New Age Islam - Read About Islam, Islamic Religion and Muslims, Terrorism and Jihad
   Urdu Section
   Hindi Section
   Arabic Section
   French Section
   Books and Documents
   Islamic World News
   Radical Islamism and Jihad
   Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
   War on Terror
   Islam and the West
   Interfaith Dialogue
   The War Within Islam
   Islam and Politics
   Current Affairs
   Muslims and Islamophobia
   Islamic Ideology
   Islam and Human Rights
   Islamic Sharia Laws
   Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam
   Islam and Sectarianism
   Islam and Spiritualism
   Spiritual Meditations
   Islam, Women and Feminism
   Islamic Society
   Islam and Pluralism
   Islam and Tolerance
   Islamic History
   Islamic Personalities
   Islam and Science
   Islam and Environment
   Islamic Culture
   Debating Islam
   Islam and the Media
   Letter to the Editor
   From the Desk of Editor
   Persian Section
   Bangla Section
   Indian Press
   Pakistan Press
   Middle East Press
   World Press
Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal
The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam
Biography, Audio
More Videos.. 
The Quran: A New Translation - The eternal present tense
Preface: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Lecture 1: Knowledge and Religious Experience
Focus on Islam, Jihad and Terrorism
Condemning "Islamist" terrorist attack on Mumbai in harshest terms
Can Ulema save Muslims from Radical Islamism?
Indian Ulema have no time to lose, must call warlike Quranic surahs obsolete.
Jihadism gets sustenance from verses of war in the Quran
Dr. Zakir Naik on Yazeed and Osama bin Laden - A New Age Islam Debate
Unveiling Zakir Naik: Terror cannot be fought with Terror
Comments - 148
On Televangelist Zakir Naik: Don't give in to pretenders
Comments - 31
Beware of the Kafir-manufacturing factories: Maulana Nadeem-ul-Wajidi responds to the Fatawahs of Kufr against Dr. Zakir Naik
Comments - 41
Unity among Muslims and Dr. Zakir Naik's Evil: A Point of View
Comments - 163
This Islamic website offers facts about Islam and Muslims, Islam way and Islamic ideology. Online Islam - Latest Islamic World News, Articles on Radical Islamism & Jihad and Islam, Terrorism and Jihad
Spiritual Meditations
06 Sep 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Ramzaan reflections

By Sudheendra Kulkarni

 Sun Sep 05 2010

These days I am usually up by four in the morning. No other time of day or night is more blessed for meditation and work, and also for watching the magical transition from darkness to light, especially in Mumbai’s monsoon season. And this being the holy month of Ramzaan, I am also well in time to be a distant witness to the unbelievable way the Muslim community in the neighbourhood prepares for roza, the daylong fasting ritual. As loudspeakers fitted on mosques keep reminding the faithful about sehri ka waqt (the precise time to start fasting), I can visualise how Muslim families hurriedly conclude their pre-sehri eating to start yet another new day of self-denial in a month that epitomises Islamic piety at its best. Indeed, nothing else broadcasts the philosophy and practice of spiritual Islam better than Ramzaan, about which Rumi writes:

The month of fasting has come,The emperor’s banner has arrived, Withhold your hand from food,The spirit’s table has arrived.

The sound of azaan (call to prayer) from the mosques makes me reflect on the message of Ramzaan not only for Muslims but also for non-Muslims. Fasting and prayer, as methods of inculcating values of self-control and self-purification, surrender and sacrifice, are common to all faiths. Besides detoxifying the body, they temper the baser instincts of man. Mahatma Gandhi, who fasted regularly, believed that “a genuine fast crucifies the flesh and to that extent sets the soul free”. He also used penance as a way of satyagraha, saying, “My religion teaches me that whenever there is distress which one cannot remove, one must fast and pray.” (He fasted 17 times for India’s freedom, for 21 days on two occasions, once even in his seventies.) However, in no other faith do fasting and prayer act as an organising principle of life for the entire community so effectively, and that too on a global scale, as they do so in Islam. Clearly, non-Muslims have a lot to learn from Muslims on how to preserve the best of their own traditions.

