We are once again blessed with the Honorable month of Ramadan. A month for renewing our Imaan (faith), strengthening our willpower and seeking Taubah (forgiveness), a unique opportunity to strengthen the bond of love with our Creator, through fasting, recitation of Holy Quran, Nawafil Salaah and through acts of charity.
People approach Ramadan in different ways. Ramadan means different things to different people.
Some people (first group) view Ramadan as a period of expressing their undying love for the Beloved. For them, Ramadan is a valuable, precious and rare occasion. They spend all their time doing good, convinced that the reward of each act is multiplied manifold. Patience, sympathy and generosity beautify the demeanour. They guard their tongues and remain preoccupied in chanting Laa ilaha illallah (there is no god but Allah), seeking forgiveness, begging for Jannah (Paradise) and seeking protection from Jahannam (Hellfire).
They are driven by the words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) that say: "The fish in the sea, seek forgiveness for them until they break their fast. Everyday Allah (SWT) decorates Jannah for them and says to it: The time is near when my faithful servants shall cast the great trials (of the world) and come to you ... On the last night of Ramadan they are forgiven ..." (Ahmad)
Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir (as) said: "O Jabir! One who happens to have the month of Ramadan and he fasts in that month and worships Allah (SWT) for a part of night, guards his tongue and private parts, saves his eyes from what is prohibited and does not hurt anyone, his sins would be wiped off like the day when he was born from the womb of his mother." Jabir said, "May I be sacrificed, what an excellent tradition it is!" Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir (as) replied, "(Also) see its conditions, which are difficult."
There are others (second group) who 'welcome' Ramadan with sighs of reluctance. To them Ramadan is an unfair imposition, a month of deprivation and hardship. They grudgingly keep fast and drag themselves to the Masjid for the Salaah (prayer). Their concept of fasting is limited to physical abstention of food, drink and marital relationship with wife. They spend their time in gossip, watching TV and wasting their nights parked at cafe corners and restaurants. They are hardly ever stirred to Tilawah, Zikr and Dua, nor are they careful of their Salaah. They are not ever inclined towards Khairat (Charity), nor are they careful of their Ibadah (Worship). Their goal in Ramadan is to prepare for Eid ul Fitr (Feast).
The words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) aptly describes their spiritless endeavours: "Many are the ones who fast attaining nothing by such fasting except hunger and many perform Salaah by night attaining nothing by it except the discomfort of staying awake." (Ibn Majah)
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) further stated that: "Allah (SWT) does not require the discarding food and drink of the person who fasts but does not refrain from bad speech and action." (Sahih Bukhari)
There is yet a third group who is hardly ever moved by Ramadan. They neither read Salaah nor fast. They continue living recklessly in sin. They neither have the will or the time to make any sort of change in their daily routines, as per injunctions of the Shariah.
The following words of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) should serve as a grim reminder to them: Jibreel (alaihis salaam) appeared before me and said: "Woe to him who found the blessed month of Ramadan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness." Upon that I said: Ameen." (Sahih Bukhari)
Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) also said: "Whoever does not fast for even one day in Ramadan, without a valid excuse, shall never be able to repay that day even if he fasts for the rest of his life." (Ahmad)
Ramadan is a sacred training school which after completion of one month course gives result to each believer, to evaluate his position. Ramadan is a sacred training School where a believer learns how to recharge ones spiritual batteries to gain ones provision for the Akhirah (Hereafter). If one can not attain advantage from this month then when will he do so?
It is a noted fact that after each Ramadan, on Ramadan Eid holidays many people indulge in immoral, shameless and indecent activities of enjoyment, which Shariah condemns. People revert to entertainment of music, forbidden films and women displaying their beautification etc.
They spend lavishly on gambling and profligacy, and consider it as a part of joy of the festival. Involvement of the Muslims in such nefarious activities is the major cause of humiliation and fall of Muslim Power worldwide. When non Muslims observe the ugly life style of Muslims they enjoy, and support them. Ramadan ends with Eid ul Fitr but the deeds and actions displayed during Ramadan should serve as facilitator which should be followed throughout the next year. Eid is a bliss occasion of Islam which has no concern with the festivities of other faiths.
Brothers and sisters in Islam! Fear Allah (SWT) and beware of wasting your life away in futile activities. Make use of your time by being positive and constructive, for it is by doing so you can achieve the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
This may well be your last Ramadan Kareem, your last opportunity to benefit from the special blessings and forgiveness that accompanies this holy month. Know that Ramadan is a manifestation of Allah's (SWT) bountiful blessings on His slaves. Use it as a turning point in your life; a time for transformation towards a better way of life; a change from the ignominy of sins to the glory of obedience; from weakness and laziness to strength and vigour; from bad customs and detestable habits to righteousness and upright conduct.
Perhaps it may be our last Ramadan Kareem, our last opportunity to benefit from the special blessings and forgiveness that accompanies this holy month, for who knows we may be there or not to receive the blessings next year.