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Ramadan Reflection Day 2: Lessons from the Light of a Candle

Posted: 07/21/2012 2:13 am

Imam Khalid Latif is blogging his reflections during the month of Ramadan, featured daily on HuffPost Religion. For a complete record of his previous posts, click over to the Islamic Center at New York University or visit his author page, and to follow along with the rest of his reflections, sign up for an author email alert above, visit his facebook page or follow him on twitter.

I woke up very excited yesterday about hosting our first fast-breaking iftar dinner at our Islamic Center at New York University and seeing faces that I hadn't seen for quite some time. My mind and spirit were both stuck in a bubble of Ramadan goodness and along with it I assumed the rest of the world was in a similar place. As news broke out of the shootings that took place in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, that bubble popped and reality stepped in hard. For weeks prior I thought of my Ramadan from a very introspective lens. The tragic news of lives lost and shaken in Colorado reminded me that there is a still a world that exists around me, and that world can be a tough place to understand sometimes.

What would compel any individual to have such disdain for something as sanctified and precious as human life escapes me. How is it possible for someone to commit such a heinous act of violence? To have such an utter disregard for others? Unfortunately, it is very possible and it happens every day by people of all backgrounds against others indiscriminately.

It's been a beautiful thing to see many share their thoughts and prayers and encourage others to come together to show solidarity and support for both those lost and those who have lost. It's unfortunate though that it takes tragedy to bring us together in ways that celebratory moments don't seem to. Really then how together are we? It is imperative that our generation moves beyond mere toleration and embraces a celebration of the diversity that surrounds us.

Hundreds have been gathering for candlelight vigils for those lost and in the coming days I am sure many more will do the same. A great lesson can be learned from those gatherings as each candle that is lit amongst all those who stand potentially started from just one flame sharing itself in its entirety and igniting an equal if not greater flame, yet losing nothing of its essence by doing so. The flame of each of those candles is most remarkable in that they give of themselves without condition, sharing their light in every direction possible with anything and anyone around it. Our giving and our sharing of ourselves has to be in a similar fashion but we won't be able to unless we start to really understand each other simply as people.

A funeral procession of a Jewish man once passed by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and he stood out of deference, indicating the importance of respecting this man by his words, "Is he not a living being?"

We should all take a moment to stand for those lost in Colorado and take steps towards each other in their remembrance, as well as all those who we have lost in all parts of the world at the hands of those who fail to appreciate the sanctity of that which we call life.

 

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