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     Volume 7 Issue 38 | September 19, 2008 |

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Ramadan III

The good, the bad, and the really good


“For more than a billion Muslims all around the world, Ramadan is a time of prayer, fasting, and charity.

“Muslims believe that during the month of Ramadan, Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam. Around 610 A.D. during the month of Ramadan, a caravan trader named Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) took to wandering the desert near Mecca (Saudi Arabia) while thinking about his faith. One night a voice called to him from the night sky. It was the angel Gabriel, who told Muhammad he had been chosen to receive the word of Allah. In the days that followed, Muhammad found himself speaking the verses that would be transcribed as the Qur'an.”

Other than the advent of the Holy Book, Ramadan is also the month during which Allah has asked Muslims to fast from dawn to dusk. Allah, the all Merciful, while prescribing on us fasting also showed us the greatness of fasting in this world and in the hereafter. Muslims also pray more and are more charitable during this ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

There are many good reasons why a Muslim may not be fasting during the month of Ramadan. He could be sick, or travelling for whatever reason. The brother or sister could be under medication for some serious ailment. The lady could be expecting a baby or has to breast-feed her child.

Then there are some bad reasons. Some excuses for going behind the clothed privacy of the roadside tea-stall between sunrise and sunset are so lame that the apology arrives on a crutch ten minutes after the person proffering it.
-I could not get up for sehri. Tch! Tch!
-The alarm did not go off, or better still, the battery died out before the set alarm time.
-I had to reach my aunt to the bus station. So?
-My body is doing kemon-kemon. (Eaty-eaty, you mean!)
-I have to have my bed tea; otherwise nah I have a headache whole day long.

Then there are so many good reasons why we fast in the holy month.

Allah says: "Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast until nightfall." [al-Baqara, 2:187]. That one reason is good enough.

“This month provides an opportunity for Muslims to get closer to God. This is a month when a Muslim should try to: (a) See not what displeases Allah, (b) Speak no evil, (c) Hear no evil, (d) Do no evil and (e) Look to Allah with fear and hope.

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become God-fearing." (The Quran, 2:183)

“The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).

“The Messenger of Allah (saw) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban month, 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.” [Ibn Khuzaymah]

“In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah (saw) says, “Ramadan has come to you. It is a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” [Tabarani]

“While they are hungry and thirsty, Muslims are reminded of the suffering of the poor. Fasting is also an opportunity to practice self-control and to cleanse the body and mind. And in this most sacred month, fasting helps Muslims feel the peace that comes from spiritual devotion as well as kinship with fellow believers.”

Islam means submission to Allah. We have no other choice but to submit ourselves to Allah and obey His divine command.


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