Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.— Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 185. Translation by Abdullah Yusufali
The Month of Ramadhan
By Syed Rizwan Rizvi, Imām of Masjid-e-Ali (as)
April twenty fourth will mark the beginning of 9th Lunar month in the Islamic Calendar known as Ramaḍān. It is the month when Muslims worldwide embark on a month long fasting journey to spiritually connect with their Lord. It is stated in the Holy Qurʾān: “The month of Ramaḍān is the month in which the Qurʾān was revealed; a guide for the people, the most authoritative of all guidance and a criteria to discern right from wrong. Anyone of you who knows that the month of Ramaḍān has begun, he must start to fast. Those who are sick or on a journey have to fast the same number of days at another time, as God does not want to impose any hardship upon you. He wants you to have comfort so that you may complete the fast…” [Al-Qurʾān 2:185]
The word Ramaḍān has appeared in holy book once and it’s the only month which is mentioned by its name in Qurʾān. Ramaḍān’s literal meaning is, to burn away something without any ash or smoke. Therefore, the reason behind naming it Ramaḍān could be that our sins are burned away during this month without us realizing it. Qurʾān was also revealed in this month on the night of Power (Qadr), which is one of the last ten odd nights. Prophet Muḥammad (pbuh) mentioned in a narration that all the divine scriptures were revealed in this month.
Chapter two verse 183 in Qurʾān reads; “O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).” Fasting is not a new phenomenon rather it existed in other divine religions preceding Islam. Both Christians and Jewish faiths adhere to fasting. There are many benefits that can be attained from fasting, both physical and spiritual. Ramaḍān is a month of giving and helping, Muslims provide food to their friends and neighbors throughout the month. By fasting we can better comprehend the situation of millions of people who are starving to death and it gives us new perspective on sharing and consuming wisely.
The month of Ramaḍān is expected to end on May 24th, followed with grand celebration feast known as Eid al-Fiṭr (the festival of nature).