Monday, 27 June 2011




Ramadhan-it is mentioned in the Quran.

Ramadhan-the month of fasting, so that you (O people) may attain piety.

Ramadhan-the month in which the Blessed Quran was revealed.

Ramahdan-the month of mercy, peace, and forgiveness.

Ramadhan-an excellent chance at renewing your faith as a true muslim.

People fast, pray, give to charity, and do many other forms of worship throughout the year. But in the month of Ramadhan, we witness a concentrated effort of increasing in all such manners of worship and dedicating themselves to Allah and His cause.

As for their increase in the fast in Ramadhan-one whole month of 29 or 30 days without break-this is mandatory upon each muslim past the stage of puberty who is able (healthwise) to accomplish the fast. And to miss any of the days of the fast without valid excuse (i.e. menstruating women, a traveler or ill person, etc.) is a major sin, for which there is no real expiation. Hence, you will notice that all muslims worldwide pay great heed and close attention to realizing this fast.

As for the increased prayers, charity, and any other form of worship at this time, it is largely due to the desire of those individuals to reaping the ten-fold increase of reward they have been promised for any deeds done at this time.

Many older muslims will remember of the Ramadhans past, of the increased state of their belief, or perhaps the increased sense of brotherhood, or perhaps merely the better healthy feelings they had at the end of the month of fasting. For this and many more reasons, you will find muslims worldwide anticipating the arrival of this blessed month-some even to the extent of making a count-down of the days till it's beginning.

One of the greatest joys of anticipation for this Holy month is the knowledge and realization that the devils are chained and the gates of Hell oare closed, and the gates of Heaven remain open for the duration of this month. In this alone is a great promise of extreme and extended mercy for this Blessed month. So, muslims tend to rejoice and attempt to take the greatest advantage of this blessing and opportunity.

The history of Islam and muslims has proven to show that the muslims, through their increase in worship and hence the increase in their faith during this month, has given them, by the Grace of Allah, greater strength to achieve many great things during this period. The early battles of Islam were won during this Holy month.

There are, however, some points that would benefit us all to remember, in order to reap the true benefits that this month has to offer.

One point is that although we are to refrain from intake of nourishment and marital relations in the daylight hourse-and then we are permitted to partake of these things in the night-this is not necessarily a license or a bell to change the normal routine and turn our nights into days and vice verse by staying up all night and sleeping all through the day. On the contrary, we should remain on the normal schedule of awakening in the day light hours and completing our work on a normal schedule, and take to our sleep at normal times of the night as we do for the rest of the year. And if we must insist to remain awake for more hours of the night, then we should not lose it on wasteful pastimes, but we should take great care to pay attention to the late night prayers, and gain the best rewards. Remember that Allah has told us that He has created the daylight to work and reap the harvests of our work, and the night time for rest and replenishment of our bodies and their needs. There is no clause whatsoever directing us that the nature of Ramadhan should turn that balance upside down. So, beware of the common developing trend of people to do so.

Beware also of going overboard in feasty fashion at the time of the breakfast in the evenings and throughout the night. There is nothing wrong with eating your fill after a day of fasting. But remember that your stomach and digestive system have been at rest, and so overloading it at time of breakfast will make a terribly heavy load upon it. Eat and drink-but sparingly. You may be surprised that a marginally small portion will quickly fill you up. Let the natural cleansing process of the fast work to the greatest potential benefit for you.

You should also realize that the fast in itself is not merely to refrain from the intake of nourishment and marital relations. It is also an opportune time to practice restraint in general-and namely in your interactions with others. It is quite easy and common that as the fast progresses through the day, so do the tempers rise. Many people who carelessly let their tempters run out of control will lay blame to the fast. For those for whom this lies true, it only goes to show that the fast is not benefiting them, or that they are not reaching for it's benefit, in the spiritual sense. For the fast itself is an exercise in self-control, or self-discipline. And if we cannot control our tempers at those inevitable hot times, then what have we accomplished? The prophet(SAAW) has even been recorded to have advised his companions and followers-that if you are met with an opposition accusing you of something, or in some other method seeming to instigate a fight, then do not respond to them in similar manner, but rather simply respond in a manner to reject the invitation to fight by the statement: 'Allahumma inni sa'im' (O Lord! I am fasting.). And then procede to reject and ignore the igniting spark to the fight.

