People living in an Islamic country, regardless of religion, are not usually aware of the roots of their festivals, for instance the holy month of Ramadan. Why is there fasting? Is there more to Ramadan than just the fast?
The 4th pillar of Islam: Sawm, which is fasting, is practiced during the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar; the holy month of Ramadan.
Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast. It is considered one of the best means by which a person attains piety and forgiveness of sins. The month of Ramadan was when it was believed that the Holy Quran was ‘sent down from heaven; a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction and a means of salvation’
During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking:
Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic values and guidance. It is a month of forgiveness and peace; we are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, and do away with bad habits- essentially clean up our lives, thoughts and feelings.
During Ramadan every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from swearing, backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that doesn’t belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast.
Charity is very important in Islam, and even more so during Ramadan. Zakat, is obligatory as one of the five pillars of Islam; a fixed percentage of a person’s annual income is required to be given to the poor.In Islam all good deeds are more handsomely rewarded in Ramadan than in any other month of the year. Consequently, many will choose this time to give a larger portion, if not all, of the zakāt which they are obligated to give.
On the evening of the 27th day of the holy month, Muslims celebrate the Laylat-Al-Qadr (The Night of Power). It is believed that on this night, prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H) received the revelation of the Holy Quran. According to the Quran, this is when God determines the course of the world for the following year.
Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but a total commitment of the individual’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast. This is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities ad refocus oneself on the worship of god.
B-Change wishes you and your families a month of blessings, a month full of forgiveness and guidance. Ramadan Kareem.