Ramadan – Solely for your Souls

Vol 6 -Issue 2 Ramadan solely for your souls

For most of us, Ramadan starts with mouth watering savories and ends with shopping sprees for the Eid. It is impossible to fathom beyond delectable Pakoras, let alone understand the blessed month’s meaning to a Muslim.

Let us try to understand the logic and benefits behind Ramadan’s fasting.

Allah (swt), our Nourisher and Sustainer, has two types of creations. The first one is mandatory Muslims, such as animals, plantation, planets, mountains, etc. They all prostrate before Allah (swt) and praise Him, as mentioned in verse 41 of Surah Nur. These compulsory Muslims also fast.

Some animals are known to hibernate for a part of the year and emerge with renewed energies at the end of their hibernation period. Similarly, plants shed their leaves in the Fall and appear feeble. But as Spring approaches, they bloom. This is also a form of fasting.

Allah’s (swt) second creation, which is also His best, is the mankind. Humans are voluntary Muslims. They have been granted freedom of choice, whether to submit themselves in humility before Allah (swt) or disobey. Simultaneously, they have also been informed of the consequences of their conscious decisions.

Allah (swt) has not left His creation misguided. He has clearly mentioned in a Hadeeth the five cardinal pillars of Islam leading to success, both now and in the Hereafter. They are: belief in the oneness of Allah (swt) and that Muhammad (sa) is His last messenger, observation of Salah (prayer), giving of Zakah (charity), performance of Hajj (pilgrimage) and keeping Saum (fasting). (Bukhari)

It is His mercy that through offering us a way of life, He has also endowed us with physical benefits. Scientific research proves that fasting enhances health. It gives our livers a break, so as to improve the digestive system. It reduces blood volume, which is good for the circulatory system. It stimulates our bone marrow, thus producing blood. Fasting also helps the effective function of pituitary glands, thyroid glands and the pancreas. Besides that, Allah (swt) also rewards for this act of worship. Thus, Ramadan offers multiple benefits to those who fast.

In the ignorant days of Makkah, people had deviated from monotheism; however, there were still remnant, although distorted, practices of Hajj and Salah as practiced by Ibrahim (as). However, the concept of Saum (fasting) was completely alien to them. The closest you could get of the practice was when they would starve their horses in the scorching heat to train them to survive the severe conditions of war – a practice, which was called Siyam. History tells us that Musa (as) fasted, before the Torah was revealed to him. Similarly, Isa (as) fasted before the Injil. The number of days and mannerisms were different, but the concept of fasting did exist in previous nations, too. Thus, the Makkans were informed about it.

Allah (swt) commanded them: “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

Fasting is a means of self-control, especially in the face of vain desires. The foremost quality that one can attain through fasting is Taqwa (God consciousness). And it is the condition of Taqwa that leads people to Paradise.

When Allah (swt) prevents His creation from what is permissible, such as food, drink, sexual relations, etc., He helps them develop self control in the face of what is forbidden the remaining eleven months. In Ramadan, Muslims submit to this command voluntarily and give up permitted blessings willingly, to please their Creator.

Ramadan means scorching or burning. Some scholars state that in this blessed month Allah (swt) burns the sins of His slaves, who sincerely fast and pray to Him, renewing their states as pious Muslims.

Allah (swt) further commands: “[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if anyone of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you if only you know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:184)

Allah (swt) is Just and, hence, provides options to the sick and old. This may include diabetics, patients with heart conditions, pregnant or lactating women, menstruating women, or women undergoing post-partum bleeding.

Another significant mercy of Allah (swt) is the lunar calendar that Muslims follow. Though Ramadan is the ninth month of the calendar, it shifts each year – Muslims residing in all parts of the world are offered an opportunity to avail this month in varied seasons. Sometimes it falls in winters, when the days are short and the nights are long, and sometimes vice verse. In thirty-three years of a lifetime, a Muslim has fasted in every season. This is another sign of Allah’s (swt) justice.

This also highlights how a Muslim is eager to please his Lord in all seasons. His prayer and submission is not time specific but perennial.

Lastly, all year round we are occupied with our physical existence – our body and its needs. We not only neglect but also forget about the vessel of our life – our soul. Ramadan is in reality an annul check-up of our soul. As Allah (swt) has breathed His soul into our bodies, our soul can only be nourished by the Quran revealed by Allah (swt). Ramadan is that month, when Muslims commit a great deal of their time to the understanding of the Holy Book.

