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Ramadan: The Month of Will-power and Determination

Imran Khan

When Allah tells us to observe the month of Ramadan, He wants us to gain the pre-requisite of taqwa, which is not some evasive spiritual quality.

It is a practical behavior that is supposed to be noticed and detected by everyone around.

“O you who have committed to Allah! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of Allah [and His power to implement justice].” (The Ascendant Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah, ayat 183).

In another ayah Allah says:

“… Be just: this is closest to being conscious of Allah’s [corrective power] ...” (The Ascendant Qur’an, Surah Al Maa’idah, verse 8).

These meanings do not belong on pages; they belong in peoples’ lives where-in we can point to many violations of justice.

These sequence of ayaat on fasting have the potential of developing a crystallised human being in our behavior, in our feelings and in our thoughts.

There are people fasting today in the physical sense of the word.

They withhold consumption of food, liquids and the partaking of sex during the daylight hours.

That’s the outward manifestation of the fast.

But there is a significant expression of fasting, and that is that our internal thoughts and feelings are moulded to conform to the standards of Allah.

The Prophet of Allah (pbuh) said whoever does not abstain from false statements and false actions during any time of fasting, then Allah has no need for this person to abstain from food and from drink (Sahih Al Bukhari).

If we don’t part with these expressions then Allah doesn’t mind if we are parting from food and water that is available.

This is the area that has to be worked on during Ramadan so that everything we do will not reflect any tendency towards whatever is false, untrue, artificial and not substantial.

During Ramadan, when we are abstaining from a couple of meals a day, we should notice that there are people in this world who don’t have any meals during the course of the year.

If they happen to be Muslims, Ramadan in the physical sense is no challenge at all.

What is the meaning of fasting as far as Muslims who are stashed?

The purpose of fasting is to attain taqwa, the common ground between fasting and doing justice.

It is not some type of physical torture and then some type of ingestinal indulgence at the end of the day.

Allah Exalted and Almighty says:

“And when my obliging subjects ask you about Me, behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls upon Me; let them, then, respond to Me, and commit themselves to Me, so that they might [maturely] follow the right way.” (The Ascendant Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah, verse 186).

How many moments in life do people contemplate the idea: “Where is God? If there is a God, He would have responded to me! If there was a God, He would have shown more compassion to us! If there was a God, He would have acted in a more forthcoming manner!”

Only a thinking mind that will pose the question, “If we are so obedient to Allah, then why isn’t Allah here!?”

Allah responds to this question, not when our stomach is full and when we are objects of crass materialism.

Allah responds to this question when we are ready to receive His response.

Allah knew that if we were observing Ramadan correctly, we would be ready for His answer.

But for those who persist in posing this type of question, when they look at the condition of the Muslims, the Prophet (pbuh) explained when Allah is responding, when He is nearby and when He is at a close proximity.

He said you will indeed make the ma‘ruf (that which is self-evidently good, moral and virtuous) the legal order in life, and you will indeed make the munkar (that which is self-evidently bad, immoral and evil) illegitimate and illegal in life, or you will call upon Allah and He will not respond to you (Sahih Tirmidhi).

Now, do you understand why at times we wonder where is Allah!?

In another ayah on Ramadan:

“... [for] it is thus (through this cultivation of taqwa), that Allah makes clear His messages to people, so that they might remain cautious [of Him].” (The Ascendant Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah, verse 187)

Notice, when Allah started speaking about Ramadan, He addressed alladhina aamanu, and now, He is saying that through alladhina aamanu, His ayaat i.e., traces of His Power presence, are made known to mankind.

The Prophet of Allah (pbuh) says fasting is a protection or a protective layer for these human beings (Sahih Al Bukhari).

Is that the case when these decision-makers are fasting and when they make decisions impacting the lives of Muslims?

It is a sad comment, that Ramadan comes and those that are making decisions for the Muslims will not have gained the privilege of fasting in this month.

If Ramadan comes and goes and there is no manifestation of Allah’s power presence in human affairs, then Ramadan was, once again, a physical and mechanical activity.

If Ramadan doesn’t bring about an awareness and consciousness of these facts, then it is a mechanical and a physical Ramadan.

What’s intended of Ramadan is not a mechanical and physical Ramadan, even though obviously abstinence from food and drink is part of the process, but that is not all of the process and that is not the objective of fasting.

Let’s not let this Ramadan come and go, and there’s no trace of taqwa around.

We ask Allah (SWT) to offer us that privilege by having us extend ourselves to those in the human condition around us.

If, we cannot in any physical sense do so, then at least in our thoughts and in our minds.

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