As we approach Ramadan, we can’t help much but think of it. We often think about the timing, day-to-day activities and how to adapt to the changes. But have we ever mull-over its true essence? Let’s take a dive into the meaning it embodies.
Fasting and Taqwa
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the major pillars of Islam as this holy month is an emblem for the wayfarers towards Allah. The outward form of fasting is to abstain from food and water. This abstinence symbolizes the fact that man is at God’s disposal. He should, therefore, be willing, at all times, to sacrifice anything for His sake; even if it involves relinquishing such basic necessities as food and water.
The essence of fasting is learning Taqwa, which is more than self-restraint as the real fasting through which the servant attains God-Consciousness is not by only avoiding food and drink rather by refraining from any ill thought, action, glance and listening which takes one away from Allah.
How can Taqwa be achieved?
As Imam Ali (as) is reported to have said: “There is many a fasting man who yields nothing from his fast other than thirst”. Certainly, one can achieve Taqwa by taming the soul and making it under the control of the intellect. It is the intellect of the human being which needs to govern his anger, imagination and desire, and by this governance, he will become higher than the angels.
Indeed, the minimum level of performing acts of worship is to ensure one understands the jurisprudential aspects of that action and observes all the rulings associated with it. However, one should not stop at this surface level of understanding but needs to also delve into the spiritual reality of the actions he is performing.
Significance of the Month of Ramadan
The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed. It is narrated from Imam ar-Ridha: Verily, the month of Ramadan is a month in which the holy Qur’an was revealed. It was in this month that the Prophet Mohammad (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Salam) was conferred with Prophethood. The Night of al-Qadr which is better than one thousand months and therein every matter of ordainment is decreed is also found in the month of Ramadan.
The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: “’Verily Ramadhan has been thus named because it scorches away sins.” Though, through fasting, a muslim experiences hunger and thirst, and sympathizes with those in the world who have little to eat and drink every day. It teaches him/her to be charitable and develop feelings of generosity and good-will toward others through increased charity.
How to make most out of it?
After a long day of fasting, laying down on your bed thinking about how you could have utilized your day, you can’t help but think about how you could have done it differently. Undoubtedly, eminent rewards can be drawn from fasting as it incorporates huge physical, mental health benefits. We know that the true purpose behind fasting in Ramadan is to gain Taqwah and become closer to Allah. But how can we do it?
- Try to instill a sense of gratitude and make us appreciate the value of food and drink as gratitude elevates our Taqwah.
- Be willing to become more compassionate towards the poor and needy by starting giving charity in the way of Allah that brings us closer to Allah.
- It is the best time to repent to Allah, make dua and recharge our relationship with Allah as he has promised to forgive us for all our past sins.
- Aim to manage your time efficiently during Ramadan by making realistic goals of how to divide time between Ibadah and everything else in Ramadan to collect utmost blessings for instance: start reading Quran, tasbeeh, tafsir, make dua and prayers.
- Feel the intense and immediate self-satisfaction, peace and happiness by doing Charity as it will not only add barakah in your Rizq but also serve as a chance to collect duas from the people you are helping.
The essence of fasting is to eschew all evil ways throughout the year. The true fast is that from which one learns a lesson as fasting serves as the edge one needs to improve one’s spiritual and physical life.