The Elements of Ramadan
Edited and compiled by Faddy Shaheen
I seek refuge in Allah from the evils of the casted saytan.
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ هُدًۭى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍۢ فَعِدَّةٌۭ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ بِكُمُ ٱلْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ ٱلْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا۟ ٱلْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَىٰكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ﴿١٨٥﴾ وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا۟ لِى وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِى لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful. (185) And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. (186)
May peace and blessings be upon you,
I invite you to join me in deepening our knowledge and understanding regarding Ramadan and sharing this information with our loved ones. After careful research and analysis, I have gathered some of the fundamental aspects of Ramadan that, if observed properly, can bring us to ultimate peace from Allah. Now, abstaining from food and water is a part of Ramadan, but it is a lot more than just refraining from eating and drinking. Many other practices should also be followed and deepened to fulfill oneself, one’s community and Allah’s satisfaction.
Spiritual and Moral Elements
When reflecting on Ramadan, it is important to understand that it is a unique opportunity for Muslims to experience deep spiritual growth. Many believe that the most crucial elements of Ramadan are the spiritual and moral components of Islam. For all the sacrifice and love that Allah gave us, it is so important that we use this time to see fasting as an act of true obedience to Allah and submitting to him out of love and admiration. It is through our obedience to him that the holiness of Ramadan is celebrated. It demonstrates that Allah is the only Lord overall and through His benevolence we are granted life and sustenance. It is through this obedience to him that the holiness of Ramadan is celebrated.
Fasting during Ramadan is seen to atone for our errors and mistakes. In surrendering to Allah’s love we are also surrendering to all of the love around us. The Prophet Muhammad said, “Whoever fasts (the month of) Ramadan based on faith and seeking the pleasure of Allah, his past wrongdoings are forgiven.” Through abstaining worldly pleasures we can feel the gratitude for forgiveness and appreciate the divine gifts that Allah has bestowed upon us with his love and forgiveness.
Fasting is believed to cultivate piety and fear of Allah in the believer out of love and respect. When a muslim decides to fast from unlawful food, drink and sexual activities, their mind, body and soul start to live in balance with each other. Many recent studies have shown that fasting provides an effective tool for self-improvement and growth because it teaches Muslims discipline. The practice of fasting helps Muslims exercise control over their urges while developing a deep spiritual awareness.
Along with discipline, Ramadan also encourages and teaches patience and perseverance. It’s important that we take spiritual breaks from the go-go mentality of life and Ramadan provides us with a refreshing break from everyday life and allows us to adjust in the face of change. In giving us Ramadan, Allah has also gifted us with inner peace, contentment and optimism. Furthermore, Ramadan encourages discipline and teaches patience and perseverance, resulting in feelings of moral accomplishment. Ultimately, it is a remarkable period that allows for spiritual growth and reflection for betterment as a whole: oneself and community.
When we are operating from a place of peace we are more prone to attract togetherness and community. Therefore, it is no surprise that fasting during Ramadan also brings Muslims together in a spirit of unity and camaraderie. This also opens the door to create a deep sense of belonging for people who come from different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders or even socio-economic classes. Through fasting, we all can develop empathy towards those who experience more deprivation and are less fortunate than us. As I said earlier, fasting grows us spiritually and leads us to spiritual activities such as Quranic study and prayer which is another way to bring in community by socializing in a brotherly atmosphere. Thus, Ramadan can be seen as a month of unity, equality, sympathy and sociability.
Physical and Medical Elements
A lot of research has been documented regarding therapeutic and health advantages of fasting. Such as, removing detrimental fatty substances from the bloodstream, assisting with healing certain types of digestive issues and restoring body tissues. Nevertheless, if a person's condition is made worse by not eating then they are exempt from fasting. Not only has there been a lot of research on fasting published by Muslims but also from non-Muslim researchers. It’s been said that breaking a habit takes about ninety days and fasting can be used as a great tool to speed up this process. Anyone who struggles with smoking, excessive eating or any bad habits can benefit deeply from this practice by using discipline and control. In some ways, fasting is an annual physical, mental and spiritual reset for the body.
All in all, Ramadan is a month of spiritual reflection and growth. Throughout this month, I hope we use this time to renew and cleanse our spirit and in this cleanse. I hope we can come closer to Allah and gain a greater understanding of our true purpose and meaning in life. In this reflection, we can connect with Allah, contemplate their blessings, and show gratitude by giving back to the community. As we are guided by the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, and may all Muslims find spiritual fulfillment while also building strength and unity among family and friends. May this special month bring blessings upon all who partake in it!