Just as the moon is present during the day but not visible, so is the soul hidden within our physical body. The soul is supposed to be the master and possessor of our body. However, in this world, our vain desires and Shaitan’s whispers alter this arrangement. Our physical needs supersede our spiritual needs. Our body misbehaves like a demanding, spoilt child, and the soul gets house arrested. The body takes over as the master.

We can test the condition of our soul by simply analyzing our inclinations. If, in Ramadan, our routine doesn’t differ much from what we do during the remaining part of the year, such as performing Salah and Dhikr, staying away from the forbidden and fearing Allah’s (swt) watch, and we just need to do some more of it, Alhumdulillah. Our souls are healthy.

However, if Ramadan feels like a sentence, and we wait for it to get over, so we can return to our life of sin, we need to take serious caution. The soul is sick and needs to be treated.

The soul is Allah’s (swt) ambassador. It is pure and thrives only on purity. A sage once said: “Conscience is thorough bred. It stops talking to those who don’t listen to it.” If, all along, your conscience, the inner voice of your soul, has been preventing you from disobedience but you have been neglecting it, your soul will stop speaking up.

Our soul is like a pristine pearl, and its carrier is our physical body, acting as a velvet pouch. If we keep cleaning the velvet pouch unaware of the invaluable pearl inside, we have suffered a grave loss. Ramadan is here to make up for that loss and start anew. For on the Day of Judgement, Allah (swt) will not talk to our bodies; it will be the souls that will be held accountable. Allah (swt) will reverse our condition, as one wears a dress inside out showing the hem. The facials and the hair dos all will be discarded. The spiritual glow of the soul will lead the way.

Muslims should avail this golden chance offered by Allah (swt) in Ramadan to train the body and bring the soul back to life. This is when the soul is in command and our body is in submission, which should be the case for us all year long.

The Best Deal!


“My son finally got a job in a well-established multinational company! I am so relieved of all the tensions now that his career is set and future is secured.” Parents usually worry about their children’s future. If their kids get good grades and eventually obtain a lucrative job, they think that they have achieved success. Hence, such remarks from satisfied mothers are commonplace. However, is our future really secured? Is it the ultimate success or even the key to it?

This dazzling world deceitfully makes us forget the hereafter. We know that the grave is our ultimate destination, as no family member would be willing to keep our dead body, no matter how dear we are to them. However, Allah (swt) buys this useless flesh and in exchange, grants us the splendours that we can never even imagine.

“Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for (the price) that theirs shall be the Paradise. (…) And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.” (At-Tawbah 9:111)

Though this is Allah’s (swt) true promise, it is conditional. In return, He wants us to fulfil certain obligations. All humans possess two main assets: life (time, talent, skills and efforts) and wealth. One can spend these to earn either this world or the pleasure of Allah (swt). A Mumin only sells himself to the Rabbul-Alameen (swt). He knows that only his Rabb (swt) can give the best return. Shouldn’t we then hurry up to sign this deal with our Him?

The qualities of those who want to sell themselves to their Rabb (swt) are: “(The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are) those who turn to Allah in repentance (from polytheism and hypocrisy), who worship (Him), who praise (Him), who fast (or go out in Allah’s Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (on people) for Al-Maroof (that is, Islamic Monotheism and all what Islam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (that is, disbelief, polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allah (do all that Allah has ordained and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden). And give glad tidings to the believers.” (At-Tawbah 9:112)

Let us study these eight qualities in detail.

  1. Those who turn to Allah (swt) in repentance

This refers to those who repent after committing sins and the ones who turn to Allah (swt) in all matters. A faithful believer keeps record of his deeds, and as soon as he realizes his faults and sins, he seeks forgiveness. Allah (swt) loves this quality in His slave.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) reported that the devil said to Allah (swt): “I shall continue to lead Your servants astray as long as their spirits are in their bodies.” Allah (swt) replied: “(Then) I shall continue to pardon them as long as they ask for My forgiveness.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Constantly turning to Allah (swt) in repentance is truly beneficial for us, as the Prophet (sa) said: “If anyone continually asks for pardon, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide for him from where he did not reckon.” (Abu Dawood)

A Mumin consults Allah (swt) in all matters through an Istikhara, whether it is a wedding or some business deal. He first tries to find out what Allah (swt) says about the related matter, so he can make the decision accordingly.

