A Rajab Sweep & A Divine Breeze

Feb 10, 2023

The month of Rajab is the month of Istighfar. The literal meaning of ‘Istighfar’ in Arabic is:
“to empty the heart of all its darkness, in order to receive the light.”

The common translation used for ‘Istighfar’ nowadays is “the seeking of forgiveness.”

Both of course are related. Seeking forgiveness is seeking for one’s heart to be emptied of the darkness accumulated by sin. The state of redemption (Tawbah), reached through repentance, is a state in which God’s light floods the heart, illuminating it anew.

Istighfar is a sweeping away of the darkness; imagine each utterance of the words of seeking forgiveness, ‘astaghfirAllah,’ to be a sweeping motion, ushering out the dust and dirt.

The month of Rajab, the month we find ourselves in, is a month to dedicate yourself to this gentle consistent sweeping action. Sweep, sweep, sweep - gently, consistently, beautifully. Seek forgiveness, seek that your heart be emptied of its darkness, make room for the light.

We know that Allah tells us that He is the One Who forgives - it is not your action itself that brings about redemption - it is not your sweeping of the room that will cause it to be cleaned - but your action is your showing up to ask for His cleansing of your heart.

As you sweep with the broom of ‘astaghfirAllah,’ seeking that darkness’s departure, He will send His spring breezes (nafahat) right into that heart of yours, a powerful gust that is beyond your sweeping power - and the darkness will be fully flushed out.

Every last speck of darkness will be carried away, as Allah’s spring breeze reaches all the corners of the chambers of your heart that you missed, and He will place His light in each and every niche in that heart of yours. This is what Istighfar can be, if you engage in it with sincerity.

We know that the sacredness of Rajab was respected even before the Revelation, and that the great members of the Family of the Prophet - may the peace of God continue to nourish his Essence and our connection to him - would take this month as a month of spiritual retreat. What do we do in spiritual retreat, except sweep the inner chambers of the heart? Find your spiritual retreat in this month: take at least a day and dedicate it to istighfar.

Sweep, gently sweep.

Desire that this heart of yours be emptied of all darkness. And open the windows to the Divine spring breezes; watch the Light enter.