This advice to avoid fighting remains true and strong for all walks of life and all situations. A very tempting and common scenario is the mother in the home with her children. The children play and interact with one another throughout the day. They bicker and fight quite frequently. They complain about one another or this or that toy. Their needs and demands are many. This consistent bickering and complaining and whining (not to mention the messiness of the house after her cleaning) is quite strenuous on the most patient of mothers. It becomes quite tempting for her to yell back at them in angry and despairing response, perhaps even sometimes to resort to physically punishing them. My advice to the mothers here is to take a deep breath, perhaps count to ten if you need those moments, and remember Allah and make the statement that you are fasting. And then, if the children really do need disciplining, then do so in a more calm (and merciful) manner.

The prophet(SAAW) has mentioned much sound advice on anger and how to manage it. This is merely one aspect-that a rise in uncontrolled anger is in fact contrary to the point and goal of the fast. It does not mean to turn the other cheek for an attacker to take advantage of you if you are attacked. By all means-if by chance you are attacked, then defend yourself in appropriate manner. But in normal day-to-day interactions with people and the world, then you should do all possible to keep your temper in check.

Ramadhan has many lessons to teach us-which we should make the extra effort to learn and then apply throughout the year. Many people will increase the night prayers in this month, seeking Allah's mercy. Then why not pay attention to those late night prayers throughout the rest of the year? Many people will increase their recitation of Quran during Ramadhan, seeking the reward for that recitation, and imitating the practice of the beloved prophet(SAAW), who used to review the Quran with Jibreel (AS) during Ramadhan. Then why not continue to recite the Quran daily throughout the year?

The kuffar world uses New Year's Day each year as a 'land-mark' holiday by which they view the passing of that day, which is truly like any other day of the year, as a landmark by which they see a hope of revision and renewal. I am sure that many of you readers are familiar with the term 'New Year's Resolutions'. This is the determination that one takes on with the realization of the passage of yet another year, of making some positive change in their life for the coming new year.

Well, for the muslims, we have two major landmarks of time passage. And these are namely, the month of Ramadhan, and the Hajj. And for the muslims, it is not merely a time of making a pledge (which sadly for most people turns out to be empty)-but rather a time of hands-on experience in which the muslim experiences first-hand the benefit of that change in daily life practices. It is an experience in which the muslim puts to physical practice the promise of the pledge. It is an experience which the muslim's mind and spirit can draw on the vivid memory of it throughout the remainder of the year. It is a chance for tangible evidence of what benefit a little change can bring to the individual's life. Hence, it is many times a strong catalyst for more permanent and beneficial change in the muslim's life.

I propose to all reading this-make this Ramadhan such an experience for you this year. Do not rejoice in the breakfast every night for the mere pleasure of eating after a tiring day. But rather- when your stomach sends those hunger pains, and when you see the relief of your food in front of you-remember your brethren worldwide less fortunate than you, who must sustain those hunger pains throughout the night and the next day as well. And don't just remember them at your time of hunger. Do something about it! See to it that some poor person-at least one-satisfies those hunger pains for at least one day! Pray the night prayers-but not only in Ramadhan. Continue throughout the year-even if only 3 rakaat nightly-to seek of Allah's mercy and forgiveness and blessings during that tender hour in which He himself has promised us that He does answer our prayers. Recite the Quran daily-not only in Ramadhan, but throughout the whole year. It is a guide to how to best live this life, as well as a guide to the path which leads to Allah. So reach out for His Mercies through the path paved with His words and directions.

Seek and reap the benefits that Ramadhan has to offer you. They are quite easy and within reach for those who will make the effort!

It thank Allah that He has blessed us to live to witness and experience yet another Ramadhan. I ask Him that He will bless us all even more now to gain not only the rewards, but as well the benefits, that Ramadhan has to offer us. Ameen.


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