What is Ramadan?
Every battery needs a recharge to make it function better. Ramadan resembles that “recharge” for the Muslims. Each year, this month is celebrated by the Muslims all over the globe. For the disciples of Religion of Peace, this month is taken as an opportunity to set their lives on prescribed track. They are to follow certain religious regulations and change their routines. These particular modifications bring an enlightening spirit in the hearts of Muslims community. They identify the true purpose of their creation, analyze the deeds they have done so far and vow to bring positive changes in their lives for the upcoming year.
Ramadan is the month of purifying your Imaan, rejuvenating the faith and cleansing the heart for other Muslims.
Why is the Month So valued?
Ramadan was the month in which Quran began to be revealed upon the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The revelation of the Last Book on Last Messenger (S.A.W.W) elevates the status of this month.
Quran is the Book of Guidance for all of humanity. Its timeless quality and distinct advising methodology is astounding for human beings. They were commanded by Allah (SWT) to follow the Book.
"Ramadan is the (month) in which the Quran was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgment (so that mankind will distinguish from right and wrong)." (Q 2:183)
In this Holy Month, the Muslims come closer to the Word of Allah. The true spirit of Ramadan lies in how each Muslim person tries to identify, interpret and implement the Quran. Ramadan is the month of devoting oneself to the worship of Allah. It is the blessed month where, under the light of Quran, they find out the real purpose of their creation. It is the time when they are supposed to charge their batteries hundred percent. They are instructed to be kind, humble and patient towards their fellows.
Although stocking up the refrigerators and planning financial gains is permitted, but it does not depict the true spirit. Spirit comes from efforts made to gain closeness to Allah (SWT). The aim should be consistent throughout the month with limited deviations towards worldly affairs.
Significant Rituals of the Month
There are certain rituals that are followed in this month. The Muslims are obligated to follow them unless there are certain reasons for leaving them out. The foremost of them all is fasting for 30 days consecutively. Muslims are supposed to stay away from eating, drinking and other such needs from dawn to dusk. It is the Divine law and Muslims have to follow it:
Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness." (Q 2:183)
Another integral ritual of the month is to offer long voluntary prayers during night. At the time of Isha’ the Muslims are supposed to offer Taraweeh Prayers that comprises of eight to twenty rakahs.
A very important element of this month is the “Night of Power”. This is the extremely blessed night and it is provided that all sins of a person are erased if they worship during the night as well as seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT). This Night occurs in the Last Ten days of the month. The Muslims are supposed to worship Allah devotedly so their sins would be forgiven.
"Indeed We have revealed it (Qur'an) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what the night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah's permission, on every errand: (they say) "Peace" (continuously) till the rise of Morning!" (Q 97:1-5)
Lastly, as the month comes to an end and the moon for next month is sighted, the Muslim communities celebrate the festival of Eid. This is the celebration of their efforts towards worship and how they fulfilled the rituals.
Living Up to the True Spirit of Ramadan
Beyond the fulfillment of these rituals, it is integral for the Muslims to maintain the true spirit of this holy month. This indicates not only physical fulfillment but obtaining spirituality out of these acts of worship. Fasting, for the very first, is an act of abstaining away from eating and drinking. However internally, it illuminates how the people are required to purify their hearts from filth. They should maintain the order of Allah (SWT). Fasting teaches a person to have a control over their anger. They are also required to understand how the poor and needy people are deprived from the blessings of Allah (SWT) and how they need to be helped out of morality. The act of charity is promoted in the month of Ramadan.
Muslims, all over the world are ordained by Allah (SWT) to fix a certain amount of their wealth for the poor and needy people of the community. This charity is called “Zakat”. This is a portion of money, crops or jewels that is distributed by rich people among the poor ones. The aim is to make sure an equal distribution of wealth takes place within the community. The hidden meaning of this act is to evacuate the Muslim heart from worldly desires. They understand that everything is eventually going to be passed away from their hands and that the purpose of their creation was far greater than the accumulation of worldly materials.
"And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew."[Quran, 29: 64]
This ayah emphasizes on the same fact. The life of this world often makes a person astray. Throughout the year, people try to make most wealth. They struggle hard for the Dunya because it pays off their efforts quickly. The month of Ramadan arrives to remind them about temporary nature of this Dunya. It is ingrained in to their minds how the children, their wealth, their beautifully-structured houses and business empires are all going to end soon. They struggle in this month for the unseen rewards. This struggle is for obtaining permanent rewards in Akhirah.
As Allah (SWT) states:
“And enter among My [righteous] servants. And enter My Paradise." (Al-Quran 89:29, 30)
In a nutshell, the month of Ramadan comes each year to remind the disciples of Islam how they will be held accountable for the deeds they commit in this world. They identify their mistakes and weep for their forgiveness. By struggling throughout the month, they demonstrate to their Lord how they yearn for His Mercy and His Help. The rituals make them find affinity with their Lord which is the greatest fruit of this Month. Hence, Muslims must make the most out of this and vow to stay consistent on their abstinence from sins.
May Allah make us from among those who are forgiven and elevate our status in the Hereafter.
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