Ramadan, as explained in the Qur’an, is the most important month of all and is therefore incredibly important in Islam. Indeed, the Holy Qur’an was sent down to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1,400 years ago during this month. God commanded all Muslims to fast during this month, and Muslims all around the world, from Canada to Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Europe, observe this religious duty with great enthusiasm and zeal.
Although Ramadan is a time of joy and happiness and Muslims fast with great exuberance, the real reason why fasting makes Muslims happy is because through this practice, they can once again show their love for God. The mere fact that God commanded fasting is enough for a believer to fast with great happiness.
However, our Lord, all-Merciful and Most-Merciful, hid many blessings in the act of fasting, that makes this practice even more blessed.
During this month, believers gain merits all day and night as fasting is obligatory for all believers. We are informed in the verses that Muslims are commanded to fast — except in the case of sickness or for travelers: “You who have faith! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you — so that hopefully you will have piety.” (Qur’an, 2:183)
“…(Fast) for a specified number of days. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days. For those who are able to fast, their fidya is to feed the poor. And if someone does good of his own accord, it is better for him. But that you should fast is better for you, if you only knew.” (Qur’an, 2:184)
The health benefits of fasting are a widely known subject that I’ve discussed previously in my articles. However, fasting also has profound spiritual benefits as well. During Ramadan, believers work to purify their souls of impurities like anger and impatience. They compete with each other to achieve the best moral qualities. However, being pious, virtuous, selfless and loving require wisdom and willpower, fortitude and depth, and fasting is instrumental in attaining all these examples of righteousness.
The month of Ramadan is a blessed one when the body and soul make many sacrifices and Muslims complete this beautiful month with great gains. For instance, they work to fortify bonds of brotherhood by preparing fine iftar (breaking of the fast) meals and inviting people from all sections of society. During these dinners, it is important that God is much remembered and given thanks to.
By increasing love and devotion for God in people’s hearts like this, believers hope to gain God’s pleasure. Praying five times a day, fasting and giving alms are all compulsory obligations. Believers perform these acts of worship throughout their lives, but their moral virtues and deep faith even add more value to these practices.
The essence of the faith lies in the sincerity of one’s soul. This sincerity means approaching the whole universe with a heart full of love; it means refraining from gossiping or speaking unkindly, from being enslaved by the lower self, from being unkind and always calling others them to goodness and beauty.
Such moral qualities are hard to achieve and that’s why virtuous people are hard to come by. During this month, our brothers should take this opportunity to attend each other’s iftar meals, making no discrimination on the basis of sect or community, and must welcome one another kindly, with love for God, affection and tenderness.
All Muslims believe in the same God, the same Prophet (peace be upon him) and the same Book. We all prostrate ourselves before God. We also all want the whole world to find peace. The best way to achieve this is to unite, to cling tightly together and to be brothers, as revealed by God: “God loves those who fight in His Way in ranks like well-built walls.” (Qur’an, 61:4)
“Hold fast to the rope of God all together, and do not separate. Remember God’s blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing. You were on the very brink of a pit of the Fire and He rescued you from it. In this way, God makes His Signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be guided.” (Qur’an, 3:103)
Adnan Oktar's piece on Arab News & News Rescue: