Sukuun- an unusual lesson in Arabic

I should be sleeping. I woke up early and have been running non-stop all day. Writing. Translating. Voice recording. Shopping at Sam’s (oh joy). Eating a granola bar for dinner. Talking. Listening to music. Smiling. Washing laundry (not by the river though…*phew*). Cooking. Thinking. Driving. Classical music to calm the soul. Practicing my Arabic homework, right to left, many-many “HA-ja-KHa-ha” variations of the same “h” sound to me.
So this is my one thought for the night. I learned a “marking” in Arabic. It’s called a sukuun. It’s not a word nor a letter. Not a vowel and not a consonant either. It’s not even a sound. So why bother to learn it? It’s a small little circle the size of the top of a needle. You write it on top of a letter and it means “silence, stillness, the absence of sound”. My jaw dropped a little as I stared at my beautiful Egyptian teacher. She must have thought, “what is YOUR problem looking at me weird like that? is this too hard to grasp?” I was just amazed. I found God (or Allah) in my Arabic lesson today. I found a small little reminder in the middle of my crazy day that means, “shhhhh…..” Silence. Stillness. You want to jump and make a sound, but just stop, stop the vowel and stop the consonant. Don’t say any more! Like someone placing their finger on their mouth to call for silence. Like someone covering your mouth with their palm. Be still. And listen to the next letter. The next sound. The silence in the middle of the word, speaks volumes!
So with that, I go to bed and think about the small little circle called the sukuun. My dryer is making noises, but I will try and think of sukuun. Perfect lesson right before our Silent Prayer retreat tomorrow. Buenas noches, Inés

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:14

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