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The Importance of Giving in Ramadan

24 September, 2007

By Idris Rawfiq


Those who are not Muslim could not possibly imagine the joy that Muslims feel as Ramadan approaches. If you have ever been to the cinema, for example, and seen a really good film, you know just how difficult it is to describe how good the film was to someone who has not seen it. Talking about Ramadan is a bit like that. No amount of words can describe how important Ramadan is or the blessings and the benefits we, as Muslims, take from it. No words can describe how good it feels to complete a day's fast or the joy and the feeling of festivity when the day's fasting is over.

 Learning Self-restraint

Someone remarked that fasting for a couple of days is all it takes is to understand the suffering of those who go without food as a normal part of life, so why do Muslims need to fast for a whole month? They were quite right about understanding the plight of the poor, but if that is all they think Ramadan is about, they miss the point.

Muslims fast because Almighty Allah has commanded them to do so. In the Qur'an, we read,[ O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.]Al-Baqarah 2:183

As Muslims, we fast for the sake of Allah. Even amid the feasting and the celebrating, we should never forget this.

It is very sad that many who are not Muslim see an altogether different side to Islam. As Muslims, we need to be very careful about the example we give and about how people perceive what we are doing. Even though we look forward to the approach of Ramadan for months, many who are not Muslim see only people who are even more bad-tempered because they are not smoking, traffic that is even worse because every one is trying to get home at the same time to break the fast, or shops and businesses that operate at less than full strength because people went to bed too late the night before and couldn't get to work on time. What a shame if this is the only example we give to others.

How much better it would be if we could let others see the sweet and beautiful message of Islam by the way we celebrate Ramadan this year. As we prepare for Ramadan and as the days of Ramadan slowly pass by, we need to be asking ourselves all the time how we are going to benefit from the holy month. What are we going to do to make the most of Ramadan?

Realistic Goals

 It is very important to set ourselves realizable goals and not to set our sights so high that we fail to achieve them. For example, if we are not all that faithful to Prayer during the course of the year, it is unrealistic to expect that we will pray the five daily Prayers as well as Tarawih Prayers in the mosque and that we will get up during the last third of the night to pray as our Prophet did (peace and blessings be upon him). If we don't usually spend too much time reciting the Qur'an, it is unrealistic to expect that we can recite the whole of the Qur'an during Ramadan. In other words, be realistic in the goals you set yourself.

One sure way we can all benefit from Ramadan is to give more. What do we mean by this? Well, we can give more of our time to Allah and to others; in so doing, we can understand and take to heart what Ramadan and Islam is all about.

Ramadan is the month in the Islamic calendar when our holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) first received the revelation of the Qur'an from Jibril (Angel Gabriel). For the rest of the Prophet's life, Jibril visited him during Ramadan, and they recited the whole of the Qur'an together. In the last Ramadan before the Prophet died, they recited the whole of the Qur'an together twice. For our own part, then, we can spend at least some extra time during Ramadan reciting the Qur'an and studying its meaning. In giving up some of our time, we give time to Allah. The result, in sha' Allah, is that by the end of Ramadan, we will have come closer to Allah.

For Muslims, Ramadan is also the special month of du`aa' (supplication). During the day, while we are fasting, we make prayers and invocations to Allah to remind us that it is for His sake that we fast. The Ramadan fast is neither a diet nor a punishment. We do it gladly for Allah's sake. Many Muslims try during Ramadan to attend the special Tarawih Prayers in the mosque every evening. By doing so, they will have heard the whole Qur'an recited during the month. Giving such time to Prayer, then, is another way of giving our time and our hearts to Allah.

Ways of Celebrating Ramadan

Fasting from sunrise to sunset not only teaches us to control our unruly bodies, making them aware that we control them rather than the other way around, but it also helps us to think of others who are less fortunate than ourselves, and it teaches us to give thanks to Allah for all the blessings we have that we so often take for granted. When the Adhan calls each day for the Sunset Prayer, telling us all that the day's fast is over, there are many in the world whose fast will not end. In fact, many thousands will starve to death because they have no food.

