By Tanima Mim Hossain
So, what is the first thing you think about when you hear the word “Ramadan”? Oof…Fasting, sleeping all day, yummy iftars (meals to break the fast), and you can be sure that everyone—and I mean everyone—knows what time maghrib (sunset) is. In fact, it is probably the only prayer time people set their alarm clocks to in Ramadan.
But, did you ever learn to look beyond what you see? Did you ever consider that Ramadan might have a grander purpose, a higher aspiration? Let’s read on, shall we?
The month of Ramadan is, of course, the month in which the Glorious Qur’an was sent down from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (swt). Heavy stuff, huh? Each and every revelation, every beautiful verse of this magnificent Book was sent down in this month to guide not only a particular region or a group of people, but the whole of humanity; a dedication to the entire human race. It was sent down to us from God Himself. To mankind, from God. No wonder this month has been given such distinction.
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days…” (Qur’an 2:185)
So why fast, you ask? Well, if and when you fast for the sake of the Almighty Himself, and not for worldly reasons, or because your family told you to, then you can be sure that fasting will increase your taqwa, meaning your God-consciousness. And let’s admit it: in today’s world, when we are all sinning, thinking nobody is watching, we could all use a bit—or rather a lot—of taqwa. The reason you fast in Ramadan is the very same reason why Ramadan is the month in which the Glorious Qur’an was sent down: so that you may become grateful.
“… Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Qur’an 2:185)
When you fast, you refrain from all that is haram, and you are in a state of more self-control than usual. Did you ever ask yourself why Allah (swt) would ask you to do such things? Does He want to make you suffer for no reason? Absolutely not. It is because in the month of Ramadan your goal should be focused on being completely and entirely grateful. You see, when you put your desires on hold, you get to experience how people who are less privileged than you feel on a daily basis. You also get to focus on the more important things in life that you normally take for granted because you are so distracted by your desires, by things that serve no purpose to you. It is safe to say then that another purpose for Ramadan is for the Muslim ummah (community) to recharge itself, for Muslims to regain control of their lives, for a “higher quality” ummah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1887)
Because Ramadan is a month of gratefulness, we should be grateful for the month of Ramadan itself! Think about it. Ramadan is thirty days filled with opportunities to take advantage of. Rewards gained are actually multiplied during the time of Ramadan. Subhan Allah (glorious is God)! The devils are locked up, and there is a positive vibe in the air that lets you know that you could be doing something that will benefit you for the akhirah (the Hereafter). AlhamduliLah (praise be to God)! Each and every day of Ramadan should be taken seriously, as it could be your ticket to jannah (paradise).
Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet said:
“There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim)
And since Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an itself was sent down, why not get closer to what it has to say? It was sent down for you, after all. Subhan Allah, can you believe the miracle of it? So let each word of every verse make you think, let it make you understand the reality of our lives, and let it bring you closer to Allah (swt) for the rest of your life. Let it increase your iman (faith) so much so that for once you are captivated by its meaning and its message towards you. You will never find something quite amazing or something that will get to you quite as strongly as the Qur’an. AlhamduliLah.
Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet ﷺ said: “… whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih al-Bukhari).
Approach this Ramadan 2014 with sincerity, ambition and hope so that as the Muslim ummah of today, we may become the people of the Qur’an and carry out the very mission it was sent down for in the first place. I pray for all of you to have a great Ramadan this year. May Allah (swt) guide, forgive, and bless you all. Ramadan is a month of blessings, so do not miss out.
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