ‘famine’!” claimed Imam W. Deen Shareef from Irvington Waarith ud Deen Mescid during a Peace Islands Institute (PII) iftar. He pointed out that the United States Declaration of Independence identifies certain innate human rights which we are responsible for preserving.

“They are given by the Creator and not to be taken away by any government, agency or person. These are ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ For the believers of Islam, and observers of fasting, these are part of the fitra [the original human pattern] that Ramadan aims to restore to the human constitution,” he declared.

By reminding us that every human being seeks to be fed the necessary food for physical, mental and spiritual nourishment to grow his or her rights and duties, Imam Shareef proclaimed that “my race, religion, ethnic background, gender, traditional or cultural attire — whether I wear a hoodie or a hijab — are not to be used as weapons to oppress or persecute my potential or deprive me of these innate human rights and responsibilities.”

Actually, this year the most inspirational and memorable event for me was the PII’s iftar, not only because of Imam Shareef’s moving speech but also because I witnessed a wonderful experiment. A great friend of mine, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino, was there, too. He has been attending the PII’s iftar dinners for three years. He decided to fast that day for the first time in his life to experience what fasting is really like in the Islamic way. His greatest inspiration was a young Muslim man who was taking the Police Academy’s exams which Saudino was observing. Even though the physical activities were so heavy under the hot sun, this young man didn’t give up fasting for two weeks during the assessment period even though he was warned about possible fatigue and dehydration problems.

Sheriff Saudino wanted to fast that night to honor him. He was inspired by this young man’s faith along with his determination to fast and more than 200 people at that event were inspired by the sheriff’s gracious effort to empathize with this young man.

Without any question Sheriff Saudino was the star of the night when he announced that he completed his first fasting experience without any problems, while of course that young man became a nameless hero in our hearts with his great intentions.

In conclusion the beginning part of Ramadan is a period for mercy, the second part is for forgiveness and the last but the most meaningful period is for redemption and renewal. Imam Shareef made it clear when he pointed out that “one of the significance signs to note is that it [Ramadan] occurs on the ninth month of the lunar calendar,” suggesting birth of life. But what life is to be born?

No doubt, fasting creates a state of mind that can be achieved through true effort. It can be the evolution of personal understanding and brings personal revival. It elevates our minds, removes selfishness from our hearts and increases our awareness of others. If we fast properly, we can detoxify our soul and spirit, thereby purifying ourselves.

Even though people have a tendency to sleep more in ‪Ramadan, it’s the time to wake up. Can we?

Source: Today's Zaman , August 3, 2013


Related News

Humanity needs a touch of magical interfaith dialogue

ARZU KAYA URANLI I grew up in a Western, secularist, modernist educational system in Turkey. Then, when I was a young teacher fresh out of college, I was appointed by the Turkish government to teach literature in a religious school that was geared toward raising imams and religious lecturers for mosques. As I first encountered […]

What’s Friendship Got to Do With [Mr. Gulen’s] Extradition?

On a visit to Washington to lobby for Gülen’s extradition, Nationalist Action party parliamentarian Kamil Aydin expressed his belief that “America is going to refuse losing Turkey as a good partnership in the region.” But even if Turkish politicians do not believe that America operates according to the rule of law, they should at least be aware that most Americans are proud to think that it does.

Turkish American ‘balance alignment’

Ali H. Aslan, Washington D.C. If, when I began working in Washington 16 years ago, someone had come up to me and said, “The day will come when nearly 50 senators and representatives from the US Congress will participate in a Turkish gathering,” I would have said he was dreaming. And if someone had also […]

Amir Hussain on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet Movement

Dr. Amir Hussain is a professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. He has written numerous scholarly articles, and his area of research is on the study of Islam, specifically contemporary Muslim societies in North America.

TAA refutes claim tying US genocide resolution to Hizmet

The Turkic American Alliance (TAA) has refuted the pro-government daily Sabah’s and Yeni Şafak’s claims of “treachery,” linking the Hizmet movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, with the passing of an “Armenian genocide” resolution at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Gulen’s Outreach for Alevis

Zaman newspaper’s journalist Huseyin Gulerce’s words ‘ The government has been putting the Alevis off for seven years. This is a shame’  received support from the Alevis. Huseyin Gulerce, one of the leading figures of the Fethullah Gulen community (Gulen or Hizmet movement) and a journalist for the Zaman newspaper said that the AK Party […]

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Did Erdogan STAGE the coup?

Hiring based on ‘color lists’ a violation of Constitution, analysts say

German intel expert says, based on CIA, BND reports, Erdoğan was behind failed coup

Saving the soul of Turkey [amid the graft probe]

Georgia revokes decision to freeze Gulen-linked university’s student intake

Fethullah Gülen’s Statement on the Shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada

Foreword to “The Gulen Movement: Civic Service without Borders”

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News