Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast. During the blessed month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice, Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking. Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, stay away from bad habits — essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings.
The Arabic word for “fasting” (sawm) literally means “to refrain” – and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words. During Ramadan, every part of the body must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast. Therefore, fasting is not merely physical, but is rather the total commitment of the person’s body and soul to the spirit of the fast.
Ramadan is a time to practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God. Ramadan is a period of fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. The word “Ramadan” comes from the Arabic root word for “parched thirst” and “sun-baked ground.” It is expressive of the hunger and thirst felt by those who spend the month in fasting. As opposed to other holidays, when people often indulge, Ramadan is by nature a time of sacrifice.
• Through fasting, a Muslim experiences hunger and thirst, and sympathizes with those in the world who have little to eat every day. Nowadays people if Africa need not only sympathy, but also actual food by those who experienced hunger.
• Through increased devotion, Muslims feel closer to their Creator, and recognize that everything we have in this life is a blessing from Him.
• Through increased charity, Muslims develop feelings of generosity and good-will toward others. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, “A man’s wealth is never diminished by charity.”
• Through self-control, a Muslim practices good manners, good speech, and good habits.
• Through changing routines, Muslims have a chance to establish more healthy lifestyle habits — particularly with regards to diet and smoking.
• Through family and community gatherings, Muslims strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, in their own communities and throughout the world. • Through restraining themselves from pleasures of the world, muslims realize the values of the blessings of God. There are countless blessings that as human we don’t even realize their values. Sun comes up every morning, and it is free. Air is free water is free. Since we have an easy access to these blessings we don’t really value them. Absence of these blessings makes us realize the value of these blessings.
• Ramazan makes muslims also realize how weak and needy we are before God.
• Ramadan is total submission and obedience to God Almighty. We are experiencing long and hot summer days. At the end of the day, we are really thirsty and hungry. There is water and food on the table. We are in need, but cannot eat. Because, the owner of the blessings does not let us. We are not the owner, God is. And we are waiting for his command to start eating.
• Every Ramadan is a new beginning for Muslims. Like a grate turkish scholar,Fethullah gulen says: “Every sound during Ramadan resonates with a promise of a new start, just as every breath gives us a glimpse of a hope for salvation. Iftar dinners (breaking the fast) appear on our horizon with implications for the “grand meeting,” while whispering some secrets into our soul.” Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims, but the feelings and lessons we experience should stay with us throughout the year. In the Qur’an, Muslims are commanded to fast so that they may “learn self-restraint” (Qur’an 2:183). This restraint and devotion is especially felt during Ramadan, but we all must strive to make the feelings and attitudes stay with us during our “normal” lives. That is the true goal and test of Ramadan. May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path.
May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness, mercy, and peace, and bring us all closer to Him and to each other.
O God, we thank you for the countless blessings that you have bestowed upon us.Especially, for friends whom we are sharing our food today.
O God, you have prescribed fasting to us so that we should realize the value of your blessings, to teach us patience, to accept our weakness and need to you, to discipline our evil soul with hunger, to experience hunger to understand hungry. Now, we have better understanding of those who are suffering with hunger in Africa and all over the world. Do not test us with hunger. Help us to become your embodiment of your mercy to those who need it.
Dear God, bless those who are in need of your blessing as we are blessed today.
God of mercy, we have fasted to seek your pleasure, we believe in you, we have entrusted ourselves to you, and now we are breaking our fast with your food .
Forgive our past and future sins.
Show us the real blessings in afterlife that you let us taste the samples today.
Please do not let us go astray in this life and afterlife.
Ibrahim Sayar, North East Islamic Community Center, 2014