Ramadan, the month of charity | Sunday Observer

Ramadan, the month of charity

Muslims across the world eagerly await the holy month of Ramadan which falls in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The Ramadan fasting would begin on May 5 or 6, according to the sighting of the moon. Ramadan gives every fasting Muslim a spiritual and physical improvement which lasts until the following year.

This month has a significant place in Islam because of its benefits, blessings and rewards given to the followers of Islam by Allah. As narrated in Hadith “All the good deeds of the son of Adam will be multiplied and increased tenfold.” Almighty Allah has said, “except for the fast, which is for Me, I will reward him for he left his desires and food for My sake.”(Muslim) The true follower of Islam will definitely utilize the precious month of Ramadan effectively by observing fast for 30 days from dawn to dusk with the anticipation of seeking the forgiveness and blessings of Allah. The last Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammed, (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “When Ramadan comes, the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of Hell locked and the devil chained” (Bukhari). Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) used to get ready and beseech Allah to provide him an opportunity to reach the month of Ramadan two months ahead of it. The Lord and His Messenger have emphasized the gloriousness and uniqueness of Ramadan.

The Holy Quran says, “O you who believe, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” ( Sura Al-Baqarah, 2:183). According to Islamic teaching, every healthy Muslim adult is required to fast during the month of Ramadan. Children, the sick, travellers, women who are menstruating, the pregnant or breast-feeding are not compelled to fast but those who skip fasting should fast on later days or compensate the days they could not fast.The 30 days of fasting is divided into three.

The first 10 days are for blessings (Rahmath), the second 10 days to seek repentance for the sins committed (Magfirath), and the last 10 days to seek protection from Hell

(Ethukum Minannar). Fasting does not mean merely refraining from food and drink but has a deeper meaning and plays a major role in the practical and spiritual life of every Muslim. Allah does not expect his devotees’ mere starvation and vigilance but his pious involvement seeking higher ranks on Judgement Day and submission to his command. Prophet Muhammed once said, “Two significant things will intercede for us on Judgement Day. First is the Quran that we recite during our lifetime. Second is the fasting. In order to reap these divinely benefits, and the gratification of Allah, the people who tend to commit sins during the other eleven months of the year are motivated to fast and free themselves from sin in the month of Ramadan.

The Muslim who fasts during the month of Ramadan, should be patient, avoid getting angry and refrain from speaking lies, backbiting, making false promises, looking at women with lustful thoughts and quarrelling. Such acts will nullify the real intention of fasting. Prophet Muhammed said, “ Fasting is a protecting shield, so when one of you are fasting, let him not behave or speak indecently; if someone tries to create a fight, let him say,‘ I am fasting!” But people tend to waste away their precious time in this gifted month.

They while away their time watching television, engage in idle talk and play various indoor games such as carrom or chess and children waste time playing computer games. So, Muslim brothers and sisters be mindful about the adverse effects of unnecessary words and deeds that will erode away our good deeds and finally make us bankrupt on the Day of Reckoning. The Muslim should pray five times a day during Ramadan. Fasting is only the fourth pillar of Islam while prayer is the second pillar. The rewards are multiplied for prayers during the month of Ramadan. When a Muslim performs (Nafeel prayers) normal prayers, he will get the benefits of (Farl Prayers) compulsory prayers, The Farl Prayer is 70-fold greater than the prayers performed during an ordinary period.

This month is also highly regarded by Muslims owing to the night of power (Lailathul Qadr). It lies hidden in the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan on which Almighty Allah revealed the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). It is greater than a thousand months. The Muslim fraternity must realise the meritorious power of this month and strive to obtain maximum benefits. No one can assure of our existence next year, perhaps this may be the last Ramadan.

Thus, do not miss or misuse this rare opportunity that comes once a year to purify our body and soul and Allah has created a special entrance (Entrance of Raiyan) through which only the people who fasted will enter Heaven. Allah has hidden numerous benefits and rewards to His slave especially in this gifted month of Ramadan.

Hence, we must sincerely determine to fast during this month in obedience to His commands and be genuinely involved in charity (Sadaqua). Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was seen to be faster than the blowing wind in performing charity in the month of Ramadan (Bukhari) and take a solitary position to plead with Allah for forgiveness for the sins of his umma (community). The one who is fasting experiences two joys, i.e. when he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord. We should not be over indulgent during ( Ifthaar) the time of breaking fast, but be mindful that fasting is not feasting and restrict ourselves to the real meaning of fasting. This is the time, when we have to remember the poor, most of who have no wherewithal to break their fast. It is a month of community building. Muslims invite their neighbours and friends, to share their evening meal at ifthaar, which would pave the way for a harmonious co-existence in the country.

We are obliged to invoke Allah to bestow peace to the nation and console the minds of our brothers and sisters who have lost their kith and kin in the recent nightmare. We should also avoid idling around on the roads, at night time, disturbing the people who are asleep. Parents should guide their children to recite the Quran or engage in zikr (prayers). Let us hope this Ramadan would bring peace, patience and power to tolerate the prevailing grievances and hardships in the country.