Significance of Ramadan: What makes it special?
Ramadan is the 9th and most vital month in the Islamic calendar (Hijri).It is obligatory for Muslims to fast during this holy month .There are around 1.7 billion Muslims around the world who observe this ritual which is the 4th pillar of Islam among five. Fasting is not just abstaining from drinking & eating ,it also includes abstaining from immoral activities .Other acts of worship such as prayer ,reading the Quran and charity are also encouraged during the month of Ramadan .In the Quran ,God talks concern the importance of Ramadan in the following verse: "O you who believe !Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you ,that you may learn piety and righteousness " (Holy Quran ,2:183).
During Ramadan, Muslims wake up early to eat a pre-dawn meal its called suhoor and they break their fast with a meal referred to as Iftar .One important thing of this Holy month is Quran was revealed in Ramadan. Great Allah said about this regard ,"Indeed ,we sent the Quran down during the Night of Decree and what can make you know what is the Night of Decree ? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.
The angles and the spirit descend therein by permission of their lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.[Sura Al-Qadr:1-5] .It is traditional for Muslims to read the entire Quran in the month of Ramadan ."Ramadan is the (month) in which the Quran was sent down, as a guide to mankind also clear (signs) for guidance and the differentiation (between right and wrong)" (Holy Quran-Sura Al Bakarah-185) Muslims gather every night in mosques after they have broken their fasts to pray the special prayer known as Tarawhi.
When the month of Ramadan starts ,Muslims believe that the gates of haven are opened and the gates of hell are closed as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said in one of this hadiths: " when the month of Ramadan starts ,the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained "( Bukhari Sharif).when someone fasts in the month of Ramadan with sincere faith ,Muslims believe that he/she will be forgiven by Allah almighty as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said in hadith : "whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah
There are some other significances of this holy month such as The Night of Decree (Laylatul-Qadr) is known to be better than a thousand months and Muslims are encouraged to pray and give more on this holy night .It is also recommended to give Zakat in the month of Ramadan. The purpose of fasting is not physical training to endure hunger and exhaustion rather it is disciplining the ego to relinquish the loved for the sake of the beloved.
The loved are the desires of eating, drinking, sexual activities etc. Fasting is a Jihadic struggle because of Muslims struggle against hunger during in the month of Ramadan. Fasting in Ramadan also makes Muslims stronger against fighting sin and more charitable to others. It has great significances and aims which are carefully considered to instil in us much surprise.
We mention the following:
1.Fasting is linked with true faith in Allah that is why it has been reported that fasting is a secret act of worship since a person may break his fast. If he wishes by eating ,drinking or simply by not making the intention to fast (In which case his fast will not be accepted even if he remains fasting the whole day ).Fasting is a hearty secret worship that concerns only the servant and his creator. When the servant knowingly gives up the things and acts nullify the fast despite his ability to reach them in secret he gives indeed strong evidence of his certain belief that Allah the almighty watches over him in both his manifest and secret deeds..There is no doubt that in this kind of conduct is a significant training to strengthen faith in Allah.
2.Fasting is also training for the servant to aspire to the Hereafter since by fasting he gives up some of the worldly matters looking forward to Almighty Allah's reward. By observing the fast he weighs the profit in terms of the condition in the hereafter. However, those who measure things in materialistic terms are only concerned with the worldly aspect of fasting. As a result, they think of it as merely deprivation of the pleasures of life, which please the self and satisfy the body. They are not in the least concerned with the other aspect of its significance in the hereafter that constitutes the real reward and the genuine perpetuity. This attitude of their hearts weakens their aspiration for the hereafter and its eternal enjoyment.
3.Fasting is a practical embodiment of submission and servitude to Allah the exalted, That the servant manifests by eating and drinking at night only in response to the call of his lord .Allah who says in the Holy Quran "And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread of night" (Surah Al-Bakarah-187). In this reason the fasting Muslim should eat at Iftar (breakfast) time at sunset and just before dawn Suhoor or the pre-dawn meal because continuous fasting day and night is forbidden in Shariah (Islamic law). The act of eating is therefore a form of worship Allah the almighty when dawn starts Muslims discontinue eating and drinking and having sex with their spouses in compliance with Allah's order according to[ Sura al -bakarah:187] .For this reason the Muslim is educated about complete servitude to Allah the most high in such a way that when his lord commands he compiles .It is therefore not simply a matter of personal taste whim and disposition but a matter of obedience to Allah and implementation of his commands.
4.Fasting is similarly a form of education to the whole society since when the fasting Muslim feels that people around him are all fasting he finds fast no longer difficult but feels that he is in harmony with the society to which he belongs through worship the unifying factor of the whole community. Whoever compares voluntary fasting to the obligatory fast in the month of Ramadan perceives a certain difficulty in the former and easiness in the latter due to the aforementioned reasons .That is why Muslims find it very difficult to spend the month of Ramadan away from Muslim environments.
Ramadan in the Quran--The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and certain ; So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month let him fast it and whoever is ill or on a journey -then an equal number of the other days.
Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which has guided you and perhaps you will be grateful [Holy Quran:2-185] also Holy Hadith about the Ramadan narrated Abu Huraira (Radiallahuanhu) :I heard Allah's messenger (pbuh) saying regarding Ramadan ,"whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah ,then all his previous sins will be forgiven."[sahih al-Bukhari Book-31 Hadith] .
Narrated by Abu Hurairah(R:A) (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Allah's messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "The five daily salat (prayers) and from one Jumu'ah prayer to the next Jumu'ah prayer and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expitations for the (sins ) committed in between (their intervals) provided the ,major sins are not committed".[Sahih Muslim Book-1 Hadith-130] .It is said in an authentic Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that fasting in the Ramadan sincerely out of faith and in hope of reward we will be forgiven all our previous sins provided the major sins are not committed.
The writer is a student of Islamic University, Kushtia