In Practice: Rituals Make for Sacred Moments
Our newest report, The State of Religion & Young People 2023: Exploring the Sacred, examines how young people view the sacred and what sacred moments look like for them. Our data show that young people’s sacred moments are nuanced and multidimensional, often including a mix of people, places, things, practices, and situations. To hear more about young people’s experience of the sacred, we asked members of our Springtide Ambassadors Program to share a specific ritual or practice that they find meaningful and to explain how they engage with that ritual. Below, SAP member Lensa explains her connection to a ritual from her Muslim faith:
A specific ritual I find meaningful is dhikr, which means “remembrance.” Muslims do this recitation of Islamic phrases to remember Allah. We are encouraged to do dhikr after each of our five daily prayers. When I am done praying, I sit where I am and I start my dhikr. There are so many that I can say, so I go with the ones I know off the top of my head. One is “Subhan Allah, Walhamduliliah, Wallahu Akbar,” which translates to “Glory be to Allah, Praise be Allah, God is Great.” I say this 33 times by counting on my fingers. To finish it, I say, “La illaha illah wahdahu la sharika lah, lahul mulku walahul hamdu wa huwa ala kulli shay in qadeer.” This translates to “There is no true god except Allah. He is One and He has no partner with him. His is the Sovereignty and His is the praise, and He is Omnipotent.” After this, I move on to a different dhikr. I continue this however long I want, and I can stop whenever. I can do my dhikr as I am working, cleaning, cooking, or walking.
This ritual holds meaning for me because it is a beautiful way to thank, praise, and glorify Allah. Allah is a source of light, which is called Nur in Arabic. Dhikr benefits you in this world and in the next. It’s so beautiful to think about because our Lord tells us in the Quran, “So remember me, and I will remember you.” He loves the ones who remember him when they are happy or sad. Doing dhikr throughout my day makes my heart more peaceful and filled with tranquility. It calms me down from the worries of this life, which puts me at ease. Dhikr purifies the heart from impurity and increases strength in faith. I try to say it as often as I can so that I can soften my heart with the remembrance of my Lord. It makes me feel like a good Muslim because I praise my Lord and I feel great after, so it’s a win-win.