Ramadan Message 2014/1435 AH
- Created on Sunday, 29 June 2014
Image by RizviGrafiks
A guest post from Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal, a friend of the Forum
As-salaam-aleikum and Peace
The blessed month of Ramadan begins for British Muslims on Sunday 29th June. This is a time eagerly awaited and welcomed, something many non-Muslims don’t always understand. What possible “joy” can there be in rising at 2.00am, eating breakfast, praying, going back to sleep on a heavy stomach and then not eating or drinking for the next 19 hours? And I suppose if you put it like that we sound a bit crazy – right? Especially when you think that those 19 hours are not spent sleeping or lounging around the house. Our normal day to day activities continue. We still have to work, go to school, jump in and out of trains, tubes and taxis, attend meetings, sit exams, see patients, mark papers, the list goes on.
One of my nephews when little used to tell people he was fasting and he had ‘kept’ his fast in the fridge, like it was something very special, a secret, just for him and no one else. For every individual that’s exactly what it is, a special secret, a covenant between me and my God. No one really knows other than Him if I am fasting and in fact no one else needs to know. We fast not to keep our parents or neighbours happy, but for the special covenant that exists between us and us alone.
Ramadan is a time of intense spiritual fulfilment. It is not about going hungry and thirsty. It is a time for personal reflection, self-control, self-development and taking lessons learnt during the month into the routine of our daily lives outside of Ramadan. It is about being patient, kind, caring and compassionate.“Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you,that you may attain God consciousness." (Surah 2, Al-Baqarah, v.183)
There are many verses in the Quran and traditions from the Hadith extolling the virtues of fasting and these compel all Muslims to ensure they reap the full benefits of the month. The Messenger of God (pbuh) said,"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are openedand the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." (Bukhari).
Over the next thirty days we will pray harder, remembering those in need and we will give more in charity to support those who have little. This Ramadan remember in your prayers those who are no longer with us in this world and pray their sins and our sins are forgiven. Remember in your prayers those who are ill, who are in distress, who are elderly and infirm and have no one to care from them. Remember in your prayers those who are suffering in lands torn apart by conflict. Remember in your prayers those whose homes have been destroyed and their loved ones taken from them. Remember in your prayers the orphan, the widow, the homeless, the hungry. And pray that their hardship is eased and their suffering alleviated.
Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal MBE DL
If any of you (non-Muslims) would like to experience a little of Ramadan this year then you may be interested in ‘The Big Iftar’. This initiative, is creating opportunities for non-Muslims to take part in iftars (the meal at the end of each day’s fasting, at around 9 p.m.), this could include following Muslim fasting practice, i.e. not eating or drinking from very earlyin the morning until it is time to break the fast.
Last year's Ramadan Greeting