If we forget feasting that follows fasting at politically inspired iftaar parties, it is possible to see that the quintessential call of Ramzaan is to adapt to a life of simplicity, frugality, fortitude and attention towards needs of the soul rather than towards those of the body. “Let us sacrifice all our body, since the soul has arrived as guest,” sings Rumi. “There is an unseen sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. When the brain and the belly burn from fasting, every moment a new song rises out of the fire.”

In many ways, the message of Ramzaan is a manifesto against western materialism, which has spread to many parts of the world, including Muslim countries. This is a system that thrives on excess for some and deprivation for many. It survives by encouraging people, through the seductive art of advertising, to consume more than they need. It ensures that the greed of a minority prevails over the needs of the majority. This does not mean that inequality, exploitation, hedonism, hypocrisy and moral decay are the monopoly of the non-Muslim world. The true spirit of Ramzaan is also conspicuous by its absence among the ruling elites of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Gulf sheikhdoms and other Muslim countries.

Two more reflections—one happy and the other not so!

Four years ago, celestial movements conspired to bring Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramzaan, and Diwali almost on the same day., my favourite website on Pakistan founded by Adil Najam, carried a rare photograph of a Diwali lamp being lit in Krishna Mandir in Rawalpindi and Juma-tul-Vida (the last Friday in Ramzaan) prayers at the historic Wazir Khan mosque in Lahore. The website also carried this couplet, which has since become a popular communal harmony greeting in the SMS circuit in India: Agar Diwali mein hai Ali/ Aur Ramzaan mein Ram ka naam/ To Hindu aur Musalman ke beech/ Nafrat ka kya hai kaam? (If Diwali contains Ali, and Ramzaan the name of Ram, then what place has hatred between Hindus and Muslims?) How true! Our festivals are bearers of the message of universal love and brotherhood. In multi-religious India (sadly, Pakistan has long ceased to be multi-religious, Hindus there having been reduced to a microscopic minority, Najam’s Rawalpindi picture notwithstanding), we must rejoice in all our festivals and build strong bonds of goodwill and mutual understanding.

Two days ago, Adil Najam’s website carried a photographic report of a different kind—of religious extremists attacking Shia processions in Lahore and Karachi, and killing dozens of people. “Pakistan is at war,” Najam wrote in anguish and despair. In recent years, Pakistan has witnessed a series of terrorist strikes targeting Shias, Ahmediyas and Sufis. This made me ponder over a troubling paradox. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Islam’s insistence on righteousness and God-consciousness is loud and clear, more emphatically so in the practice of fasting and prayers during Ramzaan. Why, then, do a minority of Muslims exhibit that streak of extreme intolerance which rejects other faiths as false or aberrant, seeks to violently suppress diversity within Islam, and never hides its ultimate goal of establishing a uniform and dogmatic interpretation of Islam as the reigning faith all over the world?

Source: Indian Express


Forward to a friend | Print
Total Comments: 0
     Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Strike Through
Left Align
Right Align
Change Text Direction
Ordered List
Unordered List
Decrease Indent
Increase Indent
Font Color
Background Color
Insert Link
Remove Link
Horizontal Rule
Please use the browser Internet Explorer to post your comments.
In case of difficulty, please post your comments to:
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily reflect that of
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to promote Co-Existence and Dialogue of Religions and Civilisations, and advance understanding of Islam and Democracy, Pluralism, Terrorism, Human Rights, Islamic Laws and Ideology, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. New Age Islam has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor is New Age Islam endorsed or sponsored by the originator of these articles. For more information go to:
Copyright 2008 - 2009 NewAgeIslam.Com All Rights Reserved.
Site best viewed in 1200 x 900 pixels or higher display resolution.
Editor and Publisher: Sultan Shahin, E-22, Indra Prastha Apts., 114, I. P. Extension, New Delhi – 110092
Phone No. (+91-11) 222 44 868 E-mail:
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Disclaimer | Donate | Submit Articles | Privacy Policy