Ramadan Log Day 2: Striving to be a Servant

Thank God for Tuesdays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my easy days. I only work a couple of hours, and I don’t start until the afternoon. That means I had all morning to sleep in until my heart’s content. ❤

I realized today that it was around this time last year that I was applying for this very job. Last Ramadan, I had spent the month searching and applying to various places for an internship for the coming fall. I remember writing to you all how frustrated I was and how worried I was that no one would hire me. Low and behold, nearly a year later I not only got the internship I was so stressed out about getting, but I am now a formal employee at the same place. Alhamdulillah, things really do work out.

I discovered something today. On my way home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I happen to pass right by a masjid. Since reading Qur’an is proving to be difficult on Mondays and Wednesdays, I figured I would try making up for it on Tuesdays and Thursdays by stopping by the masjid on my way home from work and spend time reading Qur’an there. I tried it today, and worked out really well.

To my surprise, I had pretty much the entire prayer area to myself. I prayed Dhuhr, and then had the peace and quiet only solitude can provide to read my Qur’an. It was so beautiful and serene. There really is nothing comparable to sitting in the masjid itself and reading Qur’an. The peace that falls upon you is just indescribable.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that one of my goals was to choose an English book to read, and I think I found one! My mom lent me her copy of The Most Beautiful Names by Sheikh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti. It is a compilation of God’s 99 names, as mentioned in the Qur’an. Along with each name is about a page of meaning and commentary. Mentors of mine have often encouraged reciting and contemplating Allah’s 99 names, but I admittedly have done little to incorporate them into my life. Right now, I would only be able to translate maybe four off the top of my head. I am hoping that this book can give me some understanding and appreciation for the importance of the 99 names.

It looks like I will have to read three to four names a day to finish by the end of the month, so each day I will pick one of those to share on this blog. Today, I want to talk about the first: Allah. It isn’t one of the 99 descriptors of God, but it was what the book opened with and it had a very beautiful description. The writer talks about the perfection of this name, and then goes on to mention the value of the name “Abd-Allah” or “Abdullah.” As a kid, I remember being told that Abdullah was the best possible name a person can have, and I could never understand why. It translates to “Servant of God.” Why would someone want to be called a servant or slave? Wouldn’t that be the lowest place a person could be?

A lecture given by Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans changed that perception for me. He agreed that “servant” and “slave” have very negative connotations in our rhetoric, but that is because it is most commonly referred to a human serving another human. In the case of “Abd-Allah,” the human is serving God. That form of servitude is an honor rather than a burden. To make this point even clearer, he gave us this example: Take an intern. Interns are the ones who classically do the boring work and make coffee runs. Not something most are proud of. Now imagine being an intern in the White House. Those with that job would be proud to brag to others that they intern for the president himself. Now if we think of God, the Creator and most powerful being in existence, working for Him would be the honor to knock out all honors. That is the meaning behind the name Abd-Allah. It is a title that Muslims strive for and should be proud of having.

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