By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Every aspect of Islam has a message for humanity. Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan has a strong spiritual message.
A true man of faith has kindled the fire of faith within him, and fasting is something that enhances his faith. Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAS) said: "Fasting is prescribed for man to purify his soul." In Ramadan, the month of fasting, you become the guest of God. Do praise Him with devotion.
Fasting cleanses our body from impurities. If the believers are not striving to refine their character by fast, the fast will be a body without soul. Likewise, it must purify our hearts and minds from all impure thoughts improper desires and undisciplined sensations.
How important the purity of thoughts and words while fasting could be gauged by an example from an incident from the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). The Holy Prophet saw a woman, who was fasting on a day (not in Ramadan), abusing her girl-servant. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) admonished her and asked her to break her fast formally. The woman protested arguing that it is not Ramadan month: "But I am fasting today". Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: "But was not your fast broken by the abuses you were hurling upon that poor girl?"
Above said instance let us make our fasting pure and genuine and most of fasting days get at least a pass mark. Love, kindness and consideration we show to others should not be artificial but sincere enough.
Fasting is not a mere ritual, it is a serious obligation.
The holy month of Ramadan has come to the believers again and this Holy month comes to the Islamic world every year to remind the Muslim faithful on the need to return to Allah by following His teachings in all walks of their lives in order to achieve peace in this world and the Hereafter.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has cautioned Muslims 14 centuries ago that the Ramadan fasting should have a real impact on their lives. He has advised the faithful that Ramadan should change one’s behaviour, attitude and outlook toward life. While fasting, Muslims must ponder whether it had any effect in making them more God-fearing and pious.
Self purification is the goal and objective of fasting in Islam – and fasting not just for starving alone. The heart and mind must be with Muslims in fasting. Because fast in its real sense, will not be complete unless your thoughts, our emotions, our actions - in short, all aspects of our life - become pure, clean and free from blemish.
Check if what we eat is Halal. Talk only genuine things, lawful according to your heart and mind.
Honesty is important for the believers and especially while fasting.
Control the tongue and speech. Islam teaches us not to tell lies or useless tales; do not spread rumours or, damaging gossips about other persons; keep aloof from falsity. Use the power of speech in spreading the word of God; in creating goodwill in the society. Do not inflict injury upon others by your actions, including in words; instead strive to help them as far as you can.
By indulging in such mischievous anti-Islamic things mentioned above while fasting, the Muslims in fact insult Islam, injure the fasting itself. Such fasting can be dangerous and self-destructive too. That even after fasting for years every year 30 days Muslims have not self purified and become greedier is not a healthy sign.
While fasting activates the blood circulation it mainly purifies heart and soul. Besides, the modern medicine has proved that fasting is a remedy for diseases that affect the man of this century because of overeating and the variety of canned food. In this case, fasting is as being a treatment and even a preventive at the same time.
The physiological effect of fasting includes lowering of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting would be an ideal recommendation for the treatment of mild to moderate, stable, non-insulin diabetes, obesity, and essential hypertension. Islamic fasting is different from diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake.
Islamic fasting during the Holy Ramadan has important spiritual objectives. Ramadan is a month for Muslims to change their lives for the better, leaving behind un-Islamic and immoral practices, to lead an exemplary life, both in form and content. During Ramadan, Muslim faithful are trained to keep away from sins. The Prophet has advised them on that, The Holy Qur’an has stated that the Prophet Muhammad “was sent to perfect good manners.”
The fasting in the holy month develops a strong feeling among the faithful that Allah is watching all their activities.
While expecting favours from Allah, the believers should also learn to mould behaviour in words and deeds and to be kind to others. Ramadan is a month for fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. Ramadan is a month-long training program for Muslims to change their lives. During this month, they engage in prayers seeking the forgiveness of Allah, recite and reflect on the Qur’an during night and day, perform the Taraweeh night prayers, and attend special Islamic classes and meetings.
While major holidays of other faiths have largely become commercialized events, Ramadan retains its intense spiritual meaning. Fasting in Ramadan teaches Muslims to learn discipline, which is essential for them to make progress. The Prophet has made us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that God has laid down.
Ramadan month helps the believers to imbibe the valuable human traits like respect of time, of word and promise, and so one becomes trustworthy, well estimated, able to carry out one's responsibilities, and to fulfill one's social duties. Ramadan makes Muslims trust worthy.
Ramadan encourages the faithful to engage in charitable and good activities beneficial to humanity. Patience is an important quality one develops during Ramadan through fasting. When one fasts from dawn to dusk, giving up food and drink and marital sexual relations for several hours, they learn restraint and patience.
Muslim faithful compete with one another in charitable activities during Ramadan to win Allah’s pleasure and reward. The Prophet was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when angel Jibraeel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month.” Charity and mutual help occupy a remarkable place, and brotherhood and equality triumph, which that is, the most human acts and the holiest purpose of the fasting. The daytime fasting and night-time prayers spiritually energize the faithful to lead a new life, benefiting the whole humanity and opening a new chapter of peace and progress.
Muslims all over the world fast during the holy month, thus strengthening their unity and solidarity and they need this unity more than any time before to confront growing challenges. All the teachings of Islam urge the Muslim faithful to stand together and should not disintegrate. Unfortunately, today Muslims kill one another in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of the world, making their enemies happy.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.
Among the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Quadr), which is highlighted in Surah Al-Quadr, saying it has the significance of being better than a thousand months. (Qur’an 97:3). This was the night when Qur’an was revealed to mankind. Prophet Muhammad (SAS) urged Muslims to seek this night in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan. Qur’an says: “The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Holy Qur’an, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. Allah has guided and He expects the believers to be grateful to the Almighty.
The faithfuls thank God for revealing the Holy Qur’an during this month as a blessing and guidance for the mankind. The Islamic nations need men and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Qur’an and Sunnah and not waver in front of the enemies of God. In fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan, the true believers could feel passing through the heavenly space of spirituality in Islam by purifying their soul and mind. This is in fact an expression of commitment to Islam and set out for heaven. Fasting, like prayers, guard the believes against evil. In the month of Ramadan, one should therefore get to know the Holy Quran better and the victory over the false deity of the soul.
In fact, Ramadan fasting is a stage where the human being is the closest to God. The fasting period, Ramadan is a time when one really submits to spiritual and social changes. Ramadan fasting is a confidential act which occurs between the human being and his Creator. This act must be impregnated with full sincerity and the deepest loyalty. Now in case fasting loses its honesty, it becomes hypocrisy.
Of course science and technology contradict the divine laws by trying to disprove the existence and even usefulness of God. Their argument perhaps is that government alone is enough for people and God has no place in real life. But the believers should stay firm in their faith. Even as efforts are undertaken constantly to challenge God and faith, believers should be steadfast in their faith. The true believers should not disobey God by thinking that surely the “Lord is Forgiving, Merciful."
In fact, upon completing the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are in fact reborn as new humans with a message for fellow Muslims and others to change quality of life and ensure safety Hereafter. .
Muslims need to earn the honest personality.