Ruhiyyih Khanum: The Long Prayer for the Fast

Ruhiyyih Khanum

‘The long prayer for the fast grows on one all the adult years of one’s life until in the end the blessing of keeping the fast and the blessing of saying this prayer with it become one great annual bounty, one special privilege of life. If one begins at about five minutes before sunrise one discovers that it seems deliberately to be synchronized with the rising of the sun: one finds oneself standing at “the gate of the city of Thy presence”, awaiting God’s grace; then come “the shadow of Thy mercy and the canopy of Thy bounty”–the differentiation of light from dark is taking place, the birds are singing; there follows “the splendour of Thy luminous brow and the brightness of the light of Thy countenance”–the sky is beginning to kindle with colour; the worshipper asks to be allowed “to gaze on the Day-Star of Thy Beauty”–the sun is rising! Next comes the full panoply of dawn, symbol of the Divine Springtime of God, “by the tabernacle of Thy majesty upon the loftiest summits, and the Canopy of Thy Revelation on the highest hills”; as one gazes upon the sun beginning to mount the skies one reaches the words “by Thy Beauty that shineth forth above the horizon of eternity, a beauty before which as soon as soon as it revealeth itself the kingdom of beauty boweth down in worship”. All this takes place in the first half of the prayer. But what the worshipper is supplicating for is: to receive God’s grace, to draw nearer to Him, to become attracted to Him and imbibe His words, to serve His Cause in such wise that he may not be held back by those who have turned away from God, to enable him to recognize God’s Manifestation, to accomplish what God desires, to grant that “I may die to all that I possess and live to whatsoever belongeth unto Thee”, to remember and praise God, to remove him far from whatever displeases God and enable him to draw near to the One Who manifests God’s signs, to make known to this worshipper what was hidden in God’s knowledge and wisdom, to number him with those who have attained to what God has revealed, to record for him what has been written down by God for His trusted and chosen ones, to write down for everyone who has turned unto God and observed the fast prescribed by Him “the recompense decreed for such as speak not except by Thy leave, and who forsook all that they possessed in Thy path and for love of Thee”, and, last of all, to “cancel the trespasses of those who have held fast to Thy laws, and have observed what Thou hast prescribed unto them in Thy Book.”

 

“Almost like a leitmotiv in a sumptuous musical composition, there occurs the same refrain over and over: ‘Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.’ When I repeat this I always visualize myself and my parents and loved ones who are dead, clinging all together to this symbolic celestial robe, and I feel very close to them. Truly a majestic prayer, containing metaphors of deep mysticism, a prayer that is a never-ending experience.'”

 

(‘Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, ‘The Desire of the World’ (Oxford: George Ronald, 1982, pp. 136-8)

Lynette Wilson, Publisher
Author: Lynette Wilson, Publisher

Lynette grew up in the small Wisconsin town of Boscobel, home of the Gideon Bible. After attending college at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Platteville achieving an A.A. degree she decided a break was needed n order to figure out which academic discipline she wanted to pursue. While contemplating intensely on her choices she met and married Fernando. Lynette returned to college and studied Small Business Management and Bookkeeping. After several years of working in management she found herself once again meditating on her future. The powers that be answered and she returned to the academic life in pursuit of a double major in Physical and Occupational Therapy. She found time to assist in the Special Resource Center helping quadriplegics and the legally blind in the classroom setting as well as reading for the blind. In the midst of her professional goals she had a difficult pregnancy which temporarily (...so she thought) would interrupt her coursework. She attempted to return to her studies, but the stork visited a second time. After the birth of their daughter, an unwelcomed visitor arrived a year and a half later, Brain Cancer. After 7 years of fighting, Fernando passed away. (2003) This experience led Lynette down another path-Nursing. She returned to college again in 2008 after 12 successful years in the automobile industry as a Business Development Center Director and Toyota Master Certified Customer Relations Manager (yes, more schooling...she studied through Toyota University for that title!). She completed her nursing studies in a class with students the age of her children (sigh) and was now a Certified Licensed Vocational Nurse. She remarried in 2010 and became a new mother again to a beautiful stepdaughter. As trouble seems to seek Lynette out, her nursing career was short-lived; she suffered an injury while assisting a patient; an injury she is working to overcome. Lynette is Publisher and Co-Founder of Baha’i Studies in the Covenant and All Things Baha’i in addition to several online forums and web page. She is now under the tutelage of Mike Moum as she learns how to navigate the technical aspects of blogging. She became a Baha’i in 1989 and has served as Baha’i Representative at California State University of Long Beach, Interfaith Center and in other elected and appointed positions in the Baha'i Faith.

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