By Babatunde Jose

Ramadhan is the [month] in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear [Signs] for guidance and judgment [Between right and wrong]. So every one of you who is present [at his home] during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period [Should be made up] by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. [He wants you] to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.  (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Muslims welcome the holy month of Ramadan with simple and minimal decoration as the holy month does not stand as a celebration but as a time for religious and divine reflection. It is a time for spiritual stocktaking and moral revival. It is a time of rejuvenation of religious and moral piety and reaffirmation of faith. Even the diehard and titular Moslems undergo a behavioral and attitudinal change during this month. The mosques are filled to capacity and the whole community assumes an atmosphere of religiosity: A time when even the confirmed sinners seek the benevolence of Allah; a time when evil and vile men seek atonement for their iniquities. Such is the month of Ramadan. Perchance, our leaders will take advantage of the promise of forgiveness from Allah to turn a new leaf and do the needful in making our life better and seek the path of righteousness. We have suffered enough as a people and this suffering does not need to continue. With the resources with which we have been endowed, there is enough for everyone to bask in the prosperity of our God-given provisions. But when a few conspire to deny the majority their rightful share of the commonwealth, they sentence the people into penury, want, misery and poverty. Ramadan is therefore, an opportunity for sober reflection and a chance for meaningful and positive change.

Those who have perfected the ignoble art of cheating their fellowmen and converting the common patrimony into personal wealth have an opportunity to rethink and change. If only we know that the end is nearer than we think.

Abu Huraira narrated that Allah’s Messenger, said: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Bukhari] Fasting in Ramadan is therefore a shield from Hell; fasting subdues sinful desires and reduces their severity: It is these desires and lusts that lead to Hell Fire.

The Quran talks about the reward of fasting and there are verses which general meaning infers that those who obey Allah will be saved from Hell, and fasting is a form of obeying Allah. The Ahadith of our beloved Prophet Mohammad, are clear in this regard; Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the Hell Fire seventy years further away from his face.” [Bukhari and Muslim]  Abu Said al-Khudri also relates that the Messenger of Allah said: “Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire” [Ahmad, Sahih]

`Uthman Ibn Abil-`Aas relates that the Messenger of Allah said : “Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah, Allah places between him and the Fire a trench like that between heavens and the earth”. [at-Tirmithi and at-Tabarani, sahih]

Ramadan (/ˌræməˈdɑːn/; Arabic: رمضان‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [ramaˈdˤaːn]; also romanized as Ramzan, Ramadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (Sawm) to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran. The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. … This is considered as the holiest season in the Islamic year and commemorates the time when the Quran is said to have been revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan is considered to be one of the Five Pillars of Islam. During the month of Ramadan, adult Muslims fast from dusk until dawn, unless they are ill, pregnant, or diabetic, breastfeeding, or traveling.

There is also a verse in the Quran (Quran 2:185) that prescribes fasting for all Muslims who are mature and healthy enough to fast for the full day. So Muslims fast as an act of worship, a chance to get closer to God and a way to become more compassionate to those in need. May Allah accept our Fast as acts of Ibadah; Amin.

Barka Juma’at and a Happy weekend

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