The month of blessing has arrived again. This is the month of happiness and loads of blessings and unlimited bounties for all the Muslims globally from our Almighty Allah. It is the advent of a month that is filled with immeasurable blessings; the thirty days which necessitate a Muslim to observe one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting. This month helps all the Muslims to abstain themselves from all the bad deeds and to develop good habits in them.
Life is full of challenges and we confront it on regular basis. But Islam has given us a true bounty of Ramadan to meet the challenges with courage and confidence. Where this blessed month brings a chance for all the Muslims to change their habits and to develop good deeds, it also brings a chance to ask for forgiveness.
According to Allah, the gates of Heaven are thrown open, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained in this month. Our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said,
"When the first night of Ramadan comes, the devils and the rebellious jinn are chained, the gates of Hell are locked and not one of them is opened; the gates of Paradise are opened and not one of them is locked; and a crier calls, 'You who desire what is good, come forward, and you who desire evil, refrain.' Some are freed from Hell by Allah, and that happens every night." (Tirmidhi).
Another proposal of this month is the act of fasting, which was ordained during the second year of Hijrah. Fasting is obligatory for all the Muslims. Fasting develops the skills of self-restraint and self-control in an individual, as the person fasting does not only have to abstain from food and drink, but s/he must also refrain from many other things: backbiting, gossiping, bad deeds, using abusive language etc.
The Prophet said, "Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink" (Bukhari).
The observance of fasting during Ramadan constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. The experience of fasting is intended to teach Muslims self-discipline and self-restraint, and understand a little of the plight of the less privileged (e.g., the hungry, thirsty and the poor). Furthermore, Ramadan fasting is not just about disciplining the body to refrain from eating and drinking from pre-dawn until sunset, but is also about exerting control over the mind. This involves restraining anger, doing good deeds, exercising personal discipline, and preparing one to serve as a good Muslim and a good person. Fasting during Ramadan is prescribed for every healthy, adult Muslim whereas the weak, the sick, children, travelers and menstruating women are among those exempted. Muslims observing the fast are required to abstain not only from eating food and drinking water, but also from consuming oral medicines and injecting intravenous nutritional fluids.
The aim of fasting is to get spiritual happiness besides material welfare and to explore a true sense of happiness within us. This month is a blessed month and gives us a message to be pious to to get closer to Allah.
In the Quran, Allah says:
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you that ye may ward off (evil) (2:183).
Fasting is an action, which, we are told, will act as a shield for us when we most need it.
Allah's Apostle said,
"Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins" (Bukhari).
Ramadan is the month, when all the Muslims should have to pay their yearly Zakat from whatever he/she has earned. Paying Zakat is obligatory in Islam and every one has to follow its procedure strictly. Care for the poor relatives, neighbors and other deprived people is also ordained upon the Muslims in the form of Zakat. A small portion of wealth, left accumulated in the previous year, is to be distributed among the deserving people, thus creating a sense of gratitude among the rich towards the Almighty and at the same time a sense of fulfillment among the under-privileged towards the Almighty, as well as a sense of brotherhood towards the giver of the charity.
Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
"There is Zakat applicable to everything, and the Zakat of the body is fasting" (Tirmidhi).
Fasting also fill in Muslims, the spirit of charity. Abstaining from food and drink gives a firsthand experience to the more privileged as to what the less fortunate may have to endure the year around. Hence, it encourages us to donate more to charity and to give out of the wealth to those who cannot afford the same luxuries that they do.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) said,
"He who gives one who has been fasting something with which to break his fast, or who equips a fighter, will have a reward equivalent to his" (Tirmidhi).
Fasting is pure worship. The fact that he is abstaining from food and drink both in public and in secret shows his honest faith and strong love of Allah, and his knowledge and feeling that Allah is all-knowing of everything. For this reason Allah has made the reward for fasting greater than for any other type of worship. Fasting promotes the passions for patience, humility and a sense of submission to the Creator. Additional prayers and recitation of the Holy Quran and the regular prayers is rewarded manifold. The chief merit of Fasting is that it is an act based upon pure love and devotion to Allah and there is not an iota of show and exhibition of one's piety in it. The act of fasting is completely hidden from the view of the people and this is a moral training for the next whole year.
Achieving Taqwa is one of the most important wisdom of fasting. Fasting brings on Taqwa as it lessens the desire of the stomach and mutes the sexual appetite. Whoever fasts frequently would overcome these two desires more easily. Strengthening willpower and acquiring patience.
We should fear Allah and obey His every Command throughout this month. Fasting is never done for any material or worldly gain. Fasting is done mainly for the spiritual upliftment. It develops "Taqwa" in Muslims. The Prophet (PBUH) called Ramadan the month of patience as it increases one's will power to control his desire and the selfishness of his soul. This training allows him to be strong in following Allah's commands.
Yet another blessing of this month is that every good deed done in it, whether it be good to others or reciting the Quran, carries an extra weight of blessings
The Prophet said, "(Allah says about the fasting person),
The Prophet said, "(Allah says about the fasting person),
'He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times'" (Bukhari).
