Significance of post Ramzan festivities


Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal :
Every aspect of Islam has a message for humanity. Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan has a very strong spiritual message.
It is not a mere ritual, it is a serious obligation. Fasting is not a mere act of deliberate starving by abstaining from the delights of food and drink from dawn to dusk each day for a month. It is meant for more sacred goal in life. When fasting and worship is done purely for the pleasure and love of Allah changes can take place in the mind, heart and body of humans.
Fasting cleanses our body and mind from impurities. If the believers are not striving to refine their character by fast, the fast will be a body without soul. Likewise, it must purify our hearts and minds from all impure thoughts improper desires and undisciplined sensations.
A person of faith has kindled the fire of faith within him/her, and fasting is something that enhances his/her faith. Holy Prophet Muhammad (SA) said: “Fasting is prescribed for man/women to purify his/her soul.” In Ramadan month of fasting, you become the guest of Allah. Do praise Him with devotion.
How important the purity of thoughts, words and deeds while fasting could be gauged by an example from an incident from the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SA). He saw a woman, who was fasting on a day (not in Ramadan), abusing her girl-servant. He admonished her and asked her to break her fast formally. The woman protested arguing that it is not Ramadan month : “But I am fasting today”. Muhammad (SA) said: “But was not your fast broken by the abuses you were hurling upon that poor girl?”
Let above said instance make our fasting pure and genuine and most of fasting days get at least a pass mark. Love, kindness and consideration we show to others should not be artificial but sincere enough.
While fasting activates the blood circulation it mainly purifies heart and soul. Besides, the modern medicine has proved that fasting is a remedy for diseases that affect the man of this century because of overeating and the variety of canned food. In this case, fasting is as being a treatment and even a preventive at the same time.
The physiological effect of fasting includes lowering of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting would be an ideal recommendation for the treatment of mild to moderate, stable, non-insulin diabetes, obesity, and essential hypertension. Islamic fasting is different from diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake.
During the Holy month of Ramadan Muslims dedicate as much time as possible not only to recollect the bad and good things they have done thus far but also to reciting the Quran, understanding and memorising its verses. Socially, the connection between worship and social conduct is emphasised as the month of Ramadan offers an opportunity to catch up with friends and relatives for the breaking of the fast and additional collective prayers.
Fasting has important spiritual objectives. Ramadan is a month for Muslims to change their lives for the better, leaving behind un-Islamic and immoral practices, to lead an exemplary life, both in form and content. During Ramadan, Muslims are trained to keep away from sins. The Prophet has advised them on that. The fasting in the holy month develops a strong feeling among the faithful that Allah is watching all their activities. Honesty is important for the believers and especially while fasting. Control the tongue and speech. Islam teaches us not to tell lies or useless tales; not to spread rumours or, damaging gossips about other persons; to keep aloof from falsity. Use the power of speech in spreading the Words of Allah in creating goodwill in the society. Do not inflict injury upon others by your actions, or words; instead strive to help them as far as you can. These are important milestones Muslims are expected to achieve during the fasting days.
By indulging in such mischievous anti-Islamic things mentioned above while fasting, the Muslims in fact insult Islam, injure the fasting itself. Such fasting can be dangerous and self-destructive too. That even after fasting for years in the month of Ramadan Muslims have not purified self and become greedier – is not a healthy sign.
Check if what we eat is halal. Talk only genuine things, lawful according to our heart and mind. While expecting favours from Allah, the believers should also learn to mould behaviour in words and deeds and to be kind to others. During this month for fasting reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice are observed by Muslims around the world. Ramadan is a month-long training programme for Muslims to change their lives. During this month, they engage in prayers seeking the forgiveness of Allah.
Recite and reflect on the Qur’an during night and day, perform the Taraweeh and Tahazzud night prayers, and attend special Islamic classes and meetings.
Ramadan month helps the believers to imbibe the valuable human traits like respect of time, of word and promise, and so one becomes trustworthy, well estimated, able to carry out one’s responsibilities, and to fulfill one’s social duties makes Muslims trustworthy.
It encourages the faithful to engage in charitable and good activities beneficial to humanity. Patience is an important quality one develops during Ramadan through fasting. When one fasts from dawn to dusk, giving up food and drink and marital sexual relations for several hours, one learns restraint and patience.
Muslims compete with one another in charitable activities during Ramadan to win Allah’s pleasure and reward. The Prophet was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan. Charity and mutual help occupy a remarkable place, and brotherhood and equality triumph, which that is, the most human acts and the holiest purpose of the fasting. The daytime fasting and nighttime prayers spiritually energise the faithful to lead a new life, benefiting the whole humanity and opening a new chapter of peace and progress.
Muslims all over the world fast during the holy month, thus strengthening their unity and solidarity and they need this unity more than any time before to face growing challenges.
Islam urges the Muslims to stand together and should not disintegrate. Unfortunately, today Muslims kill one another. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.”
