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Islamic Society ( 1 Jun 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Ramadan, What Does It Mean To You?

By Shafeeka Basheer

Jun 2, 2016

THE long-awaited month of Ramadan is just round the corner. This is the month of fasting, feasting, worshiping and brotherhood. This weekend I witnessed the crowds in malls and shopping centres getting into Ramadan mode, as did the shops and malls that have designed and decorated, with banners and lights, to welcome the holy month into everyone’s life. I witnessed excitement, preparation, and anticipation everywhere. The spirit of Ramadan transcends homes, mosques and markets as well.

Are we ready to accept all the goodness and opportunities that Ramadan brings to us?

This month is more than eating and inviting people for Iftar (breaking of fast). This is the month of Islamic rejuvenation and self-improvement. No human being is born perfect and we all need some changes and adjustments. Human being has both qualities of devil and demon. We can use Ramadan wisely to purify ourselves.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of the hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. And in it there is a night which is better than a thousand nights”.

Fasting in this month is not only a physical activity; it is the total commitment of the person’s body and soul. It is time to cleanse oneself from impurities and focus on spiritual connection with Allah. During Ramadan every part of the body must be controlled. The tongue should restrain from backbiting, lying, gossiping and mocking others. The ears should hear only good words and good things. The eyes should control its gaze from seeing anything that is unlawful. The feet should not visit a place that is forbidden. In short, every part of one’s body should observe the fast, not only the stomach. Fasting empties the stomach, yet nourishes the soul.

We must renew our relationship with others. We should confess to our dear and near ones if we have wronged them and seek forgiveness. Our pride and arrogance should not stop us from doing this. Greet them, no matter how much they ignore you. Smile to them, no matter how hard it feels. Be kind to them, no matter how undeserved they seem to you. And if reconciling ever seems hard to you, remind yourself that Islam teaches you to forgive and rekindle brotherhood.

I spoke to a few people here in Kingdom asking how they treat this special month of the year.

Taaha, Private Sector Employee:

I use this month to wash my heart from anger, hatred, jealousy and grudges with my family. I had planned to forgive others and be generous to people around me too. I planned to spend maximum time in prayers and worshipping.

Wahid, Software Professional:

I am a major addict of social media tools like WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube. I must reduce these activities and invest my time in reading Qur’an and spending time to get closer to Allah.

Ayesha, Staff Nurse:

Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the globe feel what I feel and do what I do…it’s a humbling experience. We feel the thirst and hunger of the people who are less fortunate. I have decided to offer charity to the poor and needy more than last year as the sufferings in the world have increased.

Fasting is an opportunity to realize the sufferings of people who are less fortunate. I can say this month makes my mind and heart more open in giving in the form of charity to the poor. We should feel for those who are suffering and hungry in Syria, Palestine, Iraq and help uplift them.

Sana, Primary School Student:

As a child, I would wait for the month of Ramadan and long to fast. But my parents never forced me to observe fast. It was really joyous when mother woke me at Suhoor time for fasting. Mother prepares good and tasty dishes to break my fast, we — relatives and family friends — get together and have lots of fun; it teaches self-control and patience.

Abdullah, Government Employee:

I welcome Ramadan, the month of mercy and repentance, the month of the Qur’an and the month of forgiveness. In the month of Ramadan, I will not watch TV and spend my time in memorizing the verses of the Holy Qur’an and praying more. I will avoid spending money on household items and home decoration items. I shall spend on my relatives who are in need of financial support.

Saamia, Schoolteacher:

To me Ramadan is a time of mercy and repentance. I remain more polite in Ramadan and teach my children the significance of this month and Holy Qur’an. I donate part of my earnings to the poor and needy in the form of Zakat. This is the only month of the year where my family eats together, as our office timings are the same. So I look forward for this month.

Richard, Non-Muslim Expat:

This is my second Ramadan in the Kingdom. Though I don’t fast, I respect and value my Muslim colleagues and friends of mine who fast during this month. I don’t eat in public and offer my services and help to my Muslim colleagues so that they can devote maximum of this month to worship and prayer.

Libab Fatima, Doctor:

Fasting is a nature’s prescription to cure our mind and body. We feed our body for the 11 months night and day. This month helps to detoxify our human system. It’s also necessary that one should take care not to fall ill in this month by overindulging or being dehydrated. One should include dates and curd in their diet. As for me, Ramadan is the time of self-discipline and shedding our ego. It’s the great time to spend with family members.

Habib Rahman, Accountant:

Ramadan is the time for empathy and getting close to Almighty. Nobody can get close to Allah without purifying soul and washing the dirt away. I wish to use this Ramadan to be extra kind and compassionate to the employees in my organization. On a personal note, it is not lawful in Islam to cut ties with family members. I wish to mend my relationship with my sibling with whom I have a misunderstanding over partition of our ancestral properties. I wish to confess and get my relationship with him back; after all money can never buy true happiness.

Let us ask ourselves if we have closed the door of communication with any family members or cousins. Let us discard our ego and mend broken relationships, irrespective of whose fault it is. Let’s follow the advice of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to call a brother, sister or cousin for a cup of coffee or dinner. By following this humble action, we can seek pleasure in this holy month of Ramadan.

The Conclusion From The Public Opinion, Ramadan Is:

A time for prayer, fasting and good deeds

A time for self-discipline and perfection

A time for struggling against worldly desires

A time for fun, family bonding and time for forgiveness

So, what do we get out of Ramadan?

We get stronger souls, better family bonding, a healthy digestive system and a sense of fulfilment.

It’s not that when Ramadan is over, we should go back to our old habits or routine. Ramadan is an excellent opportunity to bring permanent improvement in our life. No other month in a year can bring this noble and blessed feeling like Ramadan. Let us utilize the days of the holy month beneficially to attain peace.

Ramadan Kareem to everyone.