Ramazan: The Month of Blessings and Responsibilities

Picture Credits: Faisal Bashir

 By Dr Tauseef Ahmad Parray

RAMAZAN is the blessed month in which the Qur’an was revealed and fasting prescribed (Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 183-85). Fasting (Sawm) in the month of Ramazan (9th month of lunar calendar) is one of the five pillars of Islam (Arkan al-Islam). Fasting is not just abstaining and desisting from food and drinks (from dawn to dusk), but it is one of the blessings of Almighty Allah which gives us many opportunities to come closer to our Creator; and to serve the Creation in best possible ways, with multi-fold rewards for every action and deed: from offering extra prayers to dhikr to helping poor and needy, and even uttering ‘good word’, as stated in a Hadith: “It is also charity to utter a good word” (Bukhari & Muslim). The fasting is an act for which the reward is unlimited, as a Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari states: Allah said, “Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me; and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it’”.

The Qur’an in Surah al-Baqarah (Q. 2: 183-85) states clearly that achieving Taqwa (piety/ righteousness, or God-consciousness) is the main purpose of the Sawm/ fasting. Moreover, these verses also make it clear that the Qur’an—‘Guidance Unto Mankind” (Huddan lil-Nass) with clear ‘signs’ (Ayaat) for guidance and a criterion between right and wrong (al-Furqan)—was revealed in this very month. Thus, one notes that the importance of the month of Ramazan is the advent of the Revelation of the Qur’an, and it is through understanding, followed by action, of the Commandments (ahkam) in this Divine Book, that we can achieve Taqwa or God-consciousness. In Surah Az-Zumar (39: 28), it is stated clearly: “[It is] an Arabic Quran, free from any distortion—so that people may be mindful”. To put it precisely, one finds an interesting and important triad of bliss, delight, and gladness here: fasting in the month of Ramazan, revelation of the Qur’an, and purpose of fasting to achieve Taqwa; and this blissful connection is possible, at its highest level, only in the month of Ramazan.

Ramazan is not only observed as a month of fasting, but it is a month of ‘Responsibilities’: of giving charity, of goodness, of generosity, and helping each other. It is a month that fosters communal solidarity and individual piety. On 14th April 2021, Greater Kashmir in its Editorial (“The Month of Relationships”) put it beautifully in these words: “The beauty of Ramazan is that it makes an individual look beyond one's self. The other becomes important. And in a world where the other is important, life is most beautiful”. Sahih Bukhari reports a Tradition on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) which states: “The Messenger (SAAS) was the most generous of all people, and he used to become more generous in Ramazan”. It is a month of ‘unlimited’ rewards as becomes evident from this Tradition of Sahih Muslim: Almighty Allah said: “Every deed of man will receive 10 to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord”.

We should try our utmost to create an atmosphere of fellow feeling. We should spend on the poor, weak and the marginalised; and as we get double reward for the good acts during this month, so we are doubly guilty if we ignore them. This month, among others, teaches us that “if we don't hold the hand of the weak and oppressed, we are abject criminals”.

Ramazan is a month which gives us an opportunity to recover, repair, and improve our relationship with Almighty Allah and with the humankind—described as the ‘Crown of the Creation’ (Ashraf-ul-Makhluqaat). Among other blessings of the month of Ramazan is that it “comes with the prospect of all our sins being forgiven, a night better than a thousand months [Lailat ul Qadr, Q. 97] and with the opportunity to become better and stronger, thus receiving Allah's promises in this life and in the Hereafter”.

Ramazan gives an opportunity to tell the world that “we [the Muslims] care for the human race”; “we stand by the poor, by the oppressed, and by the exploited”, irrespective of their religion, race, colour, language, culture, community, status, etc. Ramazan is the month of “universal goodness”: doing good for everyone, poor, needy, weak, oppressed, deprived, destitute, etc. The Companion Abu Dharr (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAAS) said, “Help a poor person who has a family or do something for an unskilled person”, Abu Dharr (RA) asked, “What if I lack the strength to do this?”, the Prophet (SAAS) said, “Refrain from doing harm to people. This is an act of charity you do to yourself” (Sahih Bukhari).

Ramazan is a month which gives us an opportunity to come closer to our Creator, to think and care about humankind, and amid the current global crisis it is high time that we devote more and more of our time, energy, and devotion for this greater cause—to care about ‘our relations with our Creator’ as well as take care and do serve the ‘deprived’ humankind: to maintain a perfect balance between Huquq al-Allah (Rights and Duties towards Almighty Allah) and Huquq al-‘Ibaad (Rights and Duties towards Fellow Humans) and “Connecting to God must translate into connecting to people. If this month doesn't create an atmosphere of fellow feeling, and if we don’t rescue each other in this month, we lose the spirit of this month. ... Blessed are the people who do charity, and help those in need. There is no bigger act than making others happy” (GK Editorial, 14th April 2021).

It is high time that we turn to Allah, repent for our sins, and seek forgiveness, so that we can become more worthy of Mercy, Compassion, and Kindness of the ‘Most Gracious, Most Merciful’—Rabb al-Alameen. May this Ramadan prove a blessed and wonderful month for us all! May Allah bring us all closer to Him and to each other! May Allah help us in attaining the spirit of this blessed month!

Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer 

  • The author is Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies, at GDC Sogam (Kupwara). Feedback at [email protected] 

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