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.
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.
Ramadan Mubarak, and May Allah grant us reward for our efforts, Ameen.
-That's the TFAT.