Column: Ramadhan Islamic Month Of Fasting

June 22, 2017

[Written by Shabnam Jheengoor]

Few weeks ago, Muslims welcomed the month of Ramadhan, the Islamic month of fasting. During this very special month, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, abstaining from all food and drink.

The Holy Quran states:

“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may guard against evil” [Holy Quran 2:184].

The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad explained the purpose of fasting in the following words:

“Fasting is about forsaking one kind of nourishment [i.e. food] for the other kind of nourishment which is for the soul. Allah [God] opens up ways of guidance and spiritual discernment for those who seek him with truthfulness of heart”.

Ramadhan is a month of sacrifice, which reminds Muslims that to achieve God’s nearness and pleasure, they must be ready to sacrifice all that is dear to them. It also teaches one empathy for those less fortunate in life, who go hungry for days on end.

During Ramadhan, there is an increased emphasis on prayers and recitation of the Holy Quran, charity and helping those in need.

The last ten days of Ramadhan have great significance. During the last ten nights, there is a special night known as ‘Laitul Qadr’ or the Night of Decree where it is believed that God’s Mercy and Forgiveness is at its highest.

It is not known with certainty which of these ten nights is the Night of Decree. Thus, to reap the blessings of this special night, many worshippers spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadhan in the mosque fasting and engaged in prayers. They do not leave the mosque and focus solely on gaining communion with God. This practice is known as ‘Itekaaf’.

Sadly, extremist thoughts and practices have crept into Ramadhan over years. In recent years, instead of calling Muslims to increased devotion to prayers, some so-called Muslim leaders have begun to call Muslims to heightened violence against non-Muslims during this month.

Suffice to say that the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad [peace and blessings of God be upon him] categorically forbid violence and cruelty against the innocents whether they be Muslims or not, at all times and not only during Ramadhan. May the true peaceful teachings of Islam prevail over the distorted and barbaric teachings of these extremists.

Shabnam Jheengoor, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Bermuda


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