The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down,
a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.
[Quran: Chapter 2:183]


Friday, September 5, 2008

Ramadan Message 2008 - Day 5

“When the Qur'an is read listen to it with attention and hold your peace: that you may receive Mercy. And do thou (O reader!) bring your Lord to remembrance in your (very) soul with humility and in reverence without loudness in words in the mornings and evenings; and be not thou of those who are unheedful.” (Qur'an 7 Verses 204-5)

The Purpose of Fasting

Man by his very nature is weak and defenceless against his weaknesses. This has always been the case, but today he is even more susceptible and contemptible with shamelessness, oppression, injustice, immorality, Godlessness, and hopelessness becoming the norm of society, and in fact the hallmark of our civilization.

Indeed, "By (the Token of) time (through the Ages). Verily, man is in a state of loss…" (Qur'an 103 Verses 1-2). Allah "created man in the best of moulds, then We reduced him to the lowest of the low." (Qur'an 95 verses 4-5) From this lowly status, Islam has come to elevate us; and the tool of our re-engineering is iba’dah. Iba’dah are actions of our thoughts, tongues and limbs which are regulated by Allah.

Such acts of iba’dah enjoin some practices and forbid others. When these are done, it will be like planting a seed which must bear fruits. The fruit of iba’dah is taqwah. So for instance, salaah is an iba'dah, so is zakaah, fasting and hajj. Their fruit is taqwah. In other words, one who carries out these acts is expected to have taqwah.

Allah says: "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become muttaquun (those who have taqwah or piety)." (Qur'an 2 Verse 183)

Therefore, the chief purpose of the fasting of Ramadan is taqwah. Taqwah is the process of purifying ourselves and elevating our status from "the lowest of the low" to "the best example for mankind". This process involves the purifying ourselves from those weaknesses and shackles of debasement. The primal element for purification is the nafs (soul). Allah says: "…by the soul and He Who perfected it in proportion, then He showed it what is wrong for it and what is right for it - indeed he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails who corrupts it." (Qur’an 91 Verses 7-10)

Allah is the Creator, Fashioner and Director of our souls, therefore our souls can only be purified by obeying Him, doing the actions (iba'dah), which He has stipulated and this is the path of success. But to engage in what He has forbidden is the path of our destruction. This month of fasting is in all ways aimed at making us successful. During this month we are strongly motivated to carry out our acts of Iba'dah and at the same time we are enjoined to leave off sins and disobedience of Allah. Then we are encouraged to attune ourselves to the Qur'an and acquire a righteous disposition.

In Ramadan, we engage in recitation of the Qur'an, day and night "Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an…" (Qur'an 2 verse 185) Every time we read it, it has a new meaning to us. We are also encouraged to be sincere and righteous in this blessed month. In fact, righteousness is a second nature of those who have been saved from the catastrophe of the end-time confusion: "…Verily, man is in a state of loss except such as believe and do righteous deeds: for they shall have a reward unfailing." (Qur'an 95 verse 6) It is also the characteristic of those who seek to rise above the lowly level: "…Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low, except such as have Faith and do righteous deeds and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth and of Patience and Constancy." (Qur'an 103 Verse 3)

In short, fasting in Ramadan is an act of iba'dah which Allah has made compulsory on us, so that we can attain taqwah therein, and to help us achieve this taqwah is a process of soul purification vis-à-vis the encouragement to obey Allah and leave off sins, to recite and abide by the Qur'an and to acquire righteousness.


Special Ramadan Series

Dear Reader, Assalaamu’alaikum.

Ramadan Mubarak. We wish you a blessed and productive Ramadan! Make no mistake about it - keeping the fast and increasing our acts of worship during this blessed month is not an easy task. The physical demands of balancing work or school with fasting all day, feeling fatigued and less effective than you normally are, waking up for Suhoor, praying Teraweeh and Tahajjud prayers, dealing with sleep deficits.

But the last thing we would want is to let Ramadan pass us by without doing all that we aim and desire to. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or regretful when Ramadan passes.

The Ramadan Series will send you emails with practical tips on how to gain and maintain the physical and spiritual energy necessary to embark on increased religious oligations so that you will reap the benefits from this blessed month. This includes special Ramadan duas to say during the month. Do sign-up today!

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