Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Essentials of Ramadan.

Essentials of Ramadhan.
Tajuddin Bin Shu’aib
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-ā’lamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.

 Whenever the orbit turns and another month of Ramadhan approaches, happiness and joy return to the Ummah, for which Allah provided two greatest gifts, namely the fasting month of Ramadhan and the revelation of Al Qur'an.

Fasting is an eloquent expression of Allah, leading this Ummah to the gates of His mercy, a key to unlocking the mysteries of His nearness. While humanity is divided on the basic elements of the notion of the Creator, a Muslim is far ahead of the rest of the world in this field and traveling at the speed of light to the neighborhood of the Throne of the Creator.

Where else would you find a discipline that provides direct communication between the servant the Served? Where else would you have an act of 'Ibadah that enriches self-worth, self-strength, self-rebuilding, self discipline and control? Where else would one find a discipline that moves the believer from unauthentic to authentic as the institution of fasting? Where else would you find a discipline that enriches the vital needs of human being, both physical and spiritual? Praise be to Allah!

The institution of Fasting is a unique form of worship prescribed as part of an overall system of Islam. Its uniqueness mirrors the uniqueness of the human being, a creature of physical and spiritual parts whose excellence depends on the right proportion of these two parts. Too much of the physical material will ruin man, and too much of the spiritual will, too.

Fasting orients the observer to the art of balancing the spiritual essentials with physical needs, a vivid proof that there is in all of us the will power, a pivotal element that controls our actions. This will be needed to help us curb the animalistic tendencies originating from the stomach, in full. It makes us forget about our beginning, it awakens the mind and kindles clear thinking and consciousness of Allah. Fasting is the sobering of a mind and reconstruction of our spiritual faculties.

Fasting has instilled in food and beverages a religious legitimacy, as its amount and the hour taken are expressed in terms of deen, and chewing and sipping at proper intervals equals praise and glorification of Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala. It makes the individual ready and primed to meet the Creator. You see, it has never been easy trying to gain access to the nearness of Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala, due to several considerable obstacles obstructing our view, mainly ignorance, multiple images or double vision, passive will power, time, place, culture, upbringing and prejudice. Fortunately, the gates that lead to the nearness of Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala swing both ways with the help of fasting.

Fasting cures the double vision that many people suffer in the realm of spirituality. The inauguration of Fasting eliminates the middleman, a spiritual broker, an insidious opinion held by some that a believer can only gain access to nearness to Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala through another, who is endowed with superpowers to reach Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala more easily. No, indeed, Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala is ineffable yet approachable. It is the sum and scope of Allah's Ibadah that clarifies all the acts of Ibadah including Solāt.

Fasting renders the magnificent and beautiful idea of Tawhid of Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala there is no deity but Allah, and Muhammad (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) being His Messenger, into an effective power charge, a potent and effective concept for focusing and organizing one's world view and epitomizing the religious and psychological orientation of the believer.

On the other hand, Ramadhan was the host month for the inauguration of the final revelation, Al-Qur’an Al-‘Azeem. Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala bestowed this book upon humanity through His Messenger Muhammad bin `Abdullah. The reading of Al-Qur’an has been mandated by its Author, Allah himself, for the believers all the time, more so in the month of Ramadhan, as this is reported from the Messenger.

Muslims past and present have always mixed fasting with reading of Al-Qur’an. Perhaps the reason for this is that one of the objectives of Ibis (syaitan) is to hinder the believer from reading Al-Qur’an. But during Ramadhan, Syaitan he is hindered from tempting the believer- for Al-Qur’an avails the reader a cherished privilege of directly conversing with the Creator of the Universe.

Indeed, the spiritual training during the month of Ramadhan cannot be complete without a great deal of reading of the Book of Allah. This divine Book deals with the questions of total life: creed, moral instructions, administration of warnings, giving good news, lessons from historical events, interpretation of the material and natural phenomenon, inviting humanity to their Maker, and admonishing the unbelievers. Al-Qur’an is an exposition on the spiritual as well as physical doctrine in which every verse and sentence has an intimate bearing on the other verse and sentence.

Ramadhan affords a believer an opportunity to cross-reference his entire life with the reading of Al-Qur’an; and anyone who observes this practice during Ramadhan has a better chance of graduating to a higher level of faith.

Ramadan is enjoined to the third pillar of Islam, Zakat, is the basic Fiqh on Alms-giving. This is an opportunity that should not be lost on eligible Zakat payers: to mix Ramadan with mandatory gift giving so as to carry on the commands of Allāh, Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala and to combat greed of an affluent person and to help needy meet his essential needs, and thus build a bond of strong relationship in the Ummah.

The fundamental rules and laws on the Fiqh of Fasting, based on Al-Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger  (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) essential to assist the reader in observing this special Ibadah of worship, as well as the traditionally related duties and obligations as mentioned earlier, Zakat and the reading of Al-Qur’an. All praise is to Allah the Most High in the beginning and in the end.



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