Reflection on Juz’ 11 by Shamika A. Mitchell

O you who believe! Be conscious of God, and be with the sincere. — 9:119

Juz’ 11 (9:9311:5) Ethereal Ummah
A Sufi Sestina by Shamika A. Mitchell

This holiest month of Ramadan
is when we feast on knowledge, express and manifest love
for ourselves, Allah, and the entire Ummah.

All living things are filled with the spirit
that guides our endless journey of faith.
May we be granted travel mercies, inshaAllah. 

Every yesterday, every today and every tomorrow is a blessing, inshaAllah.
What are the Self-sacrifices we make, especially during Ramadan,

to bring us closer to understanding our faith?
Du‘a is a special kind of labouring, a limitless love
that is Selfless. We take all our tasawuuf spirit
and share enlightenment with an ethereal Ummah. 

Black holes and Dark Matter comprise most of the Ummah;
seekers of the LIGHT and holders of the FLAME, inshaAllah
all pilgrims sojourn through their nebulous spirit,
battling treacherous byways until reaching the respite of Ramadan.
Learning to live with less of the Self and with more of love

that is deeply defined and intrinsically inscribed by our faith. 

Our meditations remind us to question faith —
and be patient with our Selves for the sake of the Ummah.
No matter the direction we spin, we look towards love
and the continuing promise of mercy, inshaAllah.
Forgiving our Selves is a constant jihad, not only during Ramadan
do we fight to extinguish the EGO that haunts the spirit. 

Blessings can be planted, even in a flawed spirit
soil that incubates seeds of faith
to be harvested during Ramadan.
The fruits to be plucked and enjoyed by the Ummah
during iftar and suhoor and every moment thereafter, inshaAllah,
contain the richness of hope and the sweetness of love. 

A deliberate, delicate pairing is the bitterness of love
that devours the Self, distracting wayfinders from the guiding spirit
we walk further into the diabolical abyss, inshaAllah,
the labyrinth leads to TRUTH and WISDOM. 
Inscrutable dark matter envelops faith, 
starving us from our Selves and the entire Ummah.
We hunger for enlightenment and thirst for forgiveness during Ramadan. 
 
As we climb, each step holds love, bearing blessed weight of Ramadan 

and carrying us, inshaAllah. The Self is secured on the foothold of faith,
Supported by sublime spirit, we reach the summit, uplifting the ethereal Ummah!

This reflection is part of Sapelo’s Ramadan 2021 series. To read other reflections in the series click here.

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Photo of Shamika Mitchell

Dr. Shamika Ann Mitchell teaches English at Rockland Community College, State University of New York. Her interests are hip hop, American literature, comics, popular culture, ethnicity, identity and subjectivity. She is the creator of #SalaamFandom, an initiative to celebrate and uplift Muslims in all aspects of fandom. Dr. Mitchell’s writing has been published in various texts, most recently in Unstable Masks: Whiteness and American Superhero Comics and Nba Muslims-Black Muslim Reads. She is a member of Women in Comics NYC Collective International.

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