It’s the holy month of Ramadan now. May Allah’s blessing be on all of you and your family. Ameen. Sum ameen. Blessed are we that we got a chance to fast this year as well. Today I felt like writing something about this blessing of Allah.
Ramadan (Also Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan, Ramdan, Ramadaan) is the ninth month of the Islamic Calender. It comes after Shaban and before Shawal. It is a beautiful month of blessings and forgiveness. It is a month of patience, peace, sharing, good will, understanding, spirituality and unity. It is the Islamic month to keep fast in which Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and all ill doings from dawn till sunset. Fasting is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility and spirituality. It makes us appreciate the blessings showered upon us by Allah and we realize the pain of the deprived ones. An environment of sharing and spirituality is developed. Muslims believe in submission and supplication in-front of Allah throughout their life in this world and hereafter. In the month of Ramadan we offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. Muslims read, understand and try to follow Quran, they pray and ask for Allah’s blessings.
The Islamic Calender is lunar calender. On the eve of the 29th of Shaban, moon sighting is practiced in Muslim countries. Ramadan begins on that night if moon is sighted else it begins the day after. Peace, happiness and sharing of love and wishes is seen as soon as Ramadan begins. Muslims fast for 29 or 30 days and spend most of their time in praying. During Ramadan the daily activities like eating sehr (the meal Muslims eat before dawn) and aftar (the meal eaten after sunset), sleeping, cooking, working in offices, travelling and all other activities are a source of reward. In Ramadan the reward of each good doing is increased many times and doors of blessing and forgiveness are opened for the believers.
Ramadan is divided in three parts called “Ashras”. The first 10 days make the 1st ashra which is the ashra of blessings. The first Ashra signifies the bestowments of Allah Almighty’s Mercy and Prizes he has in store for the believers and the Pious. The next 10 days are ashra of forgiveness. The Second Ashra signifies the plead of “Astaghfaar”, translated as “Atonement” from Allah Almighty, for all the wrongdoings committed knowingly or unknowingly. The Third Ashra (Third 10 day period of Ramadan) signifies to implore the blessing of Allah Almighty for the safety from the eternally burning fires of “Jahannum”. In the last ashra there is a night known as “Laila tul Qadar” better than 1000 nights in terms of reward and blessings.
Muslims pay Zakat (an Islamic Tax) in the month of Ramadan. Zakat is deducted from the money, property and other savings of the rich and given to the poor. Zakat creates cicrculation of money in the society. This develops love and care and tenders the heart. Zakat purifies the money. Allah gives more to those who give to Allah’s creation. Allah loves those who love mankind. Islam is a religion of peace and love. It is religion of harmony and brotherhood.
At aftar time Muslims enjoy the feast of a variety of tasty food and thank Allah for blessing them with food to eat. On the eve of 29th of Ramadan moon sighting is done again. If moon is sighted then Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr (Feast for fast breaking) the next day else Eid ul Fitr is celebrated the day after. Eid ul Fitr is a gift from Allah to the believers. They dress in beautiful and colorful clothes, meet relatives and friends, eat good food and celebrate. It’s the most awaited festival by Muslims. The air during Ramadan and on Eid day is festive and joyous.
Many people think that Muslims are stopped to eat and drink and so Ramadan is a painful activity. It is not so. Ramadan is a gift from our Lord to us. It is a month of blessings and forgiveness. It is a month to purify the hearts, soul and body, to develop love in the society and to circulate money in the society. Muslims enjoy Ramadan more than anything else and blessed are those who get a chance to fast.
Our religion Islam teaches us to refrain from ill doings, spread peace, remain patient and humble and to love mankind. Pakistan is in a state of turmoil. It is facing the biggest flood of history, much bigger than Tsunami and has limited recources. It’s our duty to help our Muslim brothers and sisters and to share their pain. Everything we do matters, no matter how little it may seem to us, it is not little. May all of us have a wonderful Ramadan and may we get the most out of this month. Ameen sum ameen.