Ayesha Islam Saudi Life
RAMADAN is a blessed month with unlimited mercy from Allah as He forgives His slaves every day and grants them freedom from the hellfire. Muslims around the world observe fasting in hopes of gaining reward from Allah and cleansing their sins in the chance our Creator has given us. The term Ramadan literally means ‘burning’ or ‘scorching heat’, which scholars have interpreted as our sins that are being burnt away by fasting.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet ﷺ said: “He who observes the fast of the month of Ramadan out of sincerity and hope for the reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.” (Bukhari)
It is a month of spiritual rejuvenation as we put in the extra effort to offer our prayers on time and increase our recitation of the Quran. Ramadan is the time when our stomachs are empty all day, yet we are providing food to our soul in the remembrance of Allah. It is a responsibility we have upon our own conscience as we refrain from activities that are allowed on regular days, such as eating and drinking.
Fasting isn’t about the discounted meals that are advertised on TV and splashed on billboards, but rather, it provides us with food for thought as we make what is halal, haram on ourselves. The time we are fasting is not only considered blessed, but the nights are also precious. Concentrating to the melodious recitations of the Quran during taraweeh, as we are standing united before our Creator enhances our connection with Allah.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever prays qiyaam – i.e., Taraweeh – with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.” (Tirmidhi)
While we are distracted in the consumer society we live in, Ramadan is a month that brings a lot of things into perspective. We tend to take the rizq provided to us by Allah for granted, as our daily lives surround luxuries that many people are deprived of. To sacrifice food and drink makes us realize how much we take these blessings for granted as we try to set our superficial needs aside while getting a taste of what the needy go through on a daily basis.
The Prophet ﷺ had warned: “Some people only gain from their fast the fact that they are hungry and thirsty.” (Tirmidhi)
This refers to people who deprive them from food and drink without knowledge of what the true meaning of fasting is. They fast as mechanically as they eat, with the same level of unawareness and ingratitude towards their Creator who has provided them with countless bounties.
This is why Ramadan is a month of training and self-restraint, an exercise to define the capabilities that we know we can possess if we make an effort. We were not created as angels or expected to be perfect, for to err is human. But this month teaches us to strive to please our Rabb and be conscious that He is encompassing our lives for He is closer to us than our jugular vein. Allah provides us with the peace of mind and solace we are all searching for as mentioned in the Quran:
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13: 28)
These precious 30 days also teach us to discipline ourselves with utmost precision in our daily lives. We are more conscious of performing our prayers on time and have our meals at the same time everyday, when dusk falls and dawn arises. The timings for our daily rituals are in fact contradictory to the depth of our spirituality, which has no limits or bounds. But Ramadan teaches us the opposite – without any rules, regulations, or set timings we cannot sustain an enriched spiritual experience. To discipline ourselves is a spiritual practice, as this is the example set forth by the life of the Prophet ﷺ.
To achieve this intelligence of the fast, Muslims need to examine themselves first in order to have an influence upon others in society. This is crucial in today’s world as the peaceful religion of Islam is instead the prime focus of the violence that has engulfed around the world. We have to face many accusations based on a fraction of the population of people who are committing heinous crimes in the name of religion. This month should teach us to bring about a change within ourselves and strive to obtain more knowledge about our deen, for that will serve as our protection and hopefully inspire others perceptions. We are truly what we make of ourselves as the Quran has reminded us,
“Indeed, God will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (13:11)