Friday, July 20, 2012
Ramadan is upon us...
As my brother said, “and so it begins…” The blessed month of Ramadan is once again upon us.
For those that may not know…
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast.
During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking.
Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits -- essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings. The Arabic word for "fasting" (sawm) literally means "to refrain" - and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.
During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast.
Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person's body and soul to the spirit of the fast. Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one's self on the worship of God.
As an individual, Ramadan can be very difficult, especially in everyday life - to not think badly of some, to “bite your tongue,” to refrain. I will try, as I do each year. I can’t say I will for sure keep all 30 days of fasting, but I will surely try. I find the most difficult aspect of Ramadan having to refrain from water. I drink a lot of water in a day and this, as always, will be the hardest part of my roza (fasting). But for me, Ramadan is a way to refocus with each year, to give thanks for all that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon me and my family and to be a good person. That’s all I can do. So I shall embark on this year’s holy month of Ramadan with good tidings.
I wish all my Muslim brothers and sisters the same. Ramadan Mubarak!