On the sighting of the crescent of Ramadhan, each Muslim renews his solemn oath with the Almighty, that he has indeed surrendered his will to that of his Lord. It’s a month where a greater portion of one’s day is spent in prayers, recitation of the Holy Book and religious discourses, than otherwise. It’s a month where one breaks free from the normal routine while physically and mentally stressing himself to an entirely different one. He wakes up at 4:00 AM to eat, then fasts through out the day to open his fast again only at sunset. Followed by prayers and recitations of the Quran all night long. Why?
There’s a potent message of Self-Will.
Man is made of greater moral strength. He has it within him to take up tasks that are seemingly difficult, maybe even impossible. No matter how strong an addiction, God has made one’s personal will stronger. No matter how strong the urge be to have that morning cup of tea or to smoke that bi-hourly cigarette, millions of Muslims round the world forsake their desires for a higher purpose.
One Billion Hungry People?…So What?
There are more than one billion people who live below the poverty line. But you’ve already heard that. In fact, I’ve personally heard this fact so many times that now I’m completely desensitized. Reading about hungry people is one thing, experiencing the pain that a hungry child feels, the dryness of a parched mouth that a thirsty man goes through day after day is an experience that no statistic can provide. Ramadhan brings to surface a renewed compassion for the less-priveleged thereby explaining the fact that it’s in Ramadhan that charity is at one’s highest levels.
Ramadhan…the Feast for the Soul
The Islamic fast, is not just giving up of food and drink. But it’s a more conscious effort on renouncing from all evil deeds, evil words and even the strayest of evil thoughts. The act of fasting represents total surrender of man’s will and being down to his last whim. Under such a state one so naturally reflects on universal questions, “Where have we come from? Why are we here? Where am I going? After all, what’s the purpose of my life?” Ramadhan is the spark that lights the soul ablaze and dawn’s the realisation that man is not an amalgamation of various organs. There are deeper dimensions to man than his material being. Infact his body is merely a vehicle, a lowly steed meant to carrying the master (his soul) from one level of consciousness to the Higher one.
Ramadhan is indeed a great blessing. It jolts us awake from our rat-race. It thrusts in our face the true yet ever-elusive perspective of our lives. And almost by default transforms us to beings more worthy of Him.
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may gain Taqwa (God Consciousness).” – Quran: Chapter 2, Verse 183.