Ramadan retains its intense spiritual meaning significance. Fasting in Ramadan teaches Muslims to learn discipline, which is essential for them to make progress. The Prophet commanded us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allah has laid down.
Among the nights of Ramadan, there is one special night of Power (Qadr), which is highlighted in Surah Al-Qadr, saying it has the significance of being better than a thousand months. (Qur’an 97:3). This was the night when Qur’an was revealed to mankind. Muhammad (SA) urged Muslims to seek this night in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan. The Holy Qur’an says: “The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Holy Qur’an, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. Allah has guided and He expects the believers to be grateful to the Almighty”.
In fasting the true believers could feel passing through the Heavenly space of spirituality in Islam by purifying their soul and mind. This is in fact an expression of commitment to Islam and set out for Heaven.
Fasting like prayers, guard the believers against evil. In the month of Ramadan, one should therefore get to know the Holy Quran better and the victory over the false deity of the soul.
In fact, fasting is a stage where the human being closer to Allah. The fasting period is a time when one really submits to spiritual and social changes. Fasting is a confidential act which occurs between the human being and his Creator. This act must be impregnated with full sincerity and the deepest loyalty. Now in case fasting loses its honesty, it becomes hypocrisy.
The believers should stay firm in their faith. Even as efforts are undertaken constantly to challenge Allah and faith, believers should be steadfast in their faith. The true believers should not disobey Allah. They should remember “Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.”
Upon completing the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are in fact reborn as new humans with a message for fellow Muslims and others to change quality of life and ensure safety here as well as Hereafter.
The holy month of Ramadan has come to the believers again and it comes to the Islamic world every year to remind the Muslims on the need to return to Allah by following His teachings in all walks of their lives in order to achieve peace in this world and the Hereafter.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has cautioned Muslims that the fasting should have a real impact on their lives. He has advised the faithful that it should change one’s behaviour, attitude and outlook toward life. While fasting, Muslims must ponder whether it had any effect in making them more Allah fearing and pious.
Self purification is the goal and objective of fasting and it is not just for starving alone. The heart and mind must be with Muslims in fasting. Because fast in its real sense, will not be complete unless one’s thoughts, emotions, actions – in short, all aspects of one’s life – become pure, clean and free from blemish.
The faithfuls thank Allah for revealing the Holy Qur’an during this month as a blessing and guidance for the mankind. The Islamic nations need men and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Qur’an and Sunnah
Ramadan is regarded as the best of months. Its virtues are simply not found in any other month. It helps Muslims with opportunities to earn the reward of their Lord easily. It is the month of solidarity, the month of great historic victories in Islam.
In other words, fasting should effect in Muslims fundamental changes in viewing life. Muslims everywhere try to emulate the Prophet in generosity throughout the month. Human character becomes more pronounced during Ramadan as it is the month of renewal. It is a period when Muslims acquire determination for truthful existence. No act of worship is truly beneficial if it does not transform one’s character and conduct for the betterment of society as a whole.
Muslims celebrate Eid ul Fitr on the first day of Shawwal -the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, following the month of Ramadan (in which the revelation started and ended 20+ years later, and which is also the month of fasting). Following a Lunar calendar, Muslims mark the beginning of the month with the sighting of the new crescent. Muslims attend a special community prayer in the morning and visit friends and relatives to exchange greetings of ‘Eid Mubarak’ or ‘a blessed Eid’ joyfully.
Eid ul-Fitr is not a usual festival. It marks the end of the month of Ramadan. Eid ul-Fitr stands for fulfillment of one month long committed good work and sacrifice as the central part of Ramadan fasting. ‘Fitr’ means to break and it signifies the breaking of the fasting period and of all evil habits. It is a show of joy at attaining spiritual prosperity after a month of fasting. The holy month of Ramadan which culminates into the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr unites Muslims in fasting, feasting, worship and prayer. It is a time for contemplation, spirituality, peace and brotherhood.
When a Muslim comes to mosque or payer-ground for offering his prayer upon the close of Holy fasting month, it is presumed that he or she has rectified their lives they have lived erroneously and to live afresh from that day onward like new genuine Muslims.
Muslims come into the mosque completing the holy month of fasting and repentance and by gaining the virtue of patience, kindness, righteousness and self-confidence that could be seen as human victory in real life.
On Eid day, Muslims make new resolutions for a better refined life henceforth, serving the cause of Islam and Muslims. Meaningful completion of Ramadan month is indeed an achievement and a reason to be happy. It is not the form that matters for Islam and Muslims but the content which makes a Muslim live a really worthy Muslim. It is not mere formalities Muslims follow that make a human live as a Muslim but the essence of Islamic virtues.
Post-Ramadan is a big responsibility for Muslims. Muslims should be wise to make maximum benefit of their Ramadan fasting after the Eid ul-Fitr prayers. Having the guest of Allah, Muslims should try their best to remember that special status and retain it for the whole year. If, by chance or otherwise, Muslims return to old habits, they should remember that they are indeed deviating from the noble teachings of the very fasting they undertook tediously.
(Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal, Educationist and writer)