Ramadān: In Garbs beyond Fasting.

Ramadān is here to make nigh God’s mercy.

Few nights ago, Muslims around the world ushered in the blessed month of Ramadān, the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, with a rush of excitement which had built up for about a year. The month is essentially the time Muslims fulfill the 4th pillar of Islam which is fasting. However, what happens in this month is beyond holding one’s self from food, and drink over a number of hours every day for 29 or 30days. It is the time devoted believers; vagabonds, and those who have strayed from their creator return en masse like never before. Even, those who had sold themselves to hedonism find their paths.

The compelling Godly ambiance of Ramadān begins, with the sighting of the crescent. And, the long night prayer Tarāwīh(often called Ashamu by Yorubas in Southwest Nigeria) immediately follows, and precedes the commencement of fasting. The fasting begins with Sahuur, a predawn meal taken before the breaking of the dawn. It basically ends with iftar- breaking of fast which occurs at sunset.

Fasting is obligatory upon every Muslim

Fasting is obligatory upon every Muslim who has reached puberty. However, the old; the ill; the traveler; the woman during her period or postpartum bleeding, and others are all exempted. Further, apart from fasting, other acts of worship, especially charity are characteristic features of this glorious month. Muslims rarely break their fast individually as, they host themselves in mosques, or their homes. Also, Muslims who have reached the financial threshold for Zakah, the third pillar of Islam, usually give it out this period to multiply their rewards.

Ramadān is the month of the Qur’an

The Qur’an is a central, and an integral part of Islam. This is evident in it being undisputably the most memorized, and the most widely recited book on earth. Its importance in Ramadān increases in folds as, Ramadān is the month of the Qur’an. The Qur’an was first revealed in this month. Muslims connect with the Quran more in this month through recitation, reflection, memorization, and revision for those who have memorized it completely or memorized some parts. Most strive to recite the Qur’an from cover to cover at least once, even if they do not engage in this in other times of the year.

One should however note that, fasting goes beyond refraining from eating; drinking; sexual relations from dawn till sunset. It also involves holding one’s self from evils, vices, and crimes. Others should be free from the harms of our tongues, and the mischiefs of our hands.

Eidul-Fitr and Zakatul-fitr

The month reaches its climax with the sighting of the crescent. Muslims count Ramadān to complete thirty days if the crescent is not sighted. Muslims, in the last ten days of Ramadān engage in more acts of worship. They also seek the night better than a thousand months. Some consecrate themselves in mosque throughout this period. Those who are affluent engage in lesser hajj(Umrah). Eidul-fitr is marked a day after the crescent is sighted or a day after the counting of Ramadān is completed. On the days preceding, or on the morning of Eidul-fitr, Muslims give mandatory alms, usually food items to the needy, and the poor. This is Zakatul-fitr.

So that they may increase in piety

In essence, God legislated fasting for the believers so that they may increase in piety, and also for spiritual uplift. As such, Muslims should exhibit the noble, and virtuous spirit of Islam through kindness, and acts of charity. There is no doubt that, there is no better time to increase in acts of goodness than this time. God rewards acts of goodness in Ramadān in manifolds.

We wish our Muslim brethren, Ramadān Mubārak.

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