By Imam Sultan Rahman
Ramadan Mubarak! Blessed Holy Month of Ramadan to us all!
In spirit and deed, we join nearly 2 billion Muslims around the Islamic world in the annual fast of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the 9th month of the lunar calendar. We rejoice at its coming and thank Allah (God) for another opportunity to observe the rites of self-purification of the heart, mind, body and spirit for the purpose of self-improvement to better the condition of ourselves and people through self-discipline and seeking to attain nearness to Allah (God).
It is through prescribed self-restraint, during this month, that Allah (God) says He Teaches us how to “guard against evil’ or develop Taqwa—God-consciousness. We are all equal in the Eyes of Allah, except in one way: Our duty, our God-consciousness (Taqwa). It is by our duty that Allah (God) differentiates us in accord to our vigilance of our duty toward Him and our fellow human being.
It is in this month that we are asking for Allah’s help and His mercy. It is mentioned in the Tradition of Muhammad (peace be upon him) that in the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Gates of Allah’s Mercy are opened to the Believer. We see a type of this blessing that comes upon us when we begin our fast. When we begin our fasting, we see it may be a little difficult to get into the swing of the fast, if we have not been preparing ourselves.
Sometimes we may forget we are fasting, especially in those first few days or weeks. We might find ourselves with a mouth full of water during fasting time, two or three days into Ramadan, and in the middle of swallowing and we catch ourselves “Ahhh! My God. I’m fasting.” It is habit that when we are thirsty we drink, hungry we eat, when we want sex, we have sex, and when we want sleep—we sleep. It is this habitual behavior we pick up that makes us continue to drink, eat, have sex, and sleep even when we do not need it.
The Month of Ramadan’s Fast is a habit breaker as it takes about 21 days to break a habit we have a month to break the ego of self. It is a common mistake that we accidently eat or drink something during the Month of Ramadan, without thinking or intentionally doing so. This makes the food or drink taken, considered to be a gift from Allah (Most High). We are granted forgiveness and should continue our fast upon recalling. This is truly a fast of Mercy. However, do not let deceptive intelligence take over and we complete a meal or a full glass of water–all the while thanking Allah (God) for His gifts! (Smile.) This would most definitely break your fast and the day missed would have to be made up. [READ MORE]