Poetry Corner – Rumi on Ramadan fasting

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less.

If the soundboxes stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting,
every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you run
up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.

Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you’re full of food and drink,
Satan sits where your spirit should,
an ugly metal statue in place of the Kaaba.
When you fast, good habits gather
like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring.

Don’t give into some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you’ve lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast,
like soldiers appearing out of the ground,
pennants flying above them.

A table descends to your tents, Jesus’ table.
Expect to see it, when you fast,
this tablespread with other food,
better than the broth of cabbages.

Rumi, Ghazal 1739 from Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Ramadan Kareem


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran during this month and so it is the holiest time in the Muslim faith.

The primary practice of Ramadan is fasting, one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Healthy, observant adults refrain from eating and drinking (also smoking, gum chewing, sex, cursing and any less-than-upstanding behavior) from dawn to sunset. The idea is to enter a more spiritual way of being, to know gratitude, compassion and self-discipline. More prayer and more charity are also part of Ramadan observance. Continue reading