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Some Meanings of Fasting Ramadan

By Mohammed Khaku, August 26, 2009

Ramadan is one of the most important and holiest months of Islamic calendar, when the faithful mark the revelation of the Quran, the martyrdom of Imam Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet, the death anniversary of the wife (Khadija) of the Prophet, birth anniversary of the grandson Imam Hassan and the victory at the battle of Badr.
Fasting is truly universal ritual and its benefits extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims Fasting is also the oldest recorded ritual of spiritual purification known to mankind and prevalent in many of the world’s religions.  Mary the mother of Prophet Jesus was commanded to fast while Jews and Christians share a similar belief. For instance, the Jews fast on the day of Yom Kippur. Ramadan is really a source of peace and solace, just as Christmas goes beyond the rituals to bring forth kindness, charity and caring
According to the Qur’an, the main purpose of fasting is so that one may attain "piety" (Taqwa) or God-consciousness. To mark the month, Muslims will perform extra spiritual rituals such as Salaat (daily prayers) with greater intensity and frequency. It is a month of intense reflection and spiritual development, with a genuine virtue of devotion and honest dedication.  In reality fasting brings silent revolution of seeking self-purification, of self-control, tolerance, compassion, affinity with others and, in particular, with the poor. In addition, fasting teaches Muslims to empathize with those who are less fortunate, and to develop feelings of compassion towards the hungry, needy and those are facing famine. Mere hunger and thirst do not constitute fasting nor fasting is observed as an exercise in starvation or weight control. Rather, Muslims are required to fast with their entire body, by putting a rein on their tongues, eyes, ears, hands and feet.
The blessed month of Ramadan will come and go. While celebrating our achievements and spiritual victories during this month we must stop to review some of the most important lessons we have or should have learned from fasting. Beside the lessons of spiritual, compassionate and caring, one of the important lessons of Ramadan is the collective responsibility for building an ethical and moral society. This can only be done if we stand together and become united on ideals and values we cherish. Today Islam is most misunderstood religion. We cannot blame others for our predicament. We and we alone must take responsibility for changing our condition. Allah says: “Certainly Allah never changes the condition of a people unless they themselves change what is in themselves.” (Al-Ra`d: 11)
There is no denying of the fact that there are many in the media, think tanks, Hollywood and government who are busy creating the image of Muslims as "The Other" in order to promote their own agendas. We as Muslims have a responsibility to tell the world what we stand for and what we are against.
Ø    We are for peace, justice, pluralism and tolerance.
Ø    We are against terrorism, injustice, and imperialism.
Ø    We must stand and speak up against the discourse of hate, intolerance, selfishness and bigotry.
Ø    We must speak out against the "hijacking of Islam" by the extremists.
In order to get this message across we must come out of our cocoons and realize the crucial nature of the challenges facing us as a people. We must know that the phase of building mosques is over. It is high time that we focus on developing a new generation of Muslims who can shoulder the responsibilities of carrying the message of mercy reflected in Islam as intelligently and responsibly as possible.
 We must make our presence felt in all segments of the mainstream society. We must become more active in community service and politics, and struggle to make our Muslim community an inspiration and model of how to be responsible citizens of the whole world.
Finally, let us make our voices heard in speaking out against oppression, poverty and hunger. Let us make our voices heard in speaking out against homelessness. Let us make our voices heard in speaking out against injustice. Let us join hands with all peace loving people of the world to build a better world. Most importantly, let us act on these Islamic ideals.




Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent