The Blessed Month of Ramadan and its Prerequisites
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Oh, you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness” [Quran, 2:183]
Islam categorizes the month of Ramadan as sacred, contemplative, and full of kindness and positivity. Muslims are given one dedicated month (Ramadan) to reflect on their deeds and try to become the best version of themselves. This Holy month is not just about fasting; fasting is just one of the many aspects. It opens many avenues to seek refuge under the guidance of Allah and repent for all the sins committed knowingly or unknowingly. We, the Ummah, are blessed with the gift of Ramadan to scrutinize our actions and also to correct them in the light of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. The Merciful Allah proliferates each of our good deeds manifolds and gets a hold of the Shai’tan to help us benefit from the Holy month of Ramadan boundlessly. The glory of Allah is painstakingly larger than life, which is always in favor of the Ummah. This month is also known for kindness and generosity as the believers open their hearts to needy people in the form of obligatory charity (zakat) and voluntary charity (sadqa).
The month of Ramadan is also the month of the Qur’an as the Holy Qur’an was first sent to humankind in this pious month; therefore, the fundamental tenets of the Holy Qur’an that reflect peace, tranquility, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness are highlighted during Ramadan. Undoubtedly, Islam is the religion of peace, harmony, progress, prosperity and empathy. The Almighty has ordained each one of us to follow the path of righteousness, where no one has the ability to harm other human beings. Allah has also showcased the magnificence of mercy and kindness in the Holy Qur'an that Muslims are decreed to follow enthusiastically. Unfortunately, the humane approach of Islam has been overlooked and manipulated to give certain labels and name-callings. Currently, we are dealing with one of the worst outbreaks of Islamophobic attacks globally. The practice of religion-based violence against the marginalised sections is perpetual and at an all-time high rate. Atrocities on a day-to-day basis have crossed all limits, and each day, we wake up to the unfortunate news of attacks perpetrated by bigoted and fanatical power and authority who try each day to break down unity and harmony amongst people belonging to different communities and hierarchies of society.
Observing and acknowledging the recent developments in this light, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare March 15 as International anti-Islamophobia Day. Also, recently, a message delivered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deserves to be applauded for acknowledging the contribution of Muslim Canadians to Canadian society and for rejecting the widespread practice of Islamophobia globally. His efforts as a world leader are appreciated for taking up this pertinent issue that is ruining the sense of community across the globe. This courageous step should be followed by every world leader, taking a cue from his message to remind themselves of the bias and prejudice happening against the marginalized section in general and the Muslim community in particular across the world. It is steps like these that could help reduce intolerance, injustice and parochialism in our societies. It is about time the world leaders come forward and raise their concern over targeted attacks on religious, racial, and gender minorities. Each human is born with dignity, autonomy, and free will that they are entitled to for the rest of their lives. World leaders like him could take some positive steps to construct a world sans bias, prejudice, and discrimination against any community, class, caste, religion, or gender.
Indeed, the month of Ramadan promotes peace, compassion, and generosity. The month of Ramadan should be seen as a once in a year opportunity to mend our ways and be closer to Allah and to the book of Allah.