“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, guidance for mankind, and clear Proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong).(2:183)”
I am glad to felicitate my heartiest greetings on this auspicious and blessed month of Ramadan, as we are invited to be the guests of Allah swt; He has invited us to a Divine feast and gives us glad tidings of blessings and forgiveness. It is a special season to get closer to Him and to seek His blessings and bounties. He has asked us to seek Him so that we can be among His friends. In this month, Allah opens the gates of Paradise and closes the gates of Hell, and chains up the devils. Such a noble and generous invitation must be accepted with loads of enthusiasm and excitement.
Let us reflect on this verse which depicts the core philosophy of fasting:
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may observe self-restraint (al-Taqwa).” [2:183]
Fasting is a means of attaining piety. It is one of the greatest means of helping a person to fulfil the commands of Islam. Fasting is more than remaining hungry and thirsty for the sake of Allah swt but every part of the body must restrain. The tongue must restrain from backbiting. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast. Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person's body and soul to the spirit of the fast.
Apart from spiritual aspects of fasting, I urge to ponder upon the following socio-economic aspects of it:
Quran: We believe that Quran was revealed in this Holy month. So while we have the practice of the recitation of the entire Quran at least once in this month, simultaneously we look at Quranic values for our personal development and at a larger stage to implement in our community.
Unity: This Holy month is a month of coming closer to each other. Let us leave the difference and pave the path of al Sirat al Mustaqim together. This unity should start from the concept of Silah Rahim in families. After the entire month, we are going to recite in dua of Qunut of Namaz e Eid that Allah (swt) has created Eid for the entire Muslim world. Let us keep that spirit of brotherhood for all the Muslims.
- Relief and Humanitarian Aid: Through fasting, a Muslim also experiences hunger and thirst, and sympathizes with those in the world who have little to eat every day. Through increased devotion, Muslims feel closer to their Creator, and recognize that everything we have in this life is a blessing from Him. So he will hasten to do acts of kindness to them and show compassion towards them. So plan not to attend sumptuous grand Iftar parties but to feel sympathy and pain for humanity who suffers from hunger by having simple Iftar whereas sharing the bread with others in poor countries.
This year as in the past and with generous contributions from donors, The World Federation has increased its allocation for Mahe Ramadhan Relief Fund to more than US $ 1,000,000, providing relief across 25 countries through various local partners. We have to especially look at the situation in the world’s most troubled areas and where due to the current turmoil thousands of people have been displaced form their homes and therefore are in need of maximum support. The situation in IRAQ is one of the biggest concerns where there is a war between ignorance and knowledge. Let us share our prayers and breads with the fellow brothers and sisters in Iraq.
I conclude with the supplication of Imam Sajjad (as) in which he names this Holy month as the month of fasting, the month of submission, the month of purity, the month of putting to test, the month of standing in prayer (Sahifah al Sajjadiyah Dau No. 44)
May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path. May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness, mercy, and peace, and bring us all closer to Him and to each other.
Dr. Asgar Moledina
President, The World Federation of KSIMC