Uploaded on 11 May 2020
Most Significant Period
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
From the first part of this series I have tried to explain the body and soul relationship of Islam and Ramadhan.Such significant events took place in the month that changed the courses of history and turned the world’s weakest faith group (in terms of numbers and resources) into a fast-growing super power ready to replace the eastern Roman Empire and the Persian Empire, the super powers of the time.
All this did not happen because of the military prowess of Muslims, who were still relatively weak, but because of the help of Allah. Muslims could very well understand it.
On the most significant level, we have to keep in mind that the Quran came to earth from its abode in this month, bringing with it every guidance the Prophet (PBUH) and his Ummah would need to lead a straight life that will fill it with meaning and substance, and take the believer to heaven after death.
The Battle of Badr that changed everything for the persecuted Muslims and the power equation of Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madina Munawwarah—the power, arrogance and dominance of anti-Islam Makkan elite and the humble and muttaqi Muslims led by the Prophet (PBUH) in Madina Munawwarah. It was a classic battle that established Allah’s rule replacing that of money, muscle power, tribal quarrels and that of man-made gods.
This turn of events stopped the loathed wide-spread burial of girls, the giving and taking of bribeand interest that pauperised the masses and fattened the elite usurers. The Prophet’s (PBUH) Hajj, which came soon after and was his first and last, he announced the establishment of a new order, abolishing all prevailing evil and laying the foundation of a society (that overtime became a faith community of 1.75 billion people across the globe, according to PEW Research).
Islam faced enemy challenge and Muslims every atrocity even after that in several other areas and continue to do so. However, with Allah’s help they overcame every atrocity till some time in late 16th century CE, mainly because they failed to hold on to Allah’s rope firmly and together. This sloth made them backward, gradually, in all sciences and arts, military technology, diplomacy.Their social organisation could not be put on a new footing according to the demand of the age.
By that time industrial economy emerged in West giving them dominance over the Muslim world.
The Phoenix rises from its ashes?
As discussed above, an agriculture-based empire, depending on land resource (from crops for domestic use and indigo, spices, raw cotton, dry fruits and other such products for exports) cannot compete with an industrial economy even in the low-tech value chain in the vast range of economic and military advantages of the later.
However, the point to emphasise here is that Islam did not go away in the late 16th century. Even Muslim civilisation was thriving spectacularly for centuries later in India, Iran, Turkey and much of the world.
Then a nearly global movement to revive Islamic values of faith, practices, education began to take hold and is thriving today. It is not a military programme, but areligio-cultural programme. It also shows Islam’s Phoenix was never burnt to ashes, but was and is living and growing. The Phoenix as a metaphor is not applicable here.
Upto here, right after our reference to Badr that came in Ramadhan and led to unpredented rise in Islam’s growth and expansion. The passages in between are to contextualise everything, not unnecessary bombast.
Coming back to the third ashrah, let us keep in mind that it is the culmination of all gains of the last two ashrahs. The Prophet (PBUH) got completely absorbed in ibadaat, and sleeping much less than needed.
A dominant opinion about our “decline” is that it has come primarily from our neglect of Islamic faith and practices. This month reminds us of the great guiding influence of the Quran. Read and practise it now to be able to benefit from it forever: Keep the practice for the next 11 months and rest of your life. Establish the habit in this ashrah.
The Prophet (PBUH) explained the Quranic text which promises that in this month comes a night, Lailatul Qadr (the night of power) that is “better than a 1,000 months” (over 80 years),when Allah’s ibadat brings the value of 80 years. The Prophet (PBUH) asked us to seek it in the odd nights of this ashrah (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th). Ofcourse, the night before Eid is significant.
So go ahead full blast. Don’t hold anything back. Secure every benefit of the period. Some of the Eid’s features are given at the end of the second article. Add to it the fitrah, a small token payment to the deprived to make them able to share the festivity. Every country decides the exact amount according to its own economic condition. Find it out and pay.
Keep the Islamic spirit for the rest of the year and life. Happy Eid!