Why Ramadhan Doesn’t Mean Refraining From Food Only?

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by Javaid H Jafri

Islamic calendar starts with the month of Muharram ul Haram. As there is a total of 12 months, every month has its value and importance. The appearance of a new moon marks the beginning of the month and ends the previous one.

Orphans in Srinagar breaking their fast in hold month of Ramdhan in this photograph (File Photo: Bilal Bahadur)

When Ramadhan, the ninth month of the calendar comes, it is the holiest of all. A month of fasting, known as the month of Allah, it is full of grace. Gates of Paradise are thrown open. The way to hell is closed. It is indeed one of the greatest blessings of Allah (SWT) upon the Ummah of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family).

It is written in the Holy Quran that Ramdhan is the month when the gift of the Quran came from Allah as a guide to mankind. There is also a verse in the Quran that prescribes fasting for all Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to fast for the full day from dawn to sunset. So Muslims fast as an act of worship, surely which is the best opportunity to get closer to Allah (SWT) and a way to become more compassionate. Allah divides the month into three stages known as Ashra (10 days) of Ramadan. The first part reflects the mercy of Allah (Rehmat). The second part reflects the forgiveness of Allah (Maghfiraht). And the third part reflects safety from the hell (Najat). Thus the month is full of blessings, mercy, and forgiveness. Surely, it is one of the best opportunities for all the Muslims around the globe to introspect, seek blessings, and pray for forgiveness.

Ramadhan is a month of Laylat al Qadr (Nights of Decree), the night when Quran was revealed. Better than the thousands of nights. It is believed to have occurred one of the odd-numbered nights during the last ten days of the month.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: “O people! The month of Allah (SWT) has come with his mercies and blessings. This is the month that is the best of all months. Its days are better than all other days, its nights are better than all of the other nights, and its hours are the best of hours. Every breath is taken as the reward of tasbih, sleep is like worship. Without a shadow of a doubt, a person who couldn’t receive the mercy and benevolence of Allah (SWT) during this pious month is most unfortunate.”

Saying, we know Ramadhan by the practice of fasting. The person fasting must remember that the aim is not simply to remain hungry. He should be engrossed in the remembrance of almighty to attain severance from fictitious and materialistic desires. When we abstain from worldly desires, it allows us to bond with Allah (SWT) much more easily.

Fasting during the holy month doesn’t mean refraining only from food, drinks, and smoking. Imam Jaffar Said (AS) is reported to have said that if you are fasting then your eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc should all observe fast. You should abstain from all that is haram and all that is unpleasant. You should refrain from lies and abuse, never look at what is haram, and abstain from arguments and fights. You should not be jealous or backbite and should not swear truthfully and untruthfully. While fasting you should be busy in saying your Tasbih and be shameful about your sins and sorry for your all wrongdoings.

Although Muslims fast during other times of the year as well, Ramadhan is the only month which follows a great deal of excitement awaiting the announcement of the sighting of the moon as people rush to buy various foods to prepare sehari (closing of the fast) and iftaar (opening of the fast).

When the moon is sighted, people try to meet each other.

But the pandemic has changed the routine. Verily that is need of the hour. We must try to contact each other virtually and avoid contacts. Staying home is the safety of humanity.

Javaid H Jafiri

Religion is flexible. There are exemptions from fasting for people who have long term illness, old age, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. People who can’t fast are expected to make up for their fast at a later date. However, if a person has a chronic illness, then they have to pay or provide for a needy person. And the most important thing in this pious month is that at least we can feel the hungriness of the poor. This is one of the best opportunities for us from Allah SWT to help the poor and needy. In this month every deed is being doubled by the rewards from Allah (SWT),

Sad is the feeling when this month departs, but the beauty of it is that it ends on the celebration, Eid-ul-Fitr, an occasion to visit relatives, friends, and neighbours. Need is not to forget the poor.

However, this time it would be not possible because of Covid-19. But we need to find a way to reach out. See if people around have a need that we can fulfil. Hopefully, government authorities will take some important measures to address the issue.

Hopefully, everything will be fine then Insha Allah and May Allah (SWT) give us the strength to gain the wealth of blessings from this Holy month of Ramadan and save us from this pandemic (Aaamen)

(Author has masters in public administration and works for the police department. Ideas are personal.)

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