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The Essence of Ramadan

The exalted month of all – Ramadan – is the most awaited month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims, throughout the globe, are always eager for this month to arrive not only because of the numerous blessings that are on offer in this holy month but also because it inculcates various good attributes in individuals that make them, on the whole, a better human being.

Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?

Yes, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dusk till dawn during Ramadan, but why do they do it and what do they hope to accomplish? Here’s the answer to this frequently asked question:

Protection from Evil

By refraining from food as well as drink, Muslims try to exercise self-restraint over their urges to satisfy their appetite. The whole point is to avoid the food that nourishes oneself and instead consume the food (blessings) that brings solace to the soul. This enables them to develop and strengthen their inner power of self-control, which further helps them guard themselves against evil – wrong desires and bad habits – as evident from the following verse form Holy Quran: “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.” (The Holy Quran, 2:183)

Abusing, getting angry, backbiting, drinking, smoking, and not having the right intentions are all forbidden in the month of Ramadan. Avoiding such acts help Muslims re-form themselves and bring order in their lives.

Obey Allah – the magnanimous

Given that the purpose of the lives of Muslims is to live by Allah’s commandments so that He will protect them from hellfire and give them a place in Jannah in the afterlife, Ramadan becomes all the more important. This is because, during this blessed month, Allah’s blessings are abundant as the gates of heaven are opened, and the devil is chained.

“O, people! A great and blessed month has approached you … Anyone who seeks nearness to Allah in this month through any virtuous act will be like one who carried out an obligatory act at another time (outside of Ramadan), and whoever performs an obligatory act in this month will be like one who performed seventy such acts at another time…” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah)

The point is that one can really turn around his or her fortunes in this very month by turning wholeheartedly to Allah who is at His most merciful.

Muslims can purify themselves by atoning for their sins and Allah, who is the most forgiving, will absolve them. Plus, fasting in Ramadan allows Muslims to rejuvenate their faith by taking the right path. What’s even better is that fasting in Ramadan provides Muslims with higher spiritual experience. After all, Muslims bear the rigours of fasting in order to obey the divine commandments, and Allah reciprocates.

Promote Collective Good and Spread Happiness

Ramadan is synonymous with generosity and charity. By fasting, Muslims deprive themselves of their desires, and in this process, they learn to sympathize with others who are less fortunate than them. Instead of taking, Muslims learn to give in this month. It is essential for any community that those who have more share it with the ones who don’t. Fasting promotes this since the well-off begin to really understand what the needy go through in their daily lives and in turn, they help alleviate the sufferings of their community members, increasing unity.

Generally, what happens is that people tend to ignore what others are going through mainly because each individual is so immersed in his or her life. Fasting during Ramadan helps people get out of their bubble. It reinforces the idea of spreading happiness and taking care of others. In addition to this, fasting makes Muslims realize that nothing should be taken for granted and everything they have is given to them by Allah. This encourages people to give Zakat and answer the Ramadan Appeal, which is to help the unfortunate in any way possible.

Become Mentally as well as Physically Healthy

Apart from the obvious reasons, improving one’s emotional and physical wellbeing is also one of the reasons that Muslims fast. In addition to the peace of mind that fasting in Ramadan brings, the health benefits are worth mentioning too. Research has proven that fasting can help combat cancer, heart-diseases, and obesity. It can also improve one’s digestive system, regulate hormones, and keep one’s skin fresh as well as clear.

How can you make the most of Ramadan?

Having understood, why Muslims observe fast during Ramadan, now we are going to highlight the ways through which you can accumulate the maximum blessings and obtain Allah’s forgiveness as well as mercy.

The first and foremost is fasting with the right intentions and not fasting just for the sake of it. If you fast just so that people around you don’t cast you as an outsider, then your fast is not acceptable to Allah. Hence, make sure that your intentions are right.

Then comes praying the five compulsory prayers and reciting Quran. If possible, try to first increase the quality of both by praying and reciting as well as you can. After doing that, strive hard to increase the quantity. You can do that by reciting the Quran for a longer period of time and learning new Surahs that you can use to prolong your prayers.

In addition to this, you should do as much charity work as possible in the month of Ramadan. Reach out and extend a helping hand to the underprivileged people. Note that the people you help do not have to be only from your society. You can help the needy and oppressed in other countries as well. For instance, people in Syria are quite deserving of your Zakat and Zakat-ul-Fitr. So try and help them. Registered charities such as Syria Relief bridge the gap between you and the ones in dire need of aid. So, you can conveniently donate as much as you want through their website help make the world a better place.

You can also engage in other virtuous acts such as doing dhikr that is remembering Allah by reciting Duas and Surahs throughout the day. In addition to this, you can pray Nawafil as well as Taraweeh and try to spread the message of Islam as much as you can. Remember that all of your deeds will bear fruit. Just keep going and do your best in Ramadan.

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