Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Living Nights


If sleep could be likened to a temporary death, when one feels nothing, sees and hears none and makes contact with another realm, the subconscious or the inner self, however you like to call it, then staying awake at night could be likened to another life. Night becomes an opportunity to live in another dimension, a revival . That is probably the concept behind the "Living Nights" that we have in Ramazan. The idea is to stay awake on certain nights which are known to be nights of Ghadr or Measure. It is like the opportunity to measure yourself realistically and to find out how much you meet the standards or how much you have fallen off course. There are certain equations in Ramazan , which could be rooted in the fasting and serious restraint from wrong doings , that make that inner self more accessible. In those nights, flight and access to the realm of the spirit, that which we have so wrongly forgotten , for the sake of a dazzling and charming yet deteriorating and entropic world, becomes possible. It is as if the heavens are closer or those who have fasted have become lighter.


Then if a soul is revived, it would be possible to revive a society. If a leader revives his soul, then he would not rule on the basis of selfish, arrogance and vengeance. His leadership would stem from love, passion and altruism.


It is a common spiritual experience, for followers of divine religions and the believers. In Tehran, I met Archbishop Capucci, a Palestinian clergyman who had fought against Israeli occupation and aggression. He told us how he was treated in Israeli prisons , how he was given dog food and how they spat in the food to humiliate the Palestinians. That was in 1979 way before the Intifada, but the Islamic Revolution had given their cause a new life and spirit. " I lost a lot of weight " he said " but that made me lighter , and my spirit could fly easier and higher..."

7 comments:

Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like this blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is not good.
A hug from Portugal

niloofar said...

Dr. Ebtekar joon, may God accept your "living nights" prayers and your spiritual cleansing in this holly month of Ramazan! please don't forget us sinners in your prayers, those of us who have lost touch with their spiritual sides, due to living in materialistic societies! pray for our souls as well, you're closer to God on these 3 nights than we can ever be on any other night!

Thank You God for having given us Mowla Ali, the morality teacher of more than a billion Muslims around the world!
the same words that our Christian brothers and sisters sing about one of humanity's foremost morality teachers: Jesus Christ the Messiah, we Muslims too shall all sing those same words about Jesus Christ's Muslim follower, our Mowla ALi-ibn-AbiTaleb:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now am found, once blind, but now I see!

kathy said...

very moving post here Dr. Ebtekar! thanks for reminding me of the good old days of my teenage years when i had become quite religious and pious there for a while, fasting during Ramazan and observing these "Ghadr" nights as the spiritual "living nights" that they are, "yadesh be kheir"!

speaking of spirituality, Islam, and being moved, i must put this link here for your readers (fortunately it's in English),

http://www.nehzateazadi.net/english/pope.htm

b/c i could not stop my own tears as i was reading it, and i think that to the degree of it being an extremely moving and at the same time completely rational argument, it's something that should be posted all over the internet!

it is the response by one of Iran's scholars (the son of the late Prime Minister Bazargan) to Pope Benedict XVI after he had made such an unfortunate comment about Islam in one of his speeches 2 years ago. people, please read it!

fatemeh said...

Dr. Ebtekar, I just read your Persian language post on your Green Ebtekar weblog. It was quite a nice way of referring to today's Iranian politics by going back to the time of Imam Ali (PBUH)! Quite smooth and subtle!

Maybe it's time now for all the justice-seeking Iranian clerics and politicians who love and support the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri (who's 86 already), to come out and demand that he gets freed from the house-arrest which he was put under (in 1989)!

Maybe it's time that his voice gets heard and he is consulted about the new direction that IRI needs to take in order to correct the course of its deviated path (since 1980)!

Maybe he should be allowed to come out and spell it out for people, how on the dawn of the 4th decade of its history, the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 needs to get revived, and how its victory can be finally completed!

Maybe his is the only legitimate voice to now argue why it's time to hand the torch of Supreme Leadership from one Seyyed to another, now that one has achieved *Independence* and the other one is the only man who can bring *Freedom* to Iran!

