THE TEACHINGS OF THE MONTH OF RAMADAN
Dear Muslim men and women, as the Ramadan is a month of bounty and mercy whereby the Almighty God is on the verge to count us amongst His favoured servants who will benefit from it, the fact of knowing the obligations and the teachings of this holy month (fourth pillar of Islam) appears to be fundamental for each and every Muslim. For, if the fact of witnessing another month of Ramadan in one’s life is regarded as a Bounty and Mercy from God, then not taking advantage from its teachings is purely seen as a curse.
The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to say: “Cursed is the one who had the grace to witness the month of Ramadan and did not get his sins forgiven……” This saying means that the believer who has the chance to witness Ramadan is between the Bounty and the Wrath of God: Bounty if he/she happens to attain the objective of the month through the lessons taught by fasting; and a curse if he/she fails to do so.
Allah (SWT) says: “O you who believe! Observing fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttakun, (Pious) or may fear Allah”. S2. V183. If having fear of Allah is the ultimate purpose of fasting, then one can be tempted to ask the following question: How can Piety be attained through fasting? The answer to this question implies understanding the apparent and the real meanings of fasting.Fasting of Ramadan consists of abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual intercourse (with one’s wife), and all forbidden acts, from dawn till dusk. This implies that in order for the fasting to be complete and accepted, the believer must formulate the intention of fasting for obedience to Allah prior to observing the abstinence. In this regards, it was reported that the prophet (PBUH) one day heard a woman insulting her servant while she was fasting. He brought her food and said: “Eat!” “But Iam fasting!”She replied. “How could you pretend to be fasting whereas you just insulted your servant”? The prophet (pbuh) made her remark.
This hadith teaches us the apparent significance of fasting (that is abstention from eating, drinking and from all forbidden acts). As for the real significance it represents the main purpose which the believer seeks to attain. It is fundamentally about teaching the believer the virtue of patience and steadiness in terms of willing.
That said, the month of Ramadan as prescribed in the Qur’an is the means to reach Piety or Taqwa and patience. According to a hadith qudsiy, revealed to the prophet (pbuh) Allah says: “All the good deeds of the descendants of Adam are rewarded from ten to seven hundred times as merits, except patience, which I decided to reward by Myself. But this patience is synonymous of fasting”.
The Muslim who fasts Ramadan with sincerity will learns to be patient through a deliberate refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, having sexual intercourse, etc. for the sake of Allah. This teaching will help him avoid committing sins such as adultery, fornication, telling lies, stealing and games forbidden by Allah. This abstinence appears for the Muslim to be the price for achieving his goal: gaining Piety through fasting the month of Ramadan.
May Allah count us amongst those Muslims He favoured with month of Ramadan. May He grant us Patience and accept our fasting! Amin y’Allah!