Monday, July 16, 2012

Benefitting from Ramadan

“O believers! Fasting is ordained on you, as it was ordained on those before you, so that perhaps {La’alla] you will grow in Taqwaa.” [Qur’an 2:183]

Once again, we are blessed to experience another Ramadan. The process of Qur’anic revelation started in this month, so obviously Qur’an reading/study and fasting have an intimate connection. The devils are chained up, metaphorically speaking, in this blessed month. Our awareness of Allah, of right and wrong, indeed of our own selves, increases as we decrease our indulgences of eating, drinking and sex. Yet, we have to admit, our goal, to grow in Taqwaa [dedication, awareness of Allah] may not work! This is precisely why the Quranic verse above uses the word “perhaps” [La’alla], and, just as with prayers, we have to stay consistent with fasting.

We are not angels, sinless or fault free. If that was the Divine plan, Allah could have arranged that. However, Allah gives us Ramadan as a chance for cleansing, self-examination and self-improvement. This is why various hadiths speak of the importance of abstaining from backbiting and gossip during Ramadan. It’s a physical fast, looking for spiritual and character results. Family dinners and the like are all to be secondary to the overall goal of fasting, the goal of Taqwaa. May Allah accept our fasting, and may we benefit from it.