Understanding Ramadhan - The Muslim Month of Fasting by Haroon Ghumra in Lusaka - ZAMBİA
The auspicious month of Ramadhan which commenced earlier this month unites the entire Muslim community around the world on the verse from the Noble Qur'an:
"O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.” (Chapter 2: Verse 183)
One of the five fundamental articles upon which Islam stands, fasting is a universal institution and exists among other religions too. It was also observed in ancient civilizations.
The followers of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Jainism observe some form of fasting. Going further into history, one finds that the Celts, Romans, Babylonians and Assyrians practiced fasting as well.
Islam gave the institution of fasting a finishing touch and therein introduced method, regularity and meaning. Like prayer, this act is kept alive as it is observed every year in the world of Islam and forms a regulating principle in the life of a Muslim.
In sending his warmest wishes to all those fasting, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema through his Facebook posting of Friday, April 1, 2022 described Ramadhan as "a special time of sacrifice and reflection for our Muslim community in Zambia and around the world.”
Allah has prescribed fasting in the month of Ramadhan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and declared the two to be inseparable.
The word Ramadhan is derived from the root word ‘’RAMDH’’ which means ‘‘to burn.’’ So etymologically the term ‘’Ramadhan ‘’ implies that it is the great burner and destroyer of sins for those who observe fasting.
During the fast of Ramadhan, strict restrictions are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden.
A fasting person must restrain his passion, neither quarrel, lie nor engage in slander or backbiting. As Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
"Whoever does not leave falsehood and false conduct, Allah has no need that he should abstain from food and drink.”
At the end of the day, the fast is broken with a prayer and a meal called the "IFTAR.” The fast is then resumed the next morning before the break of dawn.
An examination of fasting will reveal that it develops in a person a strong sense of discipline and self-control, thankfulness and appreciation for the bounties of Allah, sincerity and patience in times of adversity and compassion for the under privileged as equality amongst humankind is one of the most significant teachings of Islam.
A special emphasis during fasting is therefore made on acts of virtue and charity.
Fasting originates in man the real spirit of social belonging, of unity and brotherhood, of equality before Allah as well as before the law.
This spirit is the natural product of the fact that when man fasts, he feels that he is joining the entire Muslim society in observing the same duty in the same manner at the same time for the same motives to the same end.
As Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) has said:
"None of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
Ramadhan also has the unique honor in that it was in this month in which the Noble Qur'an was revealed and a new message of faith and hope was vouchsafed to mankind. As Allah proclaims:
"Ramadhan is the month in which was sent down the Noble Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).” (Chapter 2: Verse 185).
It is for this reason that the Noble Qur'an and fasting have a deep-rooted connection. Hence, this is the month in which one has to ponder over the message of our Creator and Sustainer.
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) would recite the entire Noble Qur'an during this month. Throughout history till to date, this practice has been emulated by Muslims the world over. Therefore, Ramadhan is also known as the month of the Noble Qur'an.
Health too is improved by fasting, as has been verified by doctors and physicians. Medical research has, in fact, proved that obesity or over eating causes many diseases and controlled eating habits are essential for good health. The whole body system benefits from the rest given to the digestive system. The value of fasting for the preservation of one’s health is therefore considerable.
Those who cannot endure the rigors of fasting, namely the sick and or travelling persons are given temporary exemption. After recovering from their illness and on completing their journey, they will, however, be required to make up for the days in which they did not fast.
As for those who, on account of protracted illness, old age or feebleness are unable to undertake the ritual of fasting, are allowed to effect a redemption by feeding the poor for every fast missed.
This act of compassion reflects the verse in the noble Qu’ran: "On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.” (Chapter 2: Verse 186)
In addition to the five daily obligatory prayers, there are special prayers called Taraweeh which are performed in congregation in every night of Ramadhan.
The institution of Taraweeh not only enables a large section of the community to assemble for nightly worship but has also proved extremely helpful in the memorization of the entire Noble Qur'an.
With Allah pouring out his mercy during this blessed period, each day of Ramadhan is indeed a new ecstatic experience for those fasting. It has been mentioned in narrations that one should engage in invoking the Almighty as the prayers at the time of dawn and before breaking the fast are both readily accepted.
To mark the end of Ramadhan, a festive and joyous holiday, known as "Eid-ul-Fitr” is celebrated by Muslims throughout the world. Here in TURKEY this will fall on Monday, May 2, 2022.
On this day, Muslims attend special congregational prayers in the morning, adorned in their best clothes. Eid-ul-Fitr is a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing for the fulfillment of the obligation of fasting according to the command of Allah.
The sharing of food and delicacies with relatives, loved ones and friends will be a common feature in many a household. In this way, the ties of kinship, brotherhood and comradery are further strengthened.
All Praises be to Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Kind, the One who encompasses all excellent and perfect attributes, transcendent of all defects and flaws. Peace, blessings and salutations be upon Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
Last Modified: 2022-04-27 08:09:11
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