“God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth.” Qur’an 24:35
This verse of the Holy Book of Muslims has been elucidated upon by Muslim scholars for generations. My explanation is decidedly more pedestrian. I write in the month of Ramadan, withholding myself from food, drink, gossip and speaking negatively of others. My tongue is practicing peace in this most blessed of months. These days even as a professor teaching at a theological school, no discussions resonate more with me than my conversations with my five–year–old.
As women we hold the hearts of our young ones dear to us, but often the raising of our children as spiritual beings is not honored or recognized. So back to my five–year–old. I explain God as Light to him. For God is unseen yet everywhere at once. He asks me, “How do we know God, Mama?” I tell him that this Light we seek is found by exercising the muscles of our heart to do good for others.
This weekend we went to fill bags for hungry people lining up at a mosque food pantry. I told my son, look deep in the eyes of the person you are handing the food to. When you see their face light up, your moment of connection to that person is where God is bringing your hearts together, even in the most brief moments. My baby tells me, “Mama when I help others, I feel good.” So I teach him to live life in service of others so that God becomes a constant companion here on Earth.
Najeeba Syeed–Miller, J.D. is Professor of Interreligious Education at Claremont School of Theology. www.twitter.com/najeebasyeed