Understanding Ramadhan

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By Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph

Only a Meranaw

Sunday, June 29, 2014


RAMADHAN is among the most awaited months among Muslims all over the world.

To many observers, they consider this as a festivity among Muslims without knowing that this is a religious obligation.

The month of Ramadhan and the obligations within are considered part of the five pillars of Islam (foundation of Muslim life). Muslims must self-purify by fasting during the month of Ramadhan.

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Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when all Muslims of right age must spend their daylight hours in a complete fast.

This month is considered a blessed month for all Muslims all over the world because of its purpose to purify the soul.

In fasting, Muslims literally abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs.

By this, a Muslim purifies his soul for he/she refocuses his/her attention to God alone.

A Muslim practices self-sacrifice by abstaining not only the intake of food and drinks but also by cleansing the soul through clean thoughts, feelings, actions and even spoken words.

Ramadhan is the month of ‘sawm,’ an Arabic term which literally means “to refrain.”

Sawm teaches a Muslim to refrain from doing evil deeds and sacrifice his/her own desires for the sake of God.

From many learned Muslims, they confirm that there is wisdom behind the virtues of Ramadhan.

According to Sheikh Yusuf Estes in his own website, “Fasting is a great act of worship for the Muslim which he performs by neglecting his desires to please his Lord and hopes for His Reward.”

In most of the Hadiths, the narration about the Prophet (peace be upon him) as narrated by Abu Hurairah; "Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said; 'When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of Jannah (Paradise) are opened and the gates of Jahannam (Hell) are closed, and the shayatin (devils) are chained up."

By this narration, Muslims believe that by doing good things and refraining from all evil will give them the benefits of Paradise in the hereafter.

However, Islam has always remained a practical and liberal religion when it comes to understanding religious rules.

There are exemptions implied in the Qur’an for the performance of fasting when people fall under the following categories:
Someone who is mentally challenged;
Children who have not undergone puberty;
Women who are passing from their monthly cycles;
Travelers who go far places and where the journey is difficult;
Someone who is sick, very old and weak, and whose ailment worsens if he/she fasts;
Pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Nonetheless, even if one is exempted, there are compensatory means to follow in lieu of the fasting.

Among these are fasting later in other months or after the month of Ramadan, as soon as the cause of delay is gone; giving a meal for each missed day of fasting; feeding a person or various people or giving money to the poor that may buy them a proper meal.

Interestingly, as a Muslim, what Ramdhan teaches us more is the wisdom behind doing good deeds and refraining from evil act.

Hence, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must not gossip and backbite. The eyes must not look at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must not listen to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must not go to sinful places.

Therefore, through Ramadhan, one is taught to refrain from doing sinful acts and the sacrifice allows every part of his body and soul to purify and commit oneself to God alone.

Fasting is practically a self-sacrifice that teaches one to abstain from sinful deeds and become a better person after the holy month of Ramadhan.

To all Mindanaoans reading this article, let us understand and support Muslims in this month of sacrifice so we all live a better life ahead.

Happy Ramadhan!

***

[Email: sorlatipyusoph@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 29, 2014.

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