Ramadan – a Muslim month of fasting, sacrifice, prayers and self-purification

By: Laiq Ahmed Atif, President Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta:  amjmalta@gmail.com ;  Photo: Google Images

Who can understand the importance of food and water more than those who have ever passed through hunger, thirst or any kind of famine during their life time? The month of Ramadan is also an exercise for having such hard and difficult experiences. And these experiences, at one side provide opportunity to reform the spirituality and to increase in the love of God, on the other, they are also a time to understand the sufferings and problems of those who do not have sufficient food or water for their life; and to develop great feelings for the vulnerable and destitute people of this planet. Indeed, the Ramadan is a clear understanding of the two basic principles of Islam – rights of God and rights of people.

It is obligatory for Muslims to fast one month every year in the month of Ramadan. The Holy Quran states: “O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you during a fixed number of days as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may safeguard yourselves against every kind of ill and become righteous.”

The true purpose of Ramadan, as of all forms of Islamic worship, is to draw people closer to Allah and closer to mankind. Though normal pursuits and occupations are carried on as usual, the emphasis on moral and spiritual values and concentration on them are intensified, and everything is subordinated to the main purpose. The hearing, the sight, the tongue, the mind are all under stricter control. For instance, not only vain talk, but much talk is also eschewed, so that there should be greater concentration on remembrance of Allah and reflection upon His attributes.

The Holy Quran elaborates more and says:

“The prescribed fasting is for a fixed number of days, but whoso among you is sick or is on a journey shall fast the same number of other days; and for those who are able to fast only with great difficulty is an expiation — the feeding of a poor man. It is better if one performs a good deed with heart-felt pleasure and in obedience. If you possess knowledge, you would appreciate that fasting is better for you.”

According to one Hadith, the Holy Prophet saw said that in addition to one’s spiritual development, fasting is necessary for our physical health as well which is confirmed by today’s science and the physicians.

Therefore every Muslim should first keep this in mind that fasting has been prescribed for the sake of Taqwa and rigor is necessary to attain Taqwa. Sacrifice in the path of God is necessary for attaining His pleasure. We should take advantage of the exemptions that Allah the Exalted has granted us as a favor looking at our condition and inabilities but should not exceed the limits.

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