  1. Worship Allah (swt)

A true believer is a slave of Allah (swt) by choice. This quality of servitude consists of extreme love. Serving Allah (swt) consists of both Haqooq Allah and fulfilling the rights of people which is Haqooq al-Ibad.

  1. Praise Allah (swt)

A Mumin is a positive person and thanks Allah (swt) for each and every blessing, no matter how small it may be. This keeps him away from worries and stress, as Allah (swt) mentions: “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (that is, disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

How can we be thankful?  Through our tongues by verbally thanking and praising Allah (swt). We should practice saying small phrases like Alhumdulillah or Subhan’Allah loud enough, so that it can impact our hearts.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah is surely pleased with His servant when he eats something and thanks Allah for it, and when he drinks something and thanks Allah for it.” (Muslim)

We can also be thankful through our actions by using our five senses to please Allah (swt). For example, if one has been bestowed with knowledge, he should thank Allah (swt) by educating others. Similarly, if Allah (swt) has blessed someone with wealth, he should thank Allah (swt) by giving to the needy and to the poor.

If we ponder over this, we realize that a loyal believer’s entire life is an act of gratitude to His Rabb (swt).

  1. Move about in the land for His sake

This term is used for people who leave their homes in order to struggle, strive and gain the knowledge of Islam.

It is related by Anas ibn Malik (rtam) that the Prophet (sa) said: “A morning spent in the way of Allah or an evening is better than this world and everything it contains.” (Bukhari)

According to scholars, another meaning of moving about in the land for Allah’s (swt) sake refers to Umrah and Hajj.

Furthermore, it refers to migration for the sake of Allah (swt). Migration can be of two types: (1) a physical one – moving to a Muslim country; (2) an intellectual one – shunning sins from one’s life and changing the lifestyle according to the Quran and the Sunnah.

  1. Make Ruku (bow down)

This attribute reflects a true believer’s humility and down-to-earth personality. Arrogance wastes good deeds. Abdullah ibn Masood (rtam) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “No one who has an atom’s weight of pride in his heart will enter the Garden.” A man said: “And if the man likes his clothes to be good and his sandals to be good?” He said: “Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means to renounce the truth and abase people.” (Muslim)

  1. Those who prostrate

A Mumin is humble which is reflected in his act of prostration to His Rabb (swt). A faithful believer is not just concerned about obligations; he makes special preparations for performing voluntary prayers. He draws closer to His Rabb (swt) by not only performing the obligatory duties but also the extra good deeds.

The aforementioned attributes come under the category of personal development and to some extent are easy to adopt. Hence, most of us stop at these only, as we consider them to be the definition of piety. We fail to acknowledge the next two qualities stated in this verse:

  1. Enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil

This attribute reflects a believer’s well-wishing nature for the Ummah.

The Prophet (sa) said (thrice): “Religion is sincerity and sincere advice.” The companions asked: “To whom?” He replied: “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger and to the leaders of the Muslims and the general people.” (Muslim)

The above Hadeeth implies guiding others to what is beneficial for them, both in the hereafter and this life, educating them about Islam and refraining from sins by words and actions. The job of every Mumin is to spread Allah’s (swt) message by inviting people towards good and forbidding evil. However, this is not an easy task, as we all try to avoid clashing with society and, therefore, are hesitant in forbidding people from doing wrong. We should supplicate a lot, asking Allah (swt) for wisdom, so we can perform our role as Daees.

  1. Observe the limits set by Allah (swt)

A faithful believer will be careful in observing the ordinances of Islamic jurisprudence. We can understand Allah’s (swt) limits by an easy example of a gatekeeper, whose duty is to be watchful all the time, in order to provide security to the household members. Similarly, a believer has to care about observing Allah’s (swt) limits at all times.

Upon adopting these qualities, our Rabb (swt) has promised us the great reward of paradise. We are as incompetent as can be. We make a promise in the daytime to rectify our sinful lives, but by nightfall, we break it. May Allah (swt) enable us to make such an intention that even if we fall flat on our faces, we stand up again and struggle. We must strive till our last breath and become among those who repent to Him, worship Him, praise Him, travel for Him, bow to Him, prostrate to Him, enjoin good for His sake, forbid evil for His sake and observe His limits – do everything only for His sake and in His name.

One of the most beautiful verses of the Quran sums it all up: “As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (that is, Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinun (good doers).” (Al-Ankabut 29:69)

Transcribed and adapted for “Hiba” by Amreen Rehman.