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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

LESSONS AND MORALITIES of Fasting IN RAMADAN

Ramadan is a month of discipline, self-control, patience, and
good behavior. In Ramadan, Muslims are expected to gain the fruits of
Fasting, namely, piety and consciousness of Allah.

In this context, Allah, Most High, says in the Glorious Qur an: O
you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you
as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become
Al-Muttaqun (the pious). - Al-Baqarah 2: 183

For more illustration, we'd like to cite for you the following Fatwa
issued by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Fiqh Council ofNorth
America :

Allah, Most High, says: Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the
dominion; and He is able to do all things. Who has created death and life
that He may test which of you is best in deed. He is the All-Mighty, Oft
Forgiving. - Al-Mulk 67: 1-2

He also says: And He it is Who has put the night and the day in
succession, for such who desires to remember or desires to show his
gratitude. -Al-Furqan 25: 62

Life and death and the succession of nights and day have a
purpose and that is to test us and to give us an opportunity to express our
thanks and gratitude to our Creator and Sustainer. The month of Ramadan
comes and goes. We must examine ourselves now and see what we have
learned and achieved during this month. The test of success of this month
lies in the effects it has left upon us as follows:

Discipline: We learn in this month how to discipline ourselves
for the sake of Allah. In our morning and evening, we follow a strict
schedule of eating and drinking. We are constantly aware that even in our
such mundane activities as eating and drinking, we must remain under
divine injunctions. We change our habits in our daily routines because we
learn that we are not the servants and slaves to our habits, but always
the servants of Allah. Then after Ramadan, we have to keep this spirit
of discipline in other modes of our life and must continue with our
submission to the commands of Allah.

Renewal of Devotional Life: Ramadan renews our enthusiasm for
worship and devotion to Allah. In this month we are more careful of our
daily prayers and have special prayers at night. There is no religion
without prayer and Muslims learn in this month how to strengthen and
deepen their religious life.

Renewal of Contact with the Qur an: Ramadan and the Qur an are
linked together from the beginning. It was in this month that this
divine message was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). We are
told that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was fasting when he received
the first revelation. Fasting prepares the believers hearts to learn
the Word of Allah. It is the most suitable condition for our spiritual
and mental communication with the Qur an. The Muslim Ummah pays more
attention to the Qur an in this month. This renewed contact with the Qur an
must help us in following its message.

Renewal of Identity with the Ummah: Ramadan is not an individual
experience only, but it is an experience in community. The whole Muslim
Ummah fasts together in one and the same month. We identify with one
another in our obedience to Allah. This gives us a new sense of
togetherness and association. Ramadan teaches us that the Muslim Ummah is the
community of piety and devotion to Allah and its members derive their
strength from each other in deeds of piety and virtue. The bonds that are
based on piety and virtue are the strongest bonds and it is these bonds
that prove good for mankind. The strength of the Muslim community lies
in its commitment to the values of goodness, morality and piety.
Ramadan leaves an imprint of all these values upon the Muslim Ummah.

A Fresh Sense of Care and Sympathy: Fasting in the month of
Ramadan helps us to understand the suffering and the pains of the poor and
needy. By our voluntary hunger and thirst we realize what it means to be
deprived of basic necessities of life. Ramadan is called the month of
charity and sympathy. We learn how to be more kind and generous in this
month. Many Muslims also pay their Zakah in the month of Ramadan.

Struggle: Fasting in Ramadan and Jihad both of them were
prescribed in the same year, that is, the second year of Hijrah in Madinah.
Fasting prepares for hardships and sacrifice. These are two important
things without which Jihad is not possible. Muslims learn in Ramadan how to
struggle against the forces of evil in their own selves, in the society
around them, and in the world at large.

Taqwa: To summarize all the moral and spiritual gifts of Ramadan,
we can say that Ramadan gives us the great gift of taqwa (piety). Taqwa
is the sum total of Islamic life. It is the highest of all virtues in
the Islamic scheme of things. It means, God-consciousness, piety, fear
and awe of Allah and it signifies submission to Allah and total
commitment to all that is good and rejection of all that is evil and bad.

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