GENERALLY, in the holy month of Ramazan, the majority of Muslims around the world tend to became more religious in their day-to-day activities. They fast, perform extra prayers and also donate generously to the needy and take part in other social services.
In this way, many Ramazans have come and gone in ones life. But what is essential to understand is the multidimensional message of the holy month of Ramazan. Subsequently making it a part of ones life will enable Muslims to reap the benefits of Ramazan. These benefits belong to the spiritual, moral, social and physical realms of life.
In the spiritual realm, Ramazan opens the floodgates of spirituality. This enables a Muslim to become a real momin. A Muslim is just one who recites the kalima, recognising the existence of Allah, while a momin is one who experiences the kalima at a spiritual level, feeling the presence of the Creator. This is possible when one applies the spiritual message of Islam in his/her life with full determination. Secondly, the message of Ramazan also makes it incumbent upon believers to be generous and help society.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) experienced Islam at the spiritual level and received holy guidance (the Quran). He was fully conscious of his Creator Allah. He was never oblivious of his duties towards the Creator and His creation. He fulfilled his responsibilities towards his family and society. He felt the pain of the poor, the sick and paupers and felt duty-bound to redress their grievances. Thus he became a role model par excellence for the entire ummah.
As the holy month of Ramazan brings a lot of rain of special blessings and bounties, Muslims can develop a sense of Allahs consciousness in their minds and hearts. They have an opportunity to come closer to Allah, forsake materialistic thinking and control their animal instincts so that divine grace starts pouring forth.
Fasting has been recognised universally in all revealed religions, though the forms and motives vary. But it is a great source of inner purification. Allah says: O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil) (2:183). The ultimate aim of fasting is piety, which entails spiritual recharging of the soul with additional prayers, recitation of the Quran, meditation and restraining bad behaviour. Islam is a complete way of life. It provides numerous opportunities to the faithful to become enlightened.
Consciousness of Allah and feeling His presence in ones existence and surroundings is an essential part of Islamic teachings. This is to be renewed, reinforced and further strengthened in the month of Ramazan. The Quran enjoins fasting with an aim of making Muslims ascend to spiritual heights. We fast to inculcate the spirit of Islam in every aspect of our life. Every human being lives, acts and moves in His presence. This has been mentioned time and again in the Holy Book. At one place Allah says: …[T]here is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be. … (58:7).
We live in a material world and are confined in a material body, therefore, feeling Allahs spiritual presence within and without is not everybodys cup of tea. This requires intense introspection at the personal level aimed at reforming thoughts, actions and attitudes.
At the moral level, the holy month of Ramazan provides an opportunity to all Muslims to renew their commitment to be true, honest, and straightforward in dealing with other fellow beings. Those who sincerely fast are sure to acquire respect and dignity. We interact with others through words and the Holy Prophet says that fasting is a shield so the person fasting should not indulge in foul speech. This will make the believer more pious, God-fearing, and civilised.
At the social level, fasting generates social discipline among Muslims. In every society, there exists a great social barrier between the haves and have-nots. This is removed only when the rich class is made to feel the pangs of hunger like the poor, who go without food in their normal life. This will also allow the rich to be philanthropic in their attitude towards the poor.
There are also physical benefits of fasting. Our bodies are like machines; their digestive system remains operational round the year. However, if one fasts in the month of Ramazan, the body gets rest and is reinvigorated with additional capacity to work. The health of a person gets improved with fasting. It also accustoms him or her to face the hardship of life with increased power of resistance.
In a nutshell, Ramazan is meant to upgrade Muslims to make them momins in order to reflect the multidimensional message of Islam.
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