Every slave of Allah who observes sawm (fasting ) for one day for the sake of Allah ,Allah will draw his face farther from Hell-fire to the extent of a distance to be covered in seventy years ( Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim). Who can negate the immense pleasure one gets in this blessed month of the year; the year, which every muslim eagerly waits for so that one can grab the opportunity to set himself straight by going through the course of self-restainment . Im?m ar-Raghib said: Rama??n is taken from the word ramad , which means that which is intensely or vehemently heated by the sun. And the word ramdhaa means the intense heat of the sun. [The Arabs used to say about] the sheep that ,they were burned (ramidat) while they were grazing under the scorching heat of the sun to the extent that their livers became damaged (by the intense heat of the sun). Rama??n was named such because it burns the sins of the believers.
Im?m al-Zamarkhshari wrote:”When they changed the names of the months from the ancient language, they named them according to the seasons in which they fell, and this month fell in the days of intense heat and that is why it was named Rama??n”.
Im?m Qurtubi narrates:”It (this month) was named Rama??n because it burns the sins of people with righteous deeds”
Who else can well define this blessed month and its significance but the One who ordained it (the creator Himself).As Allah describes the purpose of Ramadan in Quran (surah Baqarah vr.183). O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun. (Al-Baqara, Chapter 2, Verse 183). To begin with Ramadan is nothing new to the ummah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) rather it was prescribed to the earlier prophets and their nations too. It is a Sunnah (legacy) of all the prophets who walked on the surface of this earth. The question arises. Why? Whats the point in fasting? Or as to put it this way what benefit do we get from fasting? Is fasting same as starving for 30 days? These and many other questions are raised very often by our non-Muslim brothers and sisters and many muslims, not to shy away with , are not clear about this issue .
The answer to this is further given in the next verse Ayyaman Madudaat : These are few days .Out of 365 days of a year Allah asks us to fast only for 30 days which accounts for less than 10 percent of the whole. This month is a training for self-restrain,, patience, sacrificing ones desires for the sake of Allah. It links an individual to his creator and makes him conscious of his deeds in every sphere of his life. The prophet (peace be upon him ), said He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah,will have his past sins forgiven.(Al Bukhari and Muslim.).Ramadan is a yearly opportunity to get ones priorities set and builds ones broken relation with his creator. Freeing oneself from the music of the world .It is big backlash for materialism by teaching us to restrain our desires to feed ourselves. It strengthens our relations with other people around us and raises our standards from selfishness to selflessness wherein the poor sections of the society becomes ones priority and their ordeals are felt and reflected in our collective hunger pangs.. Ramadan disciplines our life not only in relation to our creator where every one runs towards the masajids at the call for the prayer leaving all other works aside. Moreover it teaches us to have control on our body. All the physical exercises are meek in front of fasting which elevates one spiritually and strengthens him from within.
Some parents make sure that their children inculcate a habit of fasting, others strictly prohibit them fearing weakness. Remember, Allah is our creator and loves us more than the affection of seventy mothers put together. Allah says, Those who among you are ill or are travelling, then let them fill (this gap) from other days. Yureedullahu bikum al-yusr wa la yureedu bi kum al Usr (Allah wishes ease for you not difficulty). How beautifully Allah assures of His love and concern for His slaves and is well aware of the apprehensions that we harbour. Indeed Fasting is an ease, which trains us so much in this one month that for the rest of the year worshipping Allah, being good to our brethren and fighting shaitan and our desires becomes so easy that we no more fall prey to the worldly illusions. What makes it more significant is Ramadan is the month when Quran was revealed, which is a guidance for the whole mankind, a strong proof and furqaan (that which sifts truth from false hood and directs us to the straight path) (al Baqarah 185). Fasting helps us in doing away with our worldly desires and directing us to our creator ,thus emptying our hearts from love of the world and material things thus preparing it to receive the guidance of the Creator , humbling us to submit to our creator. This is the time to connect ourselves with the book of Allah. The lame excuses of our youth simply puts me to surprise that since they cant read Quran , so was fine to read with the transliteration provided in certain mushafs (copies of Quran). Allah responds to it and says, And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there any one who will remember (or receive admonition)? (Surah Al-Qamar, Chapter 54, Verse17). Allah is inviting us to His guidance and we turn our backs to the call. But not this month. Let this Ramadan be a source of guidance for all of us and lets get our priorities set and deeds checked. Let us dedicate our time to Allah and His Book and focus on our spiritual well being because very often in our struggle to feed our body it is our soul which starves. Ramadan is about starving our bodies so that our full attention is directed to SOUL.
—Author is a Research Scholar at the Dept. of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir
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