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said, "Ameen, ameen, ameen." It was said, "Messenger of Allah, you climbed up on the minbar and said, "Ameen, ameen, ameen." He said, "Jibrael (peace be upon him), came to me and said, "Whoever witnesses the month of Ramadan and is not forgiven, so he enters Hell, may Allah cast him away. Say Ameen." So I said Ameen."
Another factor, which distinguishes Ramadan from other months, is the advent of the Night of Power or Lailat-ul-Qadr. The Night of Power is said to be the one in which Allah writes the decree of His creation. In verses three to five 5 of Surah Al-Qadr, God says:
"The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees. (That night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn."
The month of Ramadan is a chance to make up for the time lost around the year in other work and revert to Allah, beg forgiveness for the sins done around the year, and finally, a chance to better the life waiting in the Hereafter. It offers every Muslim an opportunity to strengthen his Emaan, purify his heart and soul, and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.
All those who have performed their spiritual duties towards the Creator and the created and have accomplished the mission ordained upon them in this month, have got every right to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, as a day of successful culmination, but of course, not before paying Fitra, a simple obligatory gesture of kindness towards the poor, to enable them to enjoy the holy day.
Children must be encouraged to start fasting at an early age to begin the regiment and instill desire.
Common Errors made during Ramadan
Excessive spending: Ramadan should be a time to avoid being wasteful, and learning to be prepared in facing harder times by distinguishing the needs from the luxuries. Unfortunately, many people go beyond their limits to spend during Ramadan, whether in the varieties of food that they savor each night, or by the other types of spending.
Staying awake during the night and sleeping during the day: Meditation for soul upliftment can be practiced in the month of Ramadan with determination. Some people sleep during most of the day when they are fasting or else engage themselves in activities. Ramadan is not a time of being lazy. In addition, some may spend a great portion of the night indulging in eating and drinking and socializing
Reading the Quran too fast: Some insist on finishing the whole Quran once or more, even if they have to read very fast. Although reading the Quran many times is desirable, this should not be done hastily, especially during the Tarawih prayer without pondering upon its meaning.
Eating too much: This month gives us a message to realize about the poor and needy people. Filling appetite more than required is not the mandate of Ramadan. There are few people who eat too much in the month of Ramadan. It is been observed that the people eat more in the month of Ramadan than in any other month. But Allah is only pleased with those, who eat less and charity more in this month.
There is no need to consume excess food at iftaar (the food eaten in the period immediately after sunset to break fast), dinner, or saheri (the light meal generally eaten about half an hour to one hour before dawn). The reasons for this are two-fold. First, and most importantly, such a lifestyle contradicts the principal aims and spirit of Ramadan. Over-eating can be seen as a reflection of weak discipline and irresponsibility. Secondly, the body has regulatory mechanisms that reduce the metabolic rate and ensure efficient utilization of body fat. Furthermore, most people assume a more sedentary lifestyle while fasting. The net result is that a balanced diet that consists of less than the normal amount of food intake is sufficient to keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan.
We must beg for Allah's forgiveness because we have broken so many of His rules and covenants and disobeyed His commands during the year.
Ramadan is meant for SPIRITUAL development through fasting. Physiologically, by fasting the body eliminates toxins efficiently and the mind becomes clear for "power thinking" so that one may ponder on the meaning of the Qur'an, Hadith and the necessity of Zikr. One must also do some self-analysis to monitor and correct one's behavior if necessary. With meditation, the mind becomes quiet and so should our tongues!
This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. This month brings us a message to follow equality and brotherhood and to raise the positive image of Islam.
For all of us, who ever hurt any ones heart must seek forgiveness from that person, because it is a rule of nature that nothing is worst then hurting human and only asking for forgiveness from that person can heal the heart. According to our Holy Prophet, the only thing which has no forgiveness by Allah is to hurt human.
Therefore, It's my pray to Allah for all the Muslim brothers and sisters that may He gives us a true sense of understanding for our religion. May He show us the right path to follow. May Allah help us all to make every fast this Ramadan a shield in the Hereafter and an intercessor in the grave. May Allah guide us towards making this Ramadan a source for gathering numerous blessings and getting our major and minor sins forgiven. May Allah guide us on the right path and help us to understand the true essence of Islam and our aim of life. May Allah brings happiness and shower his blessings on us and may our wishes come true. Ameen.
Munir Moosa Sewani is one of the notorious, prominent and creative names in the field of Education since 10 years. He is a Master Trainer In Special Education, Post Graduate, Teacher Educator and a Teacher. He is a Freelance Writer and Photographer too. He is an author of the famous self-published storybook for children named as "The MORAL STORIES FOR CHILDREN" and has also written course book for Secondary Classes. He has written almost more than 80 articles on social, health, educational and cultural issues, which are internationally recognized, acclaimed and published on most of the famous world wide websites, magazines, newsletters and newspapers, particularly Khaleej Times and Dawn Newspaper.