Thursday, August 9, 2012

RAMADAN: the Harmony of Good Living

In an article in the Mauritius-based newspaper “LE SOCIALISTE” published on July 31, 2012 the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius reflected on the special blessings of fasting for the human body, mind and soul. The fasting month of Ramadan is a spiritually rewarding time for the believers as it allows them to seek to reach the source of all perfection through abandoning one's ego and personal desires by focusing on Allah, the Most Exalted. [Inset: "Craving for the blessings of Allah"- a Painting by Pakistani artist Khurso Subzwari ]. 

We reproduce the article below for the benefit of all our esteemed readers.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may become righteous.” (2: 184)

Fasting has been prescribed to all people before the advent of Islam. Each prophet of God came to teach their people through divine intervention a form of fasting which shall suit their needs, both physically and spiritually.

Fasting is voluntarily not eating food for varying lengths of time. Fasting in Islam can be observed with the intention to cleanse one’s body and mind from all kinds of ills, but mostly to come closer to God, for when the body and mind is cleared of food and other privations, then the soul also is cleansed. This occurs especially when fasting is observed along with acts of worship to seek the pleasure of God Almighty, our beloved Master and Creator.

God has ordained a special sacred month whereby this form of complete purification can be put into action. This month is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan. The Quran explains the sanctity of this special month in these terms:

The month of Ramadan (is that month) in which the Quran was revealed, (being) a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him observe the fast…” (2: 186)

This month has therefore a special characteristic in that which it was during one of its nights that the last law-bearing Book, that is, the Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as guidance for mankind. This month’s purity has been acknowledged by God the Praiseworthy and fasting has therein been made obligatory upon every able and healthy Muslims, rich and poor alike for all times.

Our honoured guest, Ramadan is back again in our lives. Ramadan: as a reminiscence of purity, atonement for sins and mistakes, and the opportunity to strive to accede to the pleasure of God and obtain the Creator Himself as our recompense.

Fasting teaches us to fight our innermost vain desires, and to turn away from selfishness and heedlessness. It teaches us to turn away from the pleasures of our mind and focus on what pleases the heart, that is, the remembrance of God Almighty. It teaches us to empathise and to better understand the poor and needy. It teaches us to realise gratitude for the blessings of health and provision and to surrender our will to the will of God. It teaches us to humble ourselves, and that we are dependent upon Him (God).

We Muslims must strive to do justice to our own selves. Justice must prevail at all times, and justice can only come if we are true to the commandments of God. Ramadan is a sure means to make justice not only to our spiritual side, but also to our physical side, our health.

There are some recommendations which we cannot ignore. Indeed if we follow a good diet during the days of fasting, then our health will not only ameliorate but also this shall be a plus for us in spiritual matters. The soul is influenced by what the body consumes. That is why the Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh) has instructed that when one takes in food, one has to make provision of one-third place for food, one-third for water and one-third for air. A full stomach is not good for a person as it has a negative effect on his soul also. Thus, when our physical health joins in harmony with our spiritual health, we mankind (not only Muslims) shall profit from one of the best divine ways of cleansing our body, mind and soul.

May this month of Ramadan comes as a trigger of conscience for submitting our body, mind and soul to the harmony of good living through proper fasting and the accomplishment of such acts of worship which shall guarantee us (if God wills) the pleasure of God Almighty. (Ameen).

(c) Le Socialiste  Newspaper, Mauritius, July 31, 2012