MUSLIMS will be observing the month of Ramazan today. Ramazan is the ninth month in the Hijri calendar.
During this month, it is obligatory for all Muslims to fast from fajr (sunrise) to sunset. In an authentic hadith, Sahl ibn Sad reported: The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, Verily, there is a gate in Paradise called satisfaction (al- Rayyan) through which only those who fasted will enter on the Day of Resurrection. No one else will enter it along with them. It will be said: Where are those who fasted that they may enter? When the last of them enter, it will be closed and no one else will go through it.
In another hadith, Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said when the month of Ramazan arrived, The month of Ramazan has come, a blessed month in which Allah the Exalted has obligated you to fast. In it the gates of the heavens are opened, and in it the gates of Hellfire are closed, and in it the devils are chained, and in it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Thus, whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived.
From the above, it is vital for Muslims to understand that Ramazan should not be seen as just any other month or even a yearly routine that only focuses on refraining from food for a certain period in a day. It consists of a process which aims at spiritual upliftment for individuals and, most importantly, how this is translated into ones character.
Through the act of fasting and all the good deeds mentioned in the above saying of the Prophet Muhammad, the month of Ramazan is a gift from God the Almighty to human beings to embark on a spiritual journey to purify the heart, mind and soul.
Muslims believe that as beings created by Allah the Almighty, we must be perpetually reminded of the purpose of our existence. Ramazan is the best time for us to contemplate the journey of our lives and act upon improvements that would benefit us as individual human beings and also our roles as social beings.
As social beings, the way we treat others and the manner in which we conduct our daily dealings with people around us are also manifestations of what lies within our hearts. It also signifies the quality of our ibadah or religious rituals.
Realignment of hearts and characters through this purification process would mould us into becoming better human beings who seek the pleasure of God and at the same time would reflect God-consciousness condition in real good actions.
The world, in its current frenzied state, needs these God-conscious people who possess the right knowledge, good hearts and souls and who can help to improve its condition.
When we see around us people who call themselves religious, but whose actions defy values and principles of religion, it shows to a certain extent their failure to understand the religion and their lack of initiative to seek knowledge of the religion.
The panacea to this worrying condition of society is to seek knowledge which can help to develop the right worldview of the religion. Having the right worldview and developing a state of mind that is able to understand the truth would produce individuals who are rational in thinking and action.
To have the right worldview will enable us to deliberate deeply on what constitutes truth and reality about the complexities which surrounds us. From there, our minds are tuned to properly develop the correct reasoning process.
In this cognitive activity we listen to arguments, and we process a mass of in-formation in order to form specific opinions and actions. Positively, when more people in society are able to develop the right understanding of the religion and its values, they will be able to contribute positively to society.
Therefore, changes in mindset and attitudes are urgently needed in welcoming this blessed month. Ramazan, with the promise of glad tidings from God the Almighty, is the best time for us to do self-assessment and embark on self-improvement.
As Ramazan approaches, Muslims must be physically, spiritually and mentally prepared to perform the religious practices required and have some form of resolution to improve the quality and quantity of these practices. Hopefully, Ramazan this year will be better for many of those who strive for meaningful changes in life.
The Article First Appeared In Star Online
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