Ramadan, a time for piety and self-reflection
Md. Mainul Islam: Every year the glorious month of Ramadan comes like the seasonal rain for a while to the thirsty believers` exhausted hearts, as if they can soak their dry heart with water, and cleans their mind through this spiritual rain`s drops. Ramadan, a sacred month in Islamic culture, was also part of ancient Arabs` calendars. The meaning of the word Ramadan stems from the Arabic root “ramida” or “ar-ramad” which means “burning, and scorching heat. This month is known as Ramadan since all preceding massive and tiny sinful acts are burned through spiritual acts during Ramadan. Even though all pertaining minuscule misdeeds (Sagira Gunah) are also forgiven, “if a person fasts in the month of Ramadan, truthfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s reward then his past and future sins are forgiven;” (Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizi). What a great moment and big scope it is! Do you ever imagine this? This is like a cashback bonus offer!
Aside from this, Azazil and evil Jinns, the imperceptible enemies of human beings, are put up in the chain the entire month since when a new crescent moon appears on Ramadan. That’s not only! Also, the gates of paradise are opened up and fires` gates are shut down. So man can attain taqwa easily and perform righteous activities without hindrance. It is narrated in a Hadith by Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA); “When there appears the first night of Ramadan, the doors of Jannah are firmly opened and the doors of the fire are firmly closed and the devils and evil jinn are chained up”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
However, throughout this sacred month, Muslims around the world fast between sunrise and sunset, meaning they abstain from eating, drinking, or engaging in sexual relations for the duration of their fast. The ummah of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) not only fasting but also all preceding nations would keep fasting. The holy book of Allah “Al-Quran ” has mentioned; “O you who believe! Fasting has been made compulsory (Farj) upon you as it was done upon those who preceded you so that you can attain ‘Taqwa’. (Surah Al- Baqarah;183)
Why fasting has been made compulsory for believers is the reason for making fasting compulsory to attain ‘Taqwa’ (fear of Allah). The essence of fasting is not simply to refrain from food or drink, as part of the pursuit of the treater ‘Taqwa.’ The Arabic word `Taqwa` stands for “fear and abstinence, forbearance”. Some descriptions of the term from Islamic sources include: “fear of Allah, love for Allah, self-restraint, and Allah`s consciousness piousness.” is mentioned the word ‘Taqwa’ many times in the holy Quran and attached no end of importance to it.
While fasting, Muslims are not only forbidden from eating and drinking during daylight hours but also they strive to preserve all organs of the body for better performance of fasting. Such as tongue, eyes, ears, hands, legs, etc. from all sorts of sinful use. Because not controlling these organs will harm the fast. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever does not give up false talk and action according to it, there is no need of Allah that he should give up food and drink.”(Bukhari). So, this habit of keeping away from sinful acts helps attain taqwa.
Therefore, these two words ‘Fasting’ and ‘Taqwa’ are very closely interconnected in terms of the same meaning. The meaning of both is ‘to abstain from something.’ Throughout the month-long observing fasting from dawn till dusk in Ramadan, a fasting person abstains from eating, drinking, and sexual pleasure. Even though they protect all body parts including the mind from all sorts of heinous activities and thoughts. Especially when a person observes fasting, s/he does not take any food, or drink in a secret place though s/he has the chance of taking those inside any locked room. Nobody except Allah knows about the secret act of eating or drinking. These types of practices lead a man to earn ‘Taqwa’.
So, fasting trains a man to hold the lifestyle of a Muttaqi. Fasting also plays a vital role in establishing sympathy, amity, and brotherhood among all, including affinity with the rich and poor across the world. It softens the heart, making it more receptive and humble. Perhaps this is the wisdom that links together ‘Fasting’ and ‘Qiyamullail’-two glorious acts of worship that symbolize this glorious month. Many scientific studies have shown that fasting provides several health benefits and forms of intermittent fasting have been incorporated into several diets.
In particular, it was during Ramadan when the Holy book `Al-Quran` was revealed. In the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan, there is a powerful night that is better than a thousand months called “Lailatul Qadr ” which was the first incident of revolution of the Holy Quran in the history of the world. Therefore, this is logically proven an indivisible link between the Quran and Ramadan. Allah Almighty has clarified the Quran by saying- The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, guidance for mankind and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:185)
So, It is the month of reading and understanding the Al-Quran and gaining many rewards. The Quran is not just a book to be read; it is a source for human beings of guidance, and inspiration, of course, it must be understood and realized in our real life. Reading the holy Quran during Ramadan provides a unique scope to develop spirituality and reflect on faith. Reading the holy Quran also helps to be closer to Allah.
In conclusion, this sacred month is considered for deep introspection. It is also a unique opportunity of getting closer to Allah and a time of gaining ‘Taqwa’ through a focus on observing fast flawlessly, offering prayer (Tarabih and Tahazzad), giving charity, and religious devotion. As we`ve already entered the holy month of Ramadan, we must realize the sanctity and significance of this month and reflect it in our personal and social lives, not only during Ramadan but also during the rest of the months of the year. Let’s be inspired by the teaching of this glorious month and earn Rahmat (mercy), Magfirat (forgiveness), and Nazath (salvation).
Writer: Md. Mainul Islam is the Islamic Thinker and Teacher at Islamic Studies, Daffodil International School, Dhaka. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org