So not only giving our time to Allah, but also giving our time, talents, and material goods to others is a way of celebrating Ramadan. It really costs us very little to give out of our plenty to those who have nothing. By doing so in Ramadan, we learn to thank Allah for all the good things we have. We can join together with our friends, for example, and help the needy. Through the mosque, we can start planning ahead, before the month begins, and think of ways in which we can together help people. In the Canadian city of Toronto, for example, Muslims there have given out food every day in the city center to those who need it. Other Muslims run special soup kitchens or visit the homeless during Ramadan. What a great way that is of showing the world how much Muslims care for their world and all those in it. What a great way that is of dispelling all those misconceptions and myths that people have about Islam.

Giving, then, is central to what Ramadan is about. We give time to Allah and to others. In doing so, we not only heap down blessings on ourselves, in sha' Allah , but we also tell the world about Islam and we bring light and hope into the lives of many people who have none. Islam is the natural religion. Many in the world know nothing about Islam, except for the images of violence they see on TV. By the way we celebrate our holy month, we can show a world thirsting for Allah that Muslims are not the sabre-rattling fanatics they are portrayed as, but as people who have submitted their lives to Allah. By our giving for Allah's sake, we can teach the world how beautiful Islam really is. Maybe our giving will also, in sha' Allah, help us to be better Muslims all the year.

Reader Comments:

Progressive Muslim startup in Ramadan

Every religion has fasting.Closest to Islamic fasting is Bahaullah march 2 -20 fasting after age 15 sunrise to sun set without smoking without food water. Buddhist monks and nuns commonly do not eat each day after the noon meal via asceticism Vajrayana practic amid eight precepts. Lenten fast observed in Anglicanism is a forty day partial fast. Moses fasted for forty days and forty nights while he was on the mountain with God King Jehosaphat proclaimed a fast throughout Judah for victory .The prophet Joel called for a fast to avert the judgement of God Mordechai fasted due to the Haman. Queen Esther declared a three-day fast for all the Jews. Jesus also warned against fasting to gain favor from men .For Orthodox Christians, there are four fasting seasons Nativity Fast, Great Lent, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast. With Wednesdays and Fridays as fast days (year round). Those desiring to receive Holy Communion keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before.Coptic Orthodox Church fish is not allowed during Lent , Wednesdays, Fridays and Baramon days. In Protestantism, the continental Reformers criticized fasting as a purely external observance . Lutheran churches encourage fasting during lent For Roman Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one's intake of food to one full meal Catholics voluntarily fast and abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Catholics must also observe the Eucharistic Fast. Latter-day Saint fasting is total abstinence from food and water. Adherents are encouraged to fast totally for two consecutive meal times once a month first Sunday of the monthSome Hindus fast on certain days of the month such as Ekadasi or Purnima karvachod .Thursday fasting is very common among the [[Hindu. Fasting for 9 days of Navratri is occurs twice a year . Karwa Chauth is a form of fasting where married women undertake a fast for the well-being of their husbands. In Islam 30 days fasting in Ramadan is Mandatory.Ramadan Has signifficance.Ramadan comes with Travih to finish to recite memorized Quran verses which has not been altered in 1428 years of islamic History This comes after last prayer when the shafq light is gone from the sky. There is One night of Inventory which is better than a thousand month.Muslim fasting is something different with above combo when Quran was revealed (As a Islam startup) .Muslim Months constitute 1 Muharaam2 Safar 3Rabi al awwal4 Rabial Thani5 Jumada al awwal 6Jamada al thani 7Rajab 8shaban 9Ramadan 10Shawwal 11Zul Qaddah12 Zul Hijjah.Have a happy Ramadan Fasting.It is time Muslim Men and Women become competitive and take part in the world events (including Soccer)Do not become Cult of Islam i.e. all prayer hijab and no play.There is no compulsion in Religion.Do not let Hijabi Burqa or Donatation Rhetoric persons stops you becoming competitive in line with other nation.

Z Billo, Canada - 24 September, 2007

Day time fasting

Day time fasting is bad for human being. Our physical cycle is tuned with solar system and every day we fast for 10-12 hours during night. That is sufficient. The animals and birds with fully developed digestive system, has a food cycle and that generaly starts at day time(...for those who see at day. For Jackal, Owl, Bat etc...which can see only at night, it starts at sunset). Eating is the primary way to gain energy and recover from damages. Prolonged fasting can cause damage to stomach and inadequate drinking can damage kidney.

Nikus, Hungary - 24 September, 2007

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