Ramadan, the spiritual bonding

Nazneen Ali

Each morning the rising sun brings in a new message with its twilight. A new day with a new hope, a new spirit, a new challenge, a new rise or a new fall. In this cycle of life from dawn to dusk, each day is a unique day, a unique story for us where we play our role in this large world making our own small contribution towards its progress, towards its perpetuity, and unfortunately, towards it destruction as well.

This routine bounds our life so much that we get entrapped in a vicious circle where our goal is to just ensure our own success, our sustainability, our ambition, our desires.

We as an individual, move away from the ‘We culture’ to a more self-centric ‘I culture’ of me, myself and mine. We are so focused on ourselves that we neither turn towards our fellow beings to extend or seek support nor do we turn to the Almighty, the divine power of Allah to be grateful for what has been bestowed on us. We tend to become indifferent to other humans losing any sympathy and empathy towards each other.

To set us free from the shackles of these worldly affairs, to liberate the humanity from egotistical slavery, mankind has been bequeathed religious beliefs, spiritual books and faith in the divine super power that serve as a path of guidance for us to lead our lives in a virtuous manner. Though these virtues are to be practiced daily, Islam as a religion has a month specified for spirituality, to help us to take a pause, to rethink our activities, to remolt ourselves shedding our old selfish skins and growing a more selfless personality, a month to start afresh, to set new goals for the betterment of mankind, a month to become pious again, a month to adopt the righteous path from here and thereon, a month to learn how to make sacrifices, a month to be patient, a month to start caring for the needy, a month to get closer to Allah, a month to revive our spiritual bonding with Allah.

This month, Ramadan, is a month to take a step closer to Allah and then continue there on. The Quranic verse of Surat Al-Baqarah, Ayat 183, mentions “O you, who believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.”

In the same Surah, Ayat 277, Allah says “Indeed those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayers and give Zakat will have their rewards from their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.”

There are almost 30 verses in the Holy Quran in which Salah and Zakat are explicitly mentioned. So fasting, prayers and Zakat are the cornerstones, the foundations on which the holy month of Ramadan is based. Practicing these three pillars with fidelity confers innumerous benefits to one as an individual and to the society as a whole. A deeper analysis of these pillars reveals that they are not just meant for a specific religion but for the entire mankind. Ramadan is thus, not a holy month for the Muslims alone, but a month to reflect on our character, a month to rebuild our values, and so it is a month to be practiced by everyone, so that the entire society can reap the socio-economic benefits of this month.

Abstaining from food is just the literal meaning of fasting. Fasting in essence is much more than that. Fasting has a lot many inherent sacrifices and self-controls imposed on a person that it can be practiced by all irrespective of their religion. Controlling our hunger during the fast leads us towards the ideology of controlling our inner thrust and anxieties. In today’s world, people have a hunger for fame and popularity, success through shortcuts and an urge to be a winner always. This crave for success usually becomes so intense that people get misled on the path of immorality. Fasting helps us to develop a strong will power against such inner drives. We learn to be patient, to wait for the right time, to believe that period of sacrifice will end at a designated time and then we will be given the opportunity to fulfill our desires. Fasting helps us to develop affinity towards each other particularly towards the underprivileged and deprived ones. When we curb our hunger, we realize the pain of the downtrodden, we tend to empathize with them, we understand the importance of the natural resources, we learn to appreciate the blessings that have been granted to us, we become conservative and develop a tendency to avoid any kind of wastage.

In this socio-economic world, we have super powers, developed nations, developing countries and the underdeveloped countries. While the super powers and developed nations are self-sustaining, their underdeveloped counterparts seek economical support for sustainability. There are super rich people who are blessed with much more resources than they need, they have so much that their generations and generations can survive. On the other hand, there are many who lead a hand to mouth life, many who lack even the basic amenities in life. Zakat – paying alms to the poor, is thus a step towards narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor. It is a way to redistribute the wealth between the rich and the poor. It is a way to promote brotherhood between communities; so it is not only for the Muslims to pay Zakat but all individuals and societies should adopt this concept and help their fellow beings lead a better life, contribute in bringing smile on the face of others, feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless and make the world more balanced financially.
We are leading a stressful life in this competitive world. The entire human race is running behind some invisible goals. All of us are on an unending journey towards some unreachable destination. Since the path is long, not predefined, tough and stressful, we need an eternal support, a support from the Almighty Allah. We need to gain inner strength by developing our bond with Allah, reconnecting ourselves with him and seeking his support. Salah – prayers, especially Qiyam Al-Lail (praying at night) which is widely practiced is Ramadan is a time to refocus on our life, our journey in this world. It is a time to understand the core of our life, the basic purpose of our existence. Recital of the Holy Quran during the prayers is not just reciting, it is for adoption of the teachings of the Holy Quran in our daily lives, it is for us to evaluate our lives against what is expected and accordingly realign ourselves towards the right path – Sirat e Mustaqeem.

So this Ramadan, let us join hands to celebrate humanity, establishing a connection within communities, re-energizing ourselves, becoming more humble, seeking forgiveness and repenting for our sins, practicing goodness, undergoing transformative experience, preventing immorality and wrongdoing, contributing towards tranquility and peace; and together cultivating a conducive environment and creating an amicable world.
Ali is a member of the Writers’ Forum Kuwait

By Nazneen Ali

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