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The Mass Media

Ramadan: A Time of Spiritual Nourishment for the Muslims

Time to Educate America!
Time to Educate America!

For Muslims, followers of the monotheistic religion Islam, Ramadan is one of the greatest holy months of the year. Among the beauties of the month is the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Fasting during Ramadan is proscribed to Muslim believers as one of the pillars of Islam.

“O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up for) from days later…” (Al-Baqarah 2:183-184)

Fasting, from sunrise to sunset for thirty days, does not just include refraining from eating, drinking, or earthly desires. One must also not say bad words, think bad thoughts, backbite, gossip; if they encounter aggression they must tell the other person ‘I am fasting’ and leave it at that. Ramadan teaches a Muslim how to have self-control and inner strength. One gives extra charity so that those who are less fortunate can share in the joyous feelings of Ramadan. Even more so, Ramadan is a time when Muslims attain spiritual nourishment from the extra worshipping they do – thikr (remembrance of Allah), dua (supplications to Allah), reading the Qur’an, and extra prayers are all examples of how a Muslim increases their spirituality.

Ramadan is not an individual experience only, but it is an experience in community. The whole Muslim Ummah (global community) 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 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. Also along the same lines, fasting in the month of Ramadon 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. Furthermore, we can say that Ramadan gives us the great gift of taqwa (piety). Taqwa is the sum total of Islamic life: 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.

Among the countless rewards Muslims aspire for is forgiveness from Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whosoever fasts in Ramadon with faith and seeking Allah’s reward, all his/her past sins are forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 37)