of Ramadan is upon Muslims once more. A month described in Islamic literature
as better than a thousand months, when Satan is locked in shackles and the
doors of Heaven are wide open - for those who wish to enter.
Qur’an lays down the main purpose of the month of fasting - to develop
righteousness. It’s not easy to become a righteous person and so Ramadan is a
period when good deeds are made easy and heavenly blessings are made
accessible. Moreover, certain qualities which contribute to a person’s
righteousness are developed.
complete submission to the Will of God which in turn leads to peace. Complete
submission however cannot be attained without discipline and obedience.
month, Muslims are commanded to forgo food, wake up early, refrain from immoral
talk or behaviour and strive for betterment and increase in good deeds. This
requires discipline which is brought about by forcing one’s self to rise early
in the morning (or in the latter part of the night), sacrificing the comfort of
the bed and offer prayer. Discipline isn’t something that can be developed over
a day or even a week which is why Muslims are instructed to fast for an entire
taught to perform ablution before each prayer and be in a state of cleanliness
as much as possible for outward cleanliness leads to inner cleanliness. This is
why the Holy Prophet is reported to have said cleanliness is half of faith. The
Qur’an similarly says:
he truly prospers who purifies himself’. (Ch.87:V.15)
proven to cleanse the body of toxins and by forgoing food for a time; the body
is assisted in repairing cells and utilizing energy in other areas. The body
also burns fat to provide energy which leads to weight loss.
says ‘after a few days of the fast, higher levels of endorphins appear in the
blood, making you more alert and giving an overall feeling of general mental
wellbeing.’ Certainly, since food heavily affects the brain and our emotions,
fasting helps in clearing out impurities and this detoxification results in an
overall sense of wellbeing. That is if it’s done right though - by keeping to a
balanced diet in the days of Ramadan.
those who suppress anger and pardon men; and Allah loves those who do good’
tempted and swayed by many different distractions, people, responsibilities,
thoughts and emotions among other things in his life which can make it
difficult to control his actions. Many people try ever so hard to give up
certain foods, habits or degenerative practices yet they fail time and again.
Ramadan and fasting helps foster a sense of self-control and alertness which
makes it easy for people to give up their bad habits during this month.
up something lawful and essential to human survival, man strengthens his
resolve and is enabled to have greater self control over his actions.
from the accounts of saints and holy men of the past that fasting promotes and
enhances a person’s spirituality. Those endowed with the ability are able to
experience visions and other spiritual phenomena which others cannot. This is
why Prophets and other holy men have gone into seclusion for a time and lived
on the bare essentials to develop their spiritual powers. Ramadan for Muslims
is the same kind of spiritual training designed to heighten the spiritual
senses. This is further enhanced by the focus on the recitation and
understanding of the Holy Quran - the revelation of which began during this
blessed month to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
and was completed over a period of 23 years.
those who believe and do good works, and humble themselves before their Lord —
these are the inmates of Heaven; therein shall they abide.’ (Ch.11:V.24)
commanded to give themselves up to God and humbly submit to His will, neither
being ungrateful with what He gives nor rebelling against His commands. The
reason being that we are but mere beggars and servants in the presence of the
Creator and King of the universe.
‘O ye men,
you are mere beggars unto Allah, while Allah is He Who stands in need of none,
Ever Praiseworthy’ (Ch.35:V.16)
Ramadan reminds Muslims that we are all entirely dependent on God and look only
to Him for sustenance and provisions since He is the Best of Providers. This
increases one’s humility and lowliness as well as trust in God thus helping man
to attain nearness to God.
saints and those conversant with spiritual and religious matters have always
spoken about something called ‘self annihilation’ or ‘fana’. This means to
completely discard your desires, passions, hopes and ambitions and remove all
thoughts of the self in the way of God. Once man has purified himself thus, he
arrives at the stage of freedom from grief or fear and continues his progress
on the path to God.
the friends of Allah shall certainly have no fear, nor shall they grieve’
sacrifice are means to attain the stage of self annihilation so that rather
than being driven by our own selfish, conceited desires and motives, we fully
conform to the Will of God and act as He wishes us to, eat when He wants us to
and sleep and awake when He commands us to. When a man does this and his
motives are not tainted by greed or worldliness, he attains a level of nearness
to God and continues his advance. This is the path saints and Sufis have spoken
feed, for love of Him, the poor, the orphan, and the prisoner.’ (Ch.76:V.9)
little doubt that one cannot fully understand a phenomenon unless and until he
has experienced it for himself. So in order for Muslims to understand and feel
the privation, difficulties and pain of others among them in society, fasting
has been ordained to develop empathy for our fellow beings.
turn leads to an increase in charitable efforts and raising the downtrodden
rather than looking down on them as some well-off people in our time do.
fasting is an exceptionally important part of the Islamic faith and has many
more benefits which can only be perceived by one who diligently fasts with
sincerity this Ramadan.