The blessed month of Ramadhan is just around the corner and in a few days time Muslims throughout the world will be given this excellent opportunity to get closer to Allah through their acts of devotion and worship. The month provides a great opportunity to undergo a period of fasting, reflection, devotion, charity and sacrifice of comforts. Here are some simple yet important reminders:
- One of the key benefits of fasting is the sympathy that is generated through remaining hungry and thirsty throughout the day. The pain of this discomfort softens the heart, and allows us to think about those less fortunate, those who have to feel the pangs of hunger and thirst on a daily basis.
- The fast also helps us to appreciate the bounties of Allah upon us, and this should prompt us to thank Him for His kindness and His sustenance.
- The Holy Prophet has greatly emphasised charity in this month. This develops a feeling of generosity and good-will toward others.
- The fast encourages a degree of self-control and vigilance. A Muslim should therefore be more self-aware, and should practice good manners, good speech, and good habits.
- The fast can also be an opportunity to change lifestyle habits for a healthier lifestyle, particularly with regards to unhealthy food and smoking. Ramadhan is an ideal time to try and give up some of these bad habits.
- Through our excellent communal institutions and Jamaat programmes, we must try and strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, and acquire unity throughout the community.
- Reflect over the words and character of Amirul Mu’mineen, Imam Ali (as). In the last moments of his life, he advised his children, and indeed all others that come across his words, to:
Ø Observe taqwa (piety) and persevere against the lures of this world.
Ø ‘Oppose the oppressor and to support the oppressed’. Our brothers and sisters in places such as Pakistan, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria, are being brutally oppressed. We must support them through our prayers, charitable donations, and by speaking out against these crimes against humanity.
Ø Forgive one another; Imam says, ‘I heard your grandfather, peace be upon him, say: “Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting.”’
Ø Attend to the needs of orphans.
Ø Remain attached to the Qur’an and take great pride in its attention and implementation. The Qur’an is the key factor of this holy month, and should be read, understood and reflected upon.
Ø Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. This month, with its increased blessings and mercy, should be a time of forgiveness and achieving unity throughout the community.
Ø We must speak out and stand against all forms of tyranny and oppression. Members of all faiths, especially Shia Muslims, are being targeted on a regular basis in routine and indiscriminate killings. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in war-torn countries such as Syria, Bahrain, Iraq and Pakistan.
Dr Asgar G K Moledina
July 2013/Ramadhan 1434
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