I pray that you and your loved ones remain safe and are in the best state of health and faith. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Muslim community on the upcoming spiritual journey of Ramadan. The Holy Quran highlights the importance of fasting during Ramadan and speaks about its goals in the following terms:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَعَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (183)﴾ البقرة
“O you who believe! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you so that you might remain conscious of God” (2:183)
Ramadan is not only about abstaining from food and drink or intimate relation, but it is also about reflecting on our spiritual relationship with Allah and with those around us. It aims to instill in us empathy towards our fellow human beings, in addition to a sense of mindfulness, and self-control. By fasting and avoiding wrongdoing, we learn to control our actions, thoughts, and desires.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encapsulated the significance of Ramadan for Muslims when he congratulated his companions, saying:
“أَتَاكُمْ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ، شَهْرٌ مُبَارَكٌ فَرَضَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ صِيَامَهُ، تُفْتَحُ فِيهِ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَتُغْلَقُ فِيهِ أَبْوَابُ الْجَحِيمِ، وَتُغَلُّ فِيهِ مرَدَةُ الشَّيَاطِينِ، لِلَّهِ فِيهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ مَنْ حُرِمَ خَيْرَهَا فَقَدْ حُرِمَ”
“Ramadan has come to you, it is a blessed month which Allah has ordained for you to fast. During it, the gates of heaven are opened, while the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious Shaytans are chained. Within it, there is a night for Allah which is better than a thousand months, whoever is deprived of its blessings is indeed deprived.”
Ramadan is a month of compassion; it reminds us of the discomfort of hunger and compels us to feel some of the plights of those who around us do not have enough to satisfy their hunger. With the arrival of Ramadan, let us race toward goodness and compassion toward others.
There are numerous doors to goodness, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, such as removing harm from the middle of the road, helping those in need, maintaining family ties, and checking on family and friends. Even a simple smile carries the weight of a good deed.
Finally, let us be mindful that Ramadan is not only about improving our relationship with Allah, but also about improving our relationships with our fellow human beings. So, let us strive, this year, to achieve a level of fasting that is higher than just abstaining from food, drink, and intimate relations. Let us focus our thoughts on Allah and try our best to keep our ears, eyes, tongue, hands, and feet away from wrongdoings during the days and nights of Ramadan.
Ramadan Kareem and as-salamu alaykum.