FRIDAY, JUNE 29: There are five main tenants in Islam: faith, prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage. We are about to embark upon the third tenant in about two weeks as the month of Ramadan approaches.
I am especially anxious about the fast this year as it will be during the height of the summer months. A time when it is extremely hot and humid, when thirstiness abounds; I can deal with the hunger, but the thirst will present a special challenge; however, because of Allah’s mercy, I know that I will be okay, because Allah gives you what you strive for and I am striving to complete the fast and incur His pleasure.
The Noble Quran states that Allah prescribed fasting as a frequent ritual but specifically in the month of Ramadan. Ramadan holds extraordinary conditions and benefits and it is important to know the significance of this special time.
A special feature of the Quran is that whenever it gives a command for action, it also provides the wisdom behind it. It tells what the final result of that action will be in this world, if it is successfully carried out.
In this way the Quran provides a realistic test for people to see whether or not they are moving toward their desired result. Regarding fasting, the Quran says: 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] Translation: Yusuf Ali
Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).
So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later.
God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. [al-Baqarah 2:185] Translation: Yusuf Ali
In the above verses, three results of fasting in Ramadan have been mentioned: (1) Taqwaa: learning self-restraint; (2) Takbir: glorifying Allah Almighty because of being guided; (3) Shukra: being grateful.
The above combined is a recipe for success as humans in this world and the next. Let us reflect on the benefits of self-restraint, praising God and being grateful. Surely, the signs are there for those who reflect.
The following is an excerpt from Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) last sermon in the Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat: Indeed ahead of you is the blessed month of God. A month of blessing, mercy and forgiveness. A month which God has deemed the best of months. Its days are the best of days, its nights the best of nights, and its hours the best of hours. It is the month which invites you to be guests of God and invites you to be one of those near Him. Each breath you take glorifies Him; your sleep is worship, your deeds are accepted and your supplications answered.
Allah is ever merciful and each year we have a time to reflect, renew and become better Servants of God and humanity.