Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Message to Fellow Muslims: Realize the Importance of Ramadan


Last Ramadan is a distant, yet graceful memory.

I remember standing through long Tarawih prayers at the Masjid, breaking fast at Iftar dinners, and rejoicing with family and friends on Eid. Despite the summer heat, the Masjid was filled with adults and children alike. Some were immersed in prayer, some were overwhelmed with emotion, some were calling upon Allah for their needs. All these people were going through a process of purification, so rich in value that words can't even begin to describe.

That time has come again, and in fact, the time will leave us again.

Look at yourself right now and compare yourself to the person you were last Eid. Subhan'Allah, you fasted and Insha'Allah your sins were washed away. But these sins have accumulated over the interval of time, and you reverted back to how you were before Ramadan.

Why?

Muslims were focusing on rejuvenating their soul, strengthening their relationship with Allah, asking for forgiveness. But many have become lost in their puddle of sins once again. The month of Ramadan is a time for improvement and growth - spiritually, communally, and personally. These three growths are perfections to morality.

There is, I believe, a reason to the reversion, it being that we intensely focus much of our time on spiritual growth.

There needs to be a balance between our spiritual, communal, and personal lives, because during the month of Ramadan, many of us focus solely on spiritual growth. We find a way to improve our relationship with God, yet at the same time we must keep a spirit of building relationships with other people, which is especially essential in order to create a just and kind society.

Unfortunately, in our postmodern society we tend to be oblivious to the fact that everything we do has a direct effect on others. The independence we enjoy comes with responsibilities to the people surrounded by us.

Ramadan is not just a month of increasing relationship with Allah, but increasing relationships with friends, family, and even yourself. "Sawm", the Arabic word for fasting, literally means "restraint and self-control".

Fasting isn't only about abstinence. Its not only a ritualistic act. It is a combination of physical discipline, spiritual reflection, and communal growth. It is much deeper than simply "not eating", its an opportunity to let go of bad habits and foster good deeds. We learn to commit good deeds by instinct, just like we learn our times tables in school - through repetition.

During this Holy Month, we must improve our moral character, because Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that the best among humanity are those who have the best manners towards others.

Ramadan teaches us how to live morally. To perfect morality, we must understand that it is a two-step process. Individually, we can do this by striving to foster certain universal principles such as kindness, honesty, and compassion into our daily lives. In our communities, we must try to interact with others in a respectful manner.

Hours from now Insha'Allah, I will start the process of purification by praying Tarawih prayers at the Masjid. Listening to the Imam read verses from the Qu'ran will fill my heart with remembrance of my Lord.

But once this journey is over, I will not have only grown spiritually, but personally and communally.

This is the promise we must make to ourselves.

Realize the importance of Ramadan.

Grow.

Ramadan Mubarak, and May Allah grant us reward for our efforts, Ameen.

-That's the TFAT.
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23 comments:

  1. I think after your "I Hate Mother's Day" rant, you owe an "I Hate Ramadan" rant on the exact same grounds. Shouldn't you focus on cleansing yourself of sin and drawing closer to Allah every month? Or is it different because it's a religious holiday and involves fasting? I would very easily make a claim it isn't a whole lot different, besides that it demands a physical toll on whoever is celebrating. I think you have no reason to hate Mother's Day in the first place. Is the problem of people being ungrateful to their mothers because of Mother's Day? Not really. It's a holiday in which we take time to observe and respect, just like Ramadan. Maybe the root of the problem isn't that we have a holiday celebrating it, maybe it's a deeper social problem. Regardless, I think either your "I Hate Mother's Day" blog is extremely flawed, or you owe the same blog about Ramadan, and any other holiday, for that matter.

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  2. "Unfortunately, in our postmodern society we tend to be oblivious to the fact that everything we do has a direct effect on others."

    Postmodern society or individualism vs. collectivism?

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  3. Actually, you bring up quite a good point, because now I'm allowed to clear something up.

    Ramadan isn't a "holiday". It isn't something you necessarily celebrate. There is a major flaw in your argument, it being that you can't compare Ramadan and Mother's Day. The only thing similar about the two is that they are both intended to respect something - Ramadan being respecting the religion of Islam, and Mother's Day being respecting mothers.

    Unlike Mother's Day, Ramadan isn't a commercialized holiday. Unlike Mother's Day, Ramadan is religious. Unlike Mother's Day, Ramadan is a whole month. There are a countless amount of differences.

    I think you misinterpreted the point I was trying to make in my "I Hate Mother's Day" post. What I was trying to say is that I hate what it has become for many people, and that is a "hallmark holiday".

    Furthermore, I think you misinterpreted the whole point of this article. In this post, I'm trying to say that we, as Muslims, need to continue to grow even after this month. You're absolutely right, Muslims SHOULD grow closer to Allah every month, that is what I'm saying.

    "I Hate Mother's Day" was just a title to grab your attention, if you read the article, I clearly say I love my mother, and love people who actually use Mother's Day to increase their respect for their motherly figure.

    I hope this clears this up. And I sincerely do appreciate your comment. Thank you!

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  4. I think this post is good and does not deserve the same rant you gave the "I hate mother's day" entry for the following reasons:

    - Ramadan is a religious "holiday" (month) and to say that mother's day, a cultural holiday accelerated by commercialism, deserves the same respect as a religious event is an argument flawed in itself.
    - the argument you focused on in the mother's day entry involved the commercialization of a holiday that was meant to show special appreciate for mothers and was not meant to be commercialized (i.e. We shouldn't have to buy flowers to prove our love and respect for our mother). The spotlight argument led us to ask the question "Who's benefiting more-- money hungry corporations or our mothers?"
    - I think it's ridiculous to ask you to hate all holidays just because you hate one.

    I'm sure I can think of more reasons why this post doesn't deserve the same rant, but this is my argument as of now.

    Keep up the great work. Looking forward to reading more posts.

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  5. Alhamdulillah, Ramadan Kareem!

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  6. indeed growth is what we need this ramadan insha'allah

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  7. The person didn't understand. Ramadan is an opportunity given by God, humans didn't make the month up unlike mothers day. In this month its not that we appreciate Islam, it's a time for Muslims to take opportunity of the holy month and realize whether or not they are doing good as a Muslim and improve on that and continue improving through out the year it's not a one day thing like Mother's Day. Like a checkpoint...

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