O Ramadan, my friend, you are here. I sense peace and happiness as we re-connect again. I remember last year begging Allah to allow me to meet you in the coming year.
You are the month in which the Quran was sent down as a guide to mankind. Your spiritual aspects of Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer), reading the Quran, fasting, helping the poor by paying Zakat-ul-Fitr, and inviting others to break their fasts together soothes our hearts, develops compassion, and creates a spiritual atmosphere. We seek Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree) in your last ten odd nights.
When you come, we fast during the day. Fasting means abstinence from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn till sunset. Many consider fasting to be an act of hardship but the truth is it teaches patience and perseverance, and it germinates a feeling of moral accomplishment. Certain individuals are exempted from fasting – they include the sick and the travellers. They can make up the days after Ramadan. Allah says in the Quran:
“[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any 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, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to 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, it is better for you if only you know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:184)
Fasting is an act of obedience and submission to the Almighty Allah; its foundation is based upon love to gain His pleasure. This is why fasting enhances feelings of inner peace, optimism, and contentment. Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said:
“Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, said: Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me and I (alone) will reward it. Fasting is a shield. When any one of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise the voice; if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him he should say: I am a person fasting. By Him, in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah on the Day of Judgement than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts has two (occasions) of joy, one when he breaks the fast he is glad with the breaking of (the fast) and one when he meets his Lord he is glad with his fast.” (Muslim)
Fasting ‘shelters’ us from sins. The one who is fasting says: I am fasting – and becomes one of the righteous. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said:
“Fasting is a shield; when one of you is fasting, he should neither behave in an obscene manner nor foolishly. If a man fights or abuses him, he should say: I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Abu Dawood)
O Ramadan, my friend whilst you are here, I pray to Allah (swt) to enable us to make the most of it.