WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Return and Remember

By Summer Albayati

“And celebrate the name of God, morning and evening.”
–Surah Al-Insan, 76:25

Many years ago I experienced a serious crisis of faith. I felt buried by pain and suffering, and I wasn’t sure if I would ever dig my way out to see the sun rise again. This crisis of faith took me on a journey to find myself, and to come to an understanding: in my suffering, there was a holy and sacred space.

A person in pink robes, mostly cropped out of the photo, holds a Qur'am and Muslim prayer beads.

Since the Prophet Muhammad first received a revelation of the Qur'an in the Cave of Hira–Ramadan is a celebration of this fact–I tried to embrace my crisis as an entrance to a cave that the divine had opened up for me. All I needed to do was enter, to seek refuge, and this I did.

It’s always a challenge to feel a sense of the holy when I go through difficulties. But it’s at that exact time that I need to find more time for prayer, study, and meditation. When the holy month of Ramadan approaches, it becomes a beautiful reminder to return to myself, and remember who I truly am and what the divine is calling me to become.

Ramadan is a time of going deeper into a spiritual oasis, like entering a cave for a few hours while I fast from bodily nourishment. It’s an invitation to pause for a whole month while I find spiritual awakening by studying the Qur’an more deeply, and performing embodiment prayers five times a day. It becomes a holy retreat from the mundane, even in the midst of the ordinary.

For thirty days, I fulfill my spiritual needs as if in great hunger for the divine spirit and, hopefully, I emerge from the cave transformed. This holy experience is the healing. This sacred time is an abundant act of love. And this is what I seek each year during this most blessed of months, so I can answer the call of the divine spirit.

What if I were to find spiritual nourishment by entering whatever doors opened up to the divine spirit on a daily basis? What if each day I awakened and began it in theological reflection, or praising the name of the divine each morning and evening? Who would I become?


Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim–Oh Blessed One, the One with Many Names, Holy Divine, answer our call as we seek doors to know you better and caves to provide us with spiritual respite and healing. Ameen.

About the Author

Summer Albayati

Summer, whose last name is pronounced el-bay-EH-tee, is a UU Muslim of Iraqi descent who brings extensive experience in leadership development, strategic planning, multiculturalism, curriculum development/programming, outreach, organizational development, grant writing, interfaith dialogue, confl...


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