Each year, Muslims around the world celebrate the commencement of Ramadan. There’s a feeling in the air like no other. The sacredness it brings is undeniable. Why is this month so important to Muslims?
O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint.
- Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayah 183
As Muslims, we follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah (SWT) commands us through a few verses in the Qur’an to observe the month of Ramadan and the reasons as to why Fasting is prescribed to us. It therefore becomes an obligation for each and every Muslim, with a few exceptions such as those who are ill and those who are travelling.
At the commencement of Ramadan, Muslims Fast every day from dawn until dusk as a means of self purification for the mind, body and soul. However, there is so much more to this Holy Month with the Ummah making the most of the benefits and rewards it brings.
The revelation of the Qur’an
The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at the cave of Hira during the month of Ramadan. The Angel Jibra-eel (Gabriel) commanded our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to recite a verse from the Qur’an and would go on to revise with him every night during the month of Ramadan. Allah (SWT) commanded Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to recite and teach the Qur’an to people, where they in turn would learn and teach it to others.
The best of you are those who learned the Qur’an and taught it (to others).
As rewards are increased during this blessed month, it is the ideal time to spend more time reciting and reflecting on verses of the Qur’an. To gain a deeper understanding on why the Qur’an serves as a gift to humanity, we encourage you to read one of our previous articles titled: “Qur’an and reflecting” and to also take time to look at our Wasila Cards which contains Qur’an verses to reflect on
The purpose of Fasting
Muslims fast every year during Ramadan to attain piety and become closer to Allah (SWT). This is done by purifying the soul through abstaining from sin and cleansing the body by abstaining from food and drink from dawn until dusk. It is a commandment of Allah (SWT) in the Qur’an and therefore becomes obligatory on every Mukallaf Muslim that is in good health.
Anything that is made obligatory directly from Allah (SWT) becomes the most important aspect of a Muslim’s life. In addition to Fasting during the month of Ramadan being a commandment by Allah (SWT), the benefits it reaps include:
Spiritual Reflection and growth
Fasting during the month of Ramadan increases Taqwa (consciousness of Allah SWT). As we refrain from eating and drinking during the day, we train our bodies to become disciplined and to avoid self-indulgence. As we become more discplined with food and drink, it creates a consciousness of refraining from over-indulgence in other aspects too – i.e. refraining from seeking happiness in worldly pleasures and focusing on spiritual reflection and growth. This is where true happiness lies as you become grateful with less and focus more towards preparing for the after life.
With increased Taqwa comes increased spiritual reflection and growth. As Fasting is a way of cleansing the body, it opens our mind more and we start reflecting on how we can become better Muslims. As we reflect, we seek forgiveness for our wrongdoings, seeking emancipation from our past sins and asking Allah (SWT) for protection and guidance so that we can strive towards becoming better Muslims with each day.
Increased Rewards and Blessings
Ramadan is a great opportunity to maximize on the blessings that comes with this month. A few hadiths that mention the increased rewards and blessings this month brings :
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."
Narrated Abu Huraira(r.a): The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:"... whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying, "Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.
Muslims also observe Laylatul Qadr which occur on one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan. As stated in the Qur’an:
We have indeed revealed This (Message) In the Night of Power:
- Surah Al-Qadr: Ayah 1-5
Creates a sense of balance
Islam is not an all or nothing faith. You have to start from somewhere and build up to where you would ideally like to be.
Fasting during Ramadan is a period to start breaking bad habits, increase good deeds and to sustain a sense of balance between making the most of this life while striving for the Hereafter. While Fasting increases your spiritual awareness, it also makes you more alert of the physical world in the sense that the sun in the sky becomes an important observation for Suhoor and Iftar. You become more aware of the times of the positioning of the sun, making you more aware of when each prayer time is. You develop a healthier relationship with food, becoming more grateful for things you may have previously taken for granted.
Increase Acts of Charity
Another aspect that is highly regarded during Ramadan is to increase charitable acts. Muslims have an obligation towards the less fortunate. Your Fast will not be accepted unless you make your contribution of Zakat al-Fitr (Fitrana) during Ramadan, but before Eid Al-Fitr, so that the less fortunate can enjoy their day of Eid Ul-Fitr as well.
As there is the promise of increased rewards and blessings during this Holy Month, Muslims go over and beyond to help those in need, seek forgiveness from the Almighty (SWT) and aim to become better people.
May Allah (SWT) guide, protect and forgive us all during this Holy Month of Ramadan and may we sustain the habits of good deeds afterwards In Sha Allah.
Written by: Zaghra Savahl
As humans in this dunya we are inundated by many distractions, misguidance, and falsehoods therefore making life much more confusing and difficult. What are we thinking, saying, observing, and experiencing in our lives? Are we truly living by Islamic ideals? This is where we can choose to actively “Strive For Clarity.”