The month of blessing has arrived again. This is the month of happiness and loads of blessings and unlimited bounties for all the Muslims globally from our Almighty Allah. It is the advent of a month that is filled with immeasurable blessings; the thirty days which necessitate a Muslim to observe one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting. This month helps all the Muslims to abstain themselves from all the bad deeds and to develop good habits in them.
Life is full of challenges and we confront it on regular basis. But Islam has given us a true bounty of Ramadan to meet the challenges with courage and confidence. Where this blessed month brings a chance for all the Muslims to change their habits and to develop good deeds, it also brings a chance to ask for forgiveness.
According to Allah, the gates of Heaven are thrown open, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained in this month. Our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said,
“When the first night of Ramadan comes, the devils and the rebellious jinn are chained, the gates of Hell are locked and not one of them is opened; the gates of Paradise are opened and not one of them is locked; and a crier calls, ‘You who desire what is good, come forward, and you who desire evil, refrain.’ Some are freed from Hell by Allah, and that happens every night.” (Tirmidhi).
Another proposal of this month is the act of fasting, which was ordained during the second year of Hijrah. Fasting is obligatory for all the Muslims. Fasting develops the skills of self-restraint and self-control in an individual, as the person fasting does not only have to abstain from food and drink, but s/he must also refrain from many other things: backbiting, gossiping, bad deeds, using abusive language etc.
The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink” (Bukhari).
The observance of fasting during Ramadan constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. The experience of fasting is intended to teach Muslims self-discipline and self-restraint, and understand a little of the plight of the less privileged (e.g., the hungry, thirsty and the poor). Furthermore, Ramadan fasting is not just about disciplining the body to refrain from eating and drinking from pre-dawn until sunset, but is also about exerting control over the mind. This involves restraining anger, doing good deeds, exercising personal discipline, and preparing one to serve as a good Muslim and a good person. Fasting during Ramadan is prescribed for every healthy, adult Muslim whereas the weak, the sick, children, travelers and menstruating women are among those exempted. Muslims observing the fast are required to abstain not only from eating food and drinking water, but also from consuming oral medicines and injecting intravenous nutritional fluids.
The aim of fasting is to get spiritual happiness besides material welfare and to explore a true sense of happiness within us. This month is a blessed month and gives us a message to be pious to to get closer to Allah.
In the Quran, Allah says:
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you that ye may ward off (evil) (2:183).
Fasting is an action, which, we are told, will act as a shield for us when we most need it.
Allah’s Apostle said,
“Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins” (Bukhari).
Ramadan is the month, when all the Muslims should have to pay their yearly Zakat from whatever he/she has earned. Paying Zakat is obligatory in Islam and every one has to follow its procedure strictly. Care for the poor relatives, neighbors and other deprived people is also ordained upon the Muslims in the form of Zakat. A small portion of wealth, left accumulated in the previous year, is to be distributed among the deserving people, thus creating a sense of gratitude among the rich towards the Almighty and at the same time a sense of fulfillment among the under-privileged towards the Almighty, as well as a sense of brotherhood towards the giver of the charity.
Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“There is Zakat applicable to everything, and the Zakat of the body is fasting” (Tirmidhi).
Fasting also fill in Muslims, the spirit of charity. Abstaining from food and drink gives a firsthand experience to the more privileged as to what the less fortunate may have to endure the year around. Hence, it encourages us to donate more to charity and to give out of the wealth to those who cannot afford the same luxuries that they do.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) said,
“He who gives one who has been fasting something with which to break his fast, or who equips a fighter, will have a reward equivalent to his” (Tirmidhi).