Ramadan helps Muslims
Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying
that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and that Muhammad
is the Messenger of Allah; establishing the prayer;
giving charity (zakkah); performing hajj
(pilgrimage) to the house (the Holy Kabbah); and fasting in Ramadan.
Ramadan will begin this year in mid-November.
Ramadan is a special month of the year for more than one billion Muslims
throughout the world. It is a time for inner
reflection, devotion to God and self-control.
Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up
for their spiritual lives. The prophet Muhammad said, "There has come to
you Ramadan, a blessed month, in which Allah has
made it obligatory to fast. During it,
the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed."
There are many important lessons to be
learned from fasting.
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food,
water and other desires from sunrise to sunset. This serves as a means
of learning self-restraint and patience.
Patience gives us the ability to strengthen
our sincere worship to Allah alone, cope with life's ups and downs, restrain
our souls from greed and stinginess and
therefore give part of our wealth in charity.
We are also able to subdue the soul's ill
temperament and thus deal with hardships without losing our tempers and
Fasting is a way of experiencing hunger,
developing sympathy for the less fortunate and learning to become thankful
and appreciate all of God's bounties. Fasting is
also beneficial to health, providing a
break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.
Another lesson is cultivating good manners
and truthfulness. The prophet said, "Whosoever does not abandon falsehood
in speech and action, then Allah the
Mighty and Majestic has no need that he
should leave his food and drink." He also said, "Fasting is not merely
abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, it is also
abstaining from ignorant and indecent
Thus this blessed month teaches us not
only to abstain from food and drink, but also to abstain from such statements
and actions that may be the cause of harming
people and violating their rights. The
Messenger said while describing the true believer, "A Muslim is one from
whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his
So by shunning oppression, shamelessness,
hatred, back-biting, slander and other types of falsehood, we can be saved
from nullifying the rewards of our fasting --
as Allah's Messenger said, "It may be
that a fasting person receives nothing from his fast, except hunger and
In a nutshell, because of the lack of preoccupation
with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of
fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to
one's spiritual nature, which becomes
a means of coming closer to God.
Ramadan is a time of intensive worship,
reading of the Quran, giving to charity, purifying one's behavior and doing
good deeds. For Muslims, Ramadan is not merely
a holiday, but an opportunity to gain
by giving up, to prosper by going without and to grow stronger by enduring