By Dr Tauseef Ahmad Parray
April 28, 2020
Ramadan is the blessed month in which the noble Qur’an was revealed and fasting prescribed (Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 183-85). Fasting (Sawm) in the month of Ramadan (9th month of lunar calendar) is the fourth pillar of 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 the 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’…”.
This year Ramadan has come at a time when whole humanity is facing COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and the ‘lockdown’ is being observed as a precautionary measure and perfect antidote to stop the spread of this virus and to save the humanity. The Greater Kashmir, in its front-page Editorial (“Ramadan: Does it change us!”, 25th April) put forth it rightly as: “This year the month of fasting—Ramadhan—comes at a time when the pandemic has brought human arrogance to knees. From West to East the man has realised that with all our worldly strengths—industrial, capitalistic, and militaristic—we are finally defenceless. This pandemic has exposed our exploitative, and oppressive relationships with our fellow human beings, and with the nature. Ramadhan is the time we search our souls and seek forgiveness for all our acts of oppression and exploitation”.
Similarly, The Islamic Foundation (Markfield, Leicestershire, UK) has come up with ‘My Ramadan Planner 2020’, with the objective of helping us “to live Ramadan with the required focus”, keeping in view the current situation. In its introduction it highlights in clear terms that the “amazing month of Ramadan … 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”, but it is a fact “Ramadan with the current lockdown will be strange. But the opportunities and blessings will be no less, InShaAllah”.
Ramadan is not only observed as a month of fasting, but it is a month of Mawasaat, of giving charity, of goodness, of generosity, and helping each other. It is a month that fosters communal solidarity and individual piety: Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) narrated: “The Messenger (SAAS) was the most generous of all people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him” (Bukhari). It is a month of ‘unlimited’ rewards: 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” (Muslim).
We should try our utmost to spend on poor and 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 teaches us, among others, that “if we don’t hold the hand of weak and oppressed, we are abject criminals”.
Ramadan is month which gives us an opportunity to recover, mend, and improve our relationship with Almighty Allah and with the humankind—described as the ‘Crown of the Creation’. Ramadan gives an opportunity to tell the world that “we care for 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. Ramadan is the month of “universal goodness”: doing good for everyone—poor, needy, deprived and 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” (Bukhari).
Ramadan is a month which gives us an opportunity to come closer to our Creator, to think and care about humankind, and amid the ‘current lockdown’, 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. In this regard, I would highly recommend the reading and following the ‘Ramadan Planner 2020’ of The Islamic Foundation (IF), UK (available on their website at www.tif.org.uk): it has been launched by IF to help to live this Ramadan with the required focus, “by setting some Ramadan goals”, such as reflecting over how we can “become a better Muslim; what knowledge, practices and habits” do we need to acquire during the blessed month, because a “personal and reflective Ramadan could be the perfect antidote” in the current circumstances faced by humanity, globally.
It is high time that we turn to Allah, repent for our sins, and seek forgiveness, so that to become more worthy of Mercy, Compassion, and Kindness of the ‘Most Gracious, Most Merciful’—the Lord and Sustainer of the Creations/Worlds.
May this Ramadan (even amid this current strange situation and ‘lockdown’) prove a blessed and wonderful month for us all! May Allah bring us all closer to Him and to each other!
P.S.: The translation of all the Ahadith is taken from the ‘My Ramadan Planner 2020’, The Islamic Foundation, UK, which the author received via email on 23rd April.
Dr Tauseef Ahmad Parray is Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies, at GDC for Women, Pulwama (J&K).
Original Headline: Planning the Month
Source: The Greater Kashmir