[O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.) (Al-Baqarah 2:183)
[O ye who believe! fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.] (Aal `Imran 3:102)
“Every deed of the child of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward it. The (bad) breath of the mouth of a fasting person is more pleasing to Allah than the perfume of musk.” (Al-Bukhari)
Welcome to a celebration of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Observed by more than one billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a time for spiritual purification achieved through fasting, self-sacrifice and prayers.
Celebrated during the ninth month of Islamic calendar, the fast is observed each day from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five Pillars of Islam. The Islamic belief that requires that Muslims perform five central duties in order to strengthen their faith. While Islam has two major sects, the Sunnis and the Shiites, all Muslims aim to realize these five pillars in their lifetime.
Ramadan concludes with a 3-day festival known as "Eid" or "Eid ul-Fitr," which literally means "the feast of the breaking/to break the fast." The holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and is a culmination of the month-long struggle towards a higher spiritual state.
The purpose of fasting is not to make us hungry and thirsty, or to deprive us some of our comfort and conveniences. The real purpose of fasting is that we learn taqwa. Taqwa is highly emphasized in the Qur’an and Sunnah. There are more than 158 verses in the Qur’an on taqwa, and there are hundreds of hadiths on this subject.
Taqwa is Islam itself. It is the sum total of all Islamic values and virtues. If one has taqwa one has achieved everything. Taqwa is the consciousness of Allah. It is to do one’s best efforts to live by His commands and to avoid His prohibitions. The Qur’an has used the word taqwa to mean consciousness of Allah, fear of Allah, worship of Allah, sincerity in faith, and avoidance of disobedience to Allah.
There are some important things that we should do during Ramadan to take better advantage of this month and to achieve its real purpose, namely, taqwa. These are some reminders and they are all taken from the guidelines given to us in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Niyyah (intention): Remind yourself again and again that you are fasting in obedience to Allah. Be sincere in your intention. You want Allah to accept your fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Whosoever fasts in Ramadan with faith and seeking Allah’s reward, all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari)
Sunnah: Observe the Sunnah in fasting. Take the sahur meal a little before dawn and end your fast at sunset. Observe all the rules of fasting.
Wara’ (avoiding everything haram or makruh): Be conscious to have halal food, halal income, halal relations. Avoid watching bad TV programs, videos, movies, etc., always, but especially during this month. Keep your body and mind very clean. Avoid wasting your time in useless things and pursuits.
Qur’an: Spend more time with the Qur’an. Read Qur’an every day. Try to finish the whole Qur’an at least one time during this month in your own personal reading. Read some Hadith and the books of seerah.
Prayer, supplication, and remembrance of Allah: Pray on time and observe all Prayers. Do not ignore the Tarawih Prayers. Make more supererogatory prayers. Do as much worship as you can. Do more dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and du`aa’ (supplication) for yourself and for others. Make tawbah (repentance) and istighfar (request for Allah’s forgiveness) as much as you can. This is the best time for devotion and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Seek the Night of Qadar by special devotion during the last 10 nights of this month.
Zakah, charity, and generosity: Be very charitable and generous. Give more and more to help the poor and needy, and to help good social and community projects. Be good to your friends and neighbors also. Let your non-Muslim neighbors and co-workers know that this is your blessed and sacred time.
Good behavior and relations with others: Try to be extra kind and courteous during this month. Forget your quarrels and disputes. Reconcile and forgive. Do not get involved in backbiting, lying, cheating, and anything that is wrong. Be very good to Muslims and to all human beings.
Reflection: Think, reflect, and plan to improve the moral and spiritual condition of your own self and your family. Think about any wrong things and sins you may have been doing and correct yourself. Think about any deficiencies you have in your Islamic observances and plan to change yourself. Think what you can do for the Ummah and for humanity to make this world a better place for everyone.
May this Ramadhan will make us a better person beside Allah S.W.T.