Ramadan 1439: Arif Vakil

By Poornima Marh, TwoCircles.net

Mohammed Arif Vakil was raised in Dubai. He is trained Chartered Accountant from London, UK and has worked in Dubai before taking the role of director at Vakil Housing. He co-authored Sufi comics : Rumi, 40 Sufi comics and The Wise Fool of Baghdad.

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Arif is a family person, he has got 2 children. He is a passionate public speaker, who holds a keen interest in the area of education. He is also the co-founder and trustee of ILM Montessori. About his family he says “whatever extra time I have I try to spend maximum time with my family. Actually I should say reverse that I spend time with my family, and whatever extra time I have left, I work.”

When asked about Ramadan and his connection towards it he says “God says, ‘this is my month, I am the host, and you are my guests. Come! I invite you to my feast’.” He also narrated one of the poems of Rumi from his book. This poetry was about fasting. It says:

There’s a hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness,
We are lutes, no more, no less
If the sound box is stuffed full of anything, no music
If the brain and 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.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you are full of food and drink,
Satan sits where your spirit should
An ugly metal statue is in place of the Kaaba
When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help
Fasting is Solomon’s ring.

Don’t give it to some illusion and lose your power
But even if you’ve lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast,
like soldiers appearing out of the ground
pennants flying above them

A table descends to your tent, Jesus’ table
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table spread with other food
better than the broth of cabbages.

“There is something very special about Ramazan. I don’t have any top of the mind, clear thoughts to share, but truly this Ramazan I felt overly emotional than any other Ramazans, maybe that’s the case with every Ramazan, I don’t know. There is an instant expansion that I feel, when Ramazan is here. The whole routine is shaken up, you wake up early in the morning, your body is not ready to take food at the time, but still you have something and go on with the day. But internally there is a sense of peace, and God consciousness, and God presence. Your inner senses are heightened to such a state, perhaps like people who have gone through long periods of meditation.”

hH adds, “You become a third person and you start observing your thoughts, your emotions, from a viewpoint that you would not normally do, because in routine you are constantly stuck in this race. During this time you tell yourself ‘OK, hold on, now what do I do’ you start talking to yourself, asking yourself questions. It is in this month that your body is asleep, and the spirit is awake. I like listening to a lot of spiritual lectures and ask myself ‘why am I here, what’s my purpose, where am I going.’ When I look back at my life say 30-40 years from now, how can say that I have lived a meaningful life, fulfilled my purpose and given a meaningful life to those around me.”

TCN series: Ramadan 1439