Ramadan is upon us once again. For many of us Ramadan will be on the 6th of June this year (2016) – So Ramadan Kareem! Of course it’s out of Gods mercy that we live another year to partake in this holy month.
Ramadan holds a unique position in the hearts and minds of our community.Being the obligatory third piller in Islam, It is a special time of the year where the blessings of Allah(God) is abundantly bestowed upon the believers. The whole community fasts with such enthusiasm.
Every evening, the mosques across the world are packed with Muslims engaged in Special Night prayers called Tharawih,lookwhich would extend till late night, there would be many new faces that pray regularly and are submerged in prayer and Dua (Supplication). People make a conscious effort to pray regularly and read the Quran during this holy month.It was also in this month that the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammed.Making it another significance.
Many people are often seen with their hands facing the sky asking Allah(God) for forgiveness for all their many wrongs; asking for goodness and blessings throughout their lives; asking from guidance and understanding; asking for their troubles and heartaches to be removed; asking for success in the hereafter and protection from the fire of hell. With tears rolling down their cheeks as they recount their sins and ask for forgiveness and salvation: asking for their children and families to remain on the straight path; asking for the suffering of the less fortunate to be lessened because in Ramadan the doors of forgiveness are open to all as Allah listens to our plights, may Allah(God) accept our suplications.
Fasting is more than remaining hungry and thirsty for the sake of Allah. During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed on the daily lives of Muslims.Commencing from Dawn we are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden till you break the fast . At the end of the day during Dusk the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the Iftar.
During fasting we also try and implement every principle of Islam within our lives. For example, we are not supposed to fight, swear, argue, lie or cheat. Other qualities such as miserliness, greed, laziness, selfishness and apathy for the suffering are also purged from our lives. We do as many good deeds as possible and are concerned for the wellbeing of all the communities throughout the world.
In Ramadan people are more generous and give from their pockets and hearts to those less fortunate. There is an aura of love and compassion surrounding every individual as the self-centredness is refocused to those around them!
Ramadan is about getting things that we can’t see but can perceive with our hearts and minds. It’s also about giving from that which we love and hold dear and thinking about those that are less fortunate than us.
Give to the near of kin his due, and also to the needy and the wayfarers. Do not squander your wealth wastefully; for those who squander wastefully are Satan’s brothers, and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord. (17:26 – 27)
Another obligation strongly practiced during this month is Zakat.
Being the Fourth Pillar in Islam. It is a Fard(obligation), commanded by God on those Muslim men and women who possess enough means, to distribute a certain percentage of their annual savings or capital in goods or money among the poor and the needy. Zakat is assessed once a year on both capital and savings from income. This is preferred during Ramadan because the merit is doubled for every good deed.
The alms (Zakat in this specific verse?s case) are meant only for the poor and the needy and those who are in charge thereof, those whose hearts are to be reconciled; and to free those in bondage, and to help those burdened with debt, and for expenditure in the way of Allah and for the wayfarer. This is an obligation from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (9:60)
Fasting is a spiritual exercise that has disappeared from many religious practices the world over. However, God almighty commanded his prophets to fast and every prophet and their community would fast.
Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and righteousness” (Q 2:183)
The month of Ramadan is divided in three parts,
*The first ten days are reserved to gain the mercy of Allah (God), this is done by doing good deeds and therefore gaining His pleasure.
*The second ten days are reserved for forgiveness. This is done by crying to Him (God) in humility.
*The third ten days are to gain emancipation from the fires of hell.
Finally, after a hard month of work, worship, and strictly following the Islamic guidelines, we await the day of celebration called Eid-Ul-FITR.