Holy Ramadan is the ninth month of Islamic lunar calendar. Each month of the lunar calendar is either of 29 or 30 days. Beginning of new month is based on sightation of new moon (like a crescent). Once the moon of Ramadan is sighted, then it is obligatory for all the Muslims who have attained the age of puberty to fast for the whole month except in few exceptional cases.
Arabic word for fasting is Sawm meaning a fast which begins with dawn and ends with sunset. Muslims wake up before dawn and have Suhur (Pre dawn meal). The next meal they have is only after the sunset which is called Iftaar (Post dusk meal). One must not forget that fasting in the month of Ramadan is among the five obligations which distinguish one as a Muslim.
The verse of the holy Quran clearly indicates that fasting is not a new obligation. Fasting was prescribed in the doctrines of other prophets who preached prior to Muhammed PBUH. ALLAH SWT says “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa” [Al-Baqarah, 2:183].
Muslims fast because ALLAH SWT has commanded them to do so. Many people have researched, discussed, debated and documented many virtues of fasting such as developing control over hunger, thirst, abstaining from any kind of sexual desires etc. Yes, all these are absolutely right but the primary goal should be achievement of Taqwa.
The companion of the Prophet PBUH Abu Umaamah (May ALLAH be pleased with him) asked: ‘O Messenger of ALLAH, tell me of an action by which I may enter Paradise’. He said: ‘Take to Fasting, there is nothing like it.’ [An-Nasaa’ee, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Haakim, Saheeh]
Dear brothers and sisters the reality of our time is that our life span in this world is probably averaging between 60 or 70 years as Prophet Muhammed PBUH said that his ummah’s age would be anything between 60 and 70. Most of us have lived almost half the number. We have spent many Ramadans gaining nothing from it, though ALLAH SWT granted us this occasion year after year but we simply were not able to capitalize. We seldom utilized it to save our souls from the horrifying fire of Hell. On the other hand we are very uncertain that will we get this opportunity again? So let us all strive to make the most of this Ramadan by practicing all the deeds that bring the slave of ALLAH SWT closer to Him. Let us spend the forthcoming Ramadan as the last Ramadan of our lives.
Let me share a very thought provoking personal incident which shocked me. I was in my teens and the occasion was the first day of the holy month. I was about to enter the Masjid early to offer my first fajr of that Ramadan. As it was the first day my spirits were high which normally happens with most of us. Pity is that we become really enthusiastic during the beginning and as the month progresses the situation gets reversed. May Allah SWT forgive and help us all to be consistent. Aameen. Coming back to the incidence, an old man also entered Masjid along with me. Both of us performed ablution together. Soon the old man started crying out loud. I was thinking as to why the man is crying. He was asking forgiveness from his Lord and wept saying: You gave me a chance again so Oh! Lord accept the little deeds that I have done and forgive me for the sins that I have committed. Sadly, following year he passed away. Oh ALLAH! Forgive him and have mercy on him. Muslims! We must emulate this in our lives as well.
Oh believers! Let’s not waste this Ramadan in shopping, preparing for iftaar parties and various other activities killing precious moments of Ramadan that are gifted by our Lord. Kindly try as much as possible to utilize the opportunity to ask forgiveness, praise Almighty, thank HIM for everything, attain Taqwa, seek ALLAH’s pleasure, devote most of your time in prayers, Zikr, recitation of Quran and last but not least refrain from the acts that will displease our merciful lord – ALLAH SWT.
Humble request for prayers so that we can reap maximum benefit out of coming month of blessing – Ramadan. Aameen