Be the Cause

A Sikh Ramadan

I too, along with most of my friends, wondered why this Ramadan, I had decided to fast. There is nothing in fasting or sacred baths (states Gurbani), only meditation on the name of God matters. So why do millions forego the sacred right to eat during the day for an entire month? What is so spiritual about denying yourself your human needs?

This Ramadan, as asteroid dust drew up the sky like fireworks, I fasted. To discover what it means to be Muslim; To deny myself the food that so many go without; To attain a higher level of consciousness.

To attain global peace we need global understanding. We have to invoke that vision of ourselves that is compassionate to one another’s needs, thoughts and behaviors. I attempted to be one step closer to understanding my Muslim brethren.

But as 4:57pm rolled along and my appetite grew exhausted, it was no longer about religion. Eating after the days fasting made me realize that I still had more to eat that most people on the planet. Why is it that I had plenty of food and water after only 13 hours of fasting while most go days without the same bare necessities? The hunger I felt at 5pm is a hunger that most live with their entire lives. And here I was, gorging on dates, bread, rice, washing down the entire 13 hours spent earlier. I wondered what it would be like to live without food or water for an entire week. I did feel fortunate for the food I had, but also felt far removed from the average human being.

Ramadan also brought me closer to self realization. As each moment of hunger passed I felt invincible, impregnable. Nothing could effect me. I felt a calm I had never experienced before. In the past, hunger had always irritated me, now it comforted me. I felt as if I could give up anything in the name of God, even life. A friend of mine once stated that you find energy in everything you do when doing God’s work. Truth is, I don’t really know if God wanted me to fast, it doesn’t matter, I felt closer to her for my own sake, closer to my fellow Muslims.

This Ramadan, I cleansed myself internally, eternally. This Ramadan I attempted to rid myself of sins committed years ago, lives ago.

This month I found myself breaking fast with strangers. We came from different countries, spoke different languages, the moment of kindness was the common bond between us. This month I fasted, I honored my Muslim brothers and sisters in their age-old tradition. This Ramadan I felt closer to God.

In the name of Nanak, I am Muslim. Eid Mubarak.

— Chughzy


God was the first to arrive. His eyes wandering as if he was unsure of himself, almost expecting everyone to be watching him. But no-one really noticed his entrance. The waiters went about their business, the patrons went about theirs. One customer lifted his head, unsure whether the lights had truly brightened or whether his eyes were just tired. God waited, to be seated. I could tell he looked uncomfortable. He just hoped his party would arrive soon.

So finally he sat, at a table in the back, with his white robe, white hair, white beard. The only dark was in his eyes and in his face. It appeared as if he had no shadows.

He grew nervous as the waiter approached. “Can I get you something to drink?”, beamed the waiter. But God did not understand the art-form of restaurants. How ever move was watched and studied. It was not a dining experience but rather a test on socioeconomic standing. The higher your status the better your performance. God, being the leader of the poor, stumbled at his words and responded simply that he was waiting.

The waiter, unsure of what to bring, left with a disturbed look. It was an awkward moment. God truly loved the waiter, just couldn’t communicate with him in that setting. If only the waiter had looked into God’s eyes he would have known, all would have been understood.

The waiter returned with water but didn’t say a word. God responded with an attempted smile, but the waiter was quick to leave. Was this really the right setting for this meeting? God pushed that thought aside for he knew that his invitees preferred this type of dining experience. God would just have to stick it out, sacrifice was his nature.

Jesus’ birthday was around the corner, Moses was preparing for Hanukkah and of course, today Mohammed was celebrating Eid. What better an opportunity to bring all three together and finally discuss the future of Jerusalem? So much damage had been done, too much hate, too much anger, for far way too long. God now felt that he had to intervene. It couldn’t go on any longer. God would bring all three together during their festive holidays and pep them up into an agreement. The Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, coming together for the sake of the holiest of cities, Jerusalem.

God smiled to himself and for a moment he didn’t care where he was or who he was. All that mattered was the cause. Peace in Jerusalem, “Hallelujah”, cheered God to himself. Had he been at his home he would have surely let out a thunderous joyous roar to awaken the heavens.

But would his party ever show up. The upscale atmosphere was beginning to seep into God’s state of mind.

God passed time by overlooking the menu. Mohammed would order dates as appetizers, Jesus would ask for the finest bottle of red wine, Moses would do with bread and water. God himself, however, would continue to fast.

The waiter returned, irritated, his patience growing thin. No appetizers were ordered, the waiter was wasting his time, the establishment was wasting theirs. It is a business after all.

God knew this but kept his mind preoccupied with the problem and its solution. He was afraid that his three prophets would start to argue with one another as they had done in the past. They were such kids, each thought that God loved them most, but all were God’s children, loved equally.

God thanked that they were late, gave him time to collect his thoughts for the dinner. He would ask them to show the world that Muslims, Jews and Christians loved one another. That is all he could ask. He would ask each of them to meet with the political leaders to create a unified yet diverse Israel. The world was not ready for a unified religion, or a philosophy of no religion, but Israel could be converted into a model society for all humanity.

A program of religious education and awareness coupled with inter-community faith events would have to be created. Voluntary disbandment of all weapons. Under no circumstances would violence result in further retaliation. People would be asked not to kill in the name of God but rather to be prepared to die for the sake of peace. Eventually the haters would be exhausted by their own hate. There would be no more retaliatory hate to inflame the already angry men. Yes, God followed Gandhi’s philosophy, yes God was a dreamer. But if it could be done, only God could do it.

So he called the dinner, to talk through the issues and walk through a plan. God cheered up. He honestly believed it could happen, it would happen.

Then he heard something, he smiled. A lady screamed and murmurs floated in the establishment. The patrons must have recognized Jesus, God thought. God’s uneasiness left him. The restaurant would treat him better now that his recognized prophets were here.

But the murmurs turned into screams of shock and horror. Where he sat, in the back, God couldn’t actually see what was happening. Almost floating, he turned towards the front of the establishment. Hell’s Fire, he thought to himself. A car parked in front of the restaurant was entirely engulfed in a raging flame.

Car Bomb!

— Chughzy

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