What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control.
“The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”.Qur’an (2:185)
After the end of Ramadan comes one of the two Muslim festivals, the Feast. On this day, Muslims thank Allah for His guidance and grace in helping them control their desires and fulfill their spiritual needs throughout the whole month.
Fasting Ramadan is the third “pillar” of the Five main Pillars of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. The most important of them all is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of physical needs during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one’s spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to Allah.
Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading the Qur’an, giving charity, purifying one’s behavior, and doing good deeds. For Muslims, Ramadan is not a holiday; it is rather an opportunity to gain by giving up, to prosper by going without and to grow stronger by enduring weakness.
Also fasting is a way to experience hunger and develop sympathy for the needy people, and learn thankfulness and appreciation for all of Allah’s bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.
Allah prescribes in the Qur’an that all able-bodied Muslims must fast. This will develop in them a consciousness that will guide them to the right behavior and prevent them from wrongdoings.
To obtain this result, a Muslim must stick to both physical and spiritual aspects of fasting. The physical aspects include abstaining from food, drink and sexual intercourse.
The spiritual aspects of fasting are as important as the physical ones. The fasting person must abstain from lying, cheating, argumentation, fighting, foul language and every sort of evil.
In this month, one must establish a close relationship with Allah, a keen sense to observe His commandments throughout the year. Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said that if someone does not give up falsehood in speech and actions, God has no need for such a one to give up his food and drink. (Meaning that fasting doesn’t mean just depriving yourself of food and drink and sexual relation with your wife, but it also means cleaning your soul from any source of evil.
Moreover, the Qur’an was first revealed in Ramadan. The last ten days of Ramadan are a time of special spiritual power as every Muslim tries to come closer to Allah through praying, reading Qur’an, devotions and good deeds. The night on which the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet, known as the Night of Power (Lailat Al-Qadr), is taken to be one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan. The Qur’an states that this night is better than a thousand months.
Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said that on each night of Ramadan Allah frees many souls from from Hell.
Published on: May 30, 2004. From Link: islamonline.com