RAMADAN has a very special place in Islam, and as Allah said in the Quran, Ramadan is the most superior month of the year.
The Quran was sent down to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) 1,400 years ago during Ramadan. Allah ordered a special religious observation for this month and commanded all Muslims, who are not exempt from this obligation because of the special conditions set out in the Quran, to fast during this month.
Following this command, Muslims all around the world, from Canada to Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Europe, fast during this holy month.
Ramadan encompasses many open and hidden beauties for everyone to see. However, the only reason Muslims fast and happily welcome Ramadan is their fear of and love for Allah. The fact that Allah commanded fasting is enough for a Muslim to observe this religious obligation unconditionally.
However, our Lord, all-Merciful and Most-Merciful, created His commands with clear wisdom behind them that are easily visible to our eyes, helping people feel satisfied in their hearts and minds with respect to religious practices.
The month of Ramadan is filled with the mercy of Allah and remission of sins. Its days and nights and hours are filled with merit, and fasting is obligatory for all believers as we are informed in the verses — except in the case of sickness or for travellers:
You who have faith! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you — so that hopefully you will have piety. (Surah al-Baqara, 183)
…(Fast) for a specified number of days. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days. For those who are able to fast, their fidya is to feed the poor. And if someone does good of his own accord, it is better for him. But that you should fast is better for you, if you only knew. (Surah al-Baqara, 184)
In my previous article, I talked about the health benefits of fasting and with this article, I’m touching on the spiritual benefits of fasting.
A Muslim resembles the Prophet (pbuh) in all respects. He takes the Prophet (pbuh) as an example in his way of fasting, his struggle on the path of Allah, his communicating religion and constant efforts to earn the approval of Allah. He strives to attain our Prophet’s (pbuh) lofty moral values, deep faith, love of Allah, compassion and affection for all people.
In fulfilling his obligation to fast, a believer needs to concentrate on moral virtues, fortitude and self-sacrifice. Anger and impatience are unbecoming of a Muslim.
A Muslim must live by moral virtues night and day, morning and evening, summer and winter, all through his life, just like the Prophet (pbuh) and the Companions at his side.
Allah sends down a special light to believers. Believers who fast in the month of Ramadan compete with one another in goodness.
Being devout, virtuous, self-sacrifice and overcoming anger all require wisdom and will power, fortitude and depth, and fasting is instrumental in instituting all these examples of righteousness. However, believers must accomplish these only for Allah’s sake and must set an example for their brothers in faith.
The month of Ramadan is a blessed one when the body and soul make many sacrifices. Muslims must make good use of the blessings of this month.
They must be instrumental in establishing brotherhood by preparing fine iftar (breaking of fast) meals and inviting people from all sections of society.
Allah must be much remembered during these iftar feasts, by giving thanks to Allah and thus, increasing love and devotion for Allah in people’s hearts. Praying five times a day, fasting and giving alms are all compulsory obligations. Believers perform these acts of worship throughout their lives, but they crown them with their moral virtues and deep faith.
The essence of the faith lies in good morality, love and affection. It is approaching the whole universe with a heart full of love. In not gossiping or speaking unkindly, in not being enslaved by the lower self, in not hurting people and in always summoning them to goodness and beauty.
Moral virtue takes work and self-sacrifice, which means that virtuous people are very rare. It is most acceptable in the sight of Allah for a believer to strive to be one of these rare people and to train his lower self without a stop.
In the month of Ramadan, our brothers should visit one another for the iftar meal, making no discrimination on the basis of sect or community, and must welcome one another kindly, with love for Allah, affection and tenderness. We all believe in the same Allah, the same Prophet (pbuh) and the same Book. We all prostrate ourselves for Allah.
We all share the ideal of the whole world living by the religion of Allah and achieving peace. The best effort to that end is to be united, to cling tightly together and to be brothers, as revealed by Allah:
Allah loves those who fight in His Way in ranks like well-built walls. (Surah as-Saff, 4)
Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate. Remember Allah’s blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing. You were on the very brink of a pit of the Fire and He rescued you from it. In this way, Allah makes His Signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be guided. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 103)
Adnan Oktar's piece on New Straits Times: