The following Quranic verse confirms what the Prophet said: "Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Quran as a guide to mankind and also clear signs for guidance and judgment between the right and wrong. So everyone of you who is present (alive) during the month should spend it in fasting, except if one is ill or on a journey. — (2:185). Another verse emphasises: "Believers! Fasting is enjoined upon you as it was enjoined upon those before you; that you may learn self-restraint." —2:183.
The aim of Ramadan is the attainment of piety and virtues, abstinence and righteousness with full dedication. The Quranic revelation in this month is by itself a gesture of greatest blessing bestowed by Allah on the mankind.
The holy month teaches us how to make the distinction between the Creator and the created; how to attain satisfaction in this world and comforts in the Hereafter. Ramadan provides a true understanding of the spiritual and the mundane aspects of the human life.
Ramadan strengthens the bonds of love between fellow beings, as Muslims part with the poor-due (Zakat). Fasting also unfolds layers of the mind of the believers with regard to human disposition and reminds Muslims of their pre-eminence in this universe by reviving their innate merits and excellence.
Fasting in Ramadan is the best opportunity for purification of our innerself. The month teaches us self-restraint and discipline which are the pre-requisites for a successful and responsible life. Mere enunciation of good principles will be ineffective if they are not coupled with training and action. Fasting is the plank which elates our inner spirit and restores the plausibility of the believers' righteousness in totality because Muslim men and women abstain themselves from all sorts of temptation and lust. The Holy Quran calls on the faithful to avoid materialism and not to fall prey to the worldly desires and guides to evolve a society where men/women can distinguish between the virtues and vices and should be capable of self-assessment of their deeds and actions.
The blessed month of Ramadan provides the best opportunity for self-appraisal, asking for forgiveness and refrain from the sins committed knowingly or unknowingly. People who fast and conduct themselves with all prescribed conditionalities and humility will sure make grades for a contented life in this world and eternal peace in the Hereafter. Abstaining voluntarily from several easily available things like food and water and avoiding the permissible luxuries and even restraining ourselves from uttering words which could hurt others' feelings during the fasting inculcates automatically in the faithful an inner strength and satisfaction. More importantly, it leads the faithful to the ultimate reward i.e. the pleasure of Allah.
And Allah appreciates the spirit of sacrifice of believers in denying themselves the vital, everyday human necessities like food and water to obey and please Him. The holy book of Quran and the holy month of Ramadan are closely linked. Because Holy Quran was gifted to the mankind during Ramadan, there is special focus on the Quran and its teachings. The Holy Quran is a complete and perfect guide to the mankind for all times to come. Ramadan brings us closer to the Quran which in turn takes us closer to our Creator. It is mandatory for the faithful to devote as much time as possible in reciting the Holy Quran while fasting during the day and read and listen to the Holy Quran in Tarawieh prayers in the night. Thus we spend most of our day and night time praying and strengthening our bond with Allah.
Now it is up to us to avail the maximum benefits from the Holy Quran during the holy month. The doors of Allah's mercy are wide open during this blessed month and He bestows on us much more than our expectations, provided we fulfil His demands as ordained by Him through His revealed Book. The very fact that Fasting is one of the fifth pillars of Islam and second in priority to salah is a the proof of the benefits and mercies of this holy month.
Our path of salvation lies in adherence to the teachings of the Holy Quran alone and the best way to benefit from the Book is to emulate our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Let us welcome Ramadan and seek Allah's help in benefiting from the holy month.
This is the first piece in a month-long series of articles on the significance and message of holy month of Ramadan.
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