The cat is all the way out of the bag now, so for those who were afraid of the TRUTH, there's no more reason to keep the moon under the clouds!

kathy said...

i hope the members and followers of the 11 year old movement called Reform, actually start unifying, organizing and solidifying their movement as a political party or coalition!

this can be done by beginning to share the spirituality of these "Ghadr" nights with members and followers of your predecessor movement, i.e., the 48 year old, organized and established Freedom Movement of Iranian revolution's founding fathers!

i hope you (Dr. Ebtekar) and other prominent Reformists (including Mr. Khatami himself) do get to go to such events as this "Ghadr" gathering in Zanjan:

http://www.nehzateazadi.net/bayanieh/87/87_n_0701_tav.htm

by doing that, you will be strengthening the movement through a show of support and solidarity with your other brothers and sisters on the left, who like you, are dedicated to true DEMOCRACY and freedom in Iran!

Holly said...

A couple days ago, Ahmadinejad spoke at United Nation. I was listening to him very carefully. As he spoke of Justice, Freedom, prosperity and nationwide love of Iranian people for their government I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe how wrong I was about this wonderful government of Iran. I grabbed my empty luggage and start to pack. I was so happy that at last I can go back home at least for a visit. You see, I believe in a Personal Principles that I would not go to any country even for a visit if their women do not have Personal Freedoms. I know that if you look closely at any country you will see flaws but, as a woman my fight is about Women Rights.
So I started to pack, all I could hear were words such as, Justice for all, Personal Freedom for all, Real Democracy and Free elections. Wow, I said to myself; I want to go to this country that Ahmadinejad is talking about. What a country, women have the right to practice Hejab or not. People can criticize their government openly and not be afraid of Hezbollah beating them up. I wonder how many Iranians like me will pack their bags, sell their businesses, and close their medical offices to go back to this haven called Iran and to this Real Democratic Government called Islamic Republic of Iran.
I called my friend to ask if she heard Ahmadinejad speech at UN and if she is going back to Iran? She laughed at me and said what he is saying is just a bunch of lies. I was dumbfounded again.
How could president of an Islamic country lie? Doesn’t he believe in Quran? Quran sees lying as one of the biggest sin. I know Bush lied to UN in 2003 about Iraq WMD but Bush is not a Muslim, his religion is not as complete as Islam and after all he is the president of “Great Satan” so as we know Satan allows lies. Even though Ten Commandments says “Thou Shall not Lie” American politicians lie.
But, for a head of Islamic government to lie with straight face that is one I cannot comprehend. So all the words he said about Justice, Freedom, and True Democracy were just BS? Isn’t he afraid of “Khoda be kamaresh bezaneh”.
One the other Personal Principle I believe in is that if someone lies there are two reasons for his or her lies:
Either the liar is afraid of something or someone.
Or that person who lies does not have any morals.
So which one pertains to Ahmadinejad, is he afraid or he is without Personal Morals. I cannot answer that question because I don’t know him as well as Iranian people who deal with him on a daily manner. As for me I unpacked my bags and decided to wear my jean and t-shirt, let my hair down and head to the library. I bet no one will stop me for what I am wearing or my hair showing in this great Nation of “Great Satan”. Next time I read the transcript of Ahmadinejad over a glass of Merlot I will laugh my A…, whenever I hear him saying, Justice for all, Personal Freedom and Freedom of Expression and Press for all.

Anonymous said...

i have a question?
it has nothing to do with this post, and it probably isn't something to ask here! but i just wanna know if any of your readers know:
"Where is Dr. Javad Zarif?"!!!!

ever since he left his old UN post, and went to UNESCO, there hasn't been any news of him anywhere on the internet!!!! i kept looking for him in the UN video of the UNESCO event this year where they were giving a Rumi award to President Kharzai, i thought for sure Dr. Zarif should be at that event, but no!!! :-(
i miss him soooooooo much!!!! please if you are in touch with him Dr. Ebtekar, tell him to start a weblog or something, the world needs to hear from him!!!!!
God Bless Dr. Zarif!