The Month of the Quran
Let's return to this Book of practical guidance
RAMADAN BY PROF G R MALIK
About fasting Allah (SWT) says O you who believe fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you inculcate in you the virtue of God-consciousness. (2:183)
That fasting was a religious practice which formed a component of all revealed religions implies that it is of essential importance as a means to attain to the condition taqwa – fear and love of Allah and an intense desire to achieve His pleasure. It was therefore necessary to fix a particular period for fasting. Why was Ramadan chosen for this purpose? The Quranic reply to this question is that the month of Ramadan was chosen for this because it is the month in which the last message of Divine guidance was revealed to mankind through Muhammad (sal allahu alihi wasallam). This occurred on an incomparably decisive and valuable night which falls in the last part of this month:
Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down which is guidance to mankind and contains clear signs of guidance and distinction between right and wrong (2:185).
Revelation is the greatest gift of Allah to mankind. Just as rain and sunshine and the cradle of the earth, the source of all means of sustenance for man, are necessary for his biological survival, Divine guidance is indispensable for his spiritual and moral life. The best way to express one’s gratitude for this greatest of favours is to create in oneself the ability to put the guidance into practice. The Quranic ayah quoted above says, in conclusion, that fasting was prescribed so that,you glorify Allah for having guided you and that you express your thankfulness.
In Semitic and non-Semitic religious traditions alike, fasting has always been practised as an expression of gratitude for Divine favours. Even in individual life one takes recourse to this practice when a cherished aspiration is fulfilled. For long centuries the Jews have been observing fast on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). According to the Bible, Moses received the second set of Ten Commandments on this day. His return from 40 days of instruction and the reception of the Commandments coincided with the atonement of the Israelites for the worship of the Golden Calf; hence the nomenclature of the day. But fasting was prescribed on this day as a sign of gratitude for Divine guidance in the form of the Commandments. When the Prophet (SAW) migrated to Madinah he found the Jews there observing fast on 10 Muharram. Being told that this was done to express thankfulness for Allah having saved them on this day by drowning the Pharaoh, the Prophet remarked: “we too shall observe fast on 9 and 10 Muharram or 10 and 11 Muharram for this purpose as Moses is as respectable to us as any other Messenger of Allah.”
In conformity with this time-hallowed religious tradition, the Ramadan fasting was prescribed as a sign of gratitude for the revelation of the Quran. Among the various appellations used for the month by the Prophet (SAW) is that of ‘the month of the Quran’ (shahr al-Quran). Absorption in the Quran is always a hallmark of a believer’s life but the month of Ramadan is wholly dedicated to it. Sahih al-Bhukhari reports that the angel, Gabriel (Jibreel alihi al-salam), used to listen to the recitation of the holy Quran by the Prophet (SAW) in every Ramadan and during the last Ramadan of the Prophet’s earthly sojourn, he heard the whole of it twice from him. That is why arrangements are made – even in this phase of our decadence – to listen to the Quran in the salat al-taravih. The need of the hour is that the believers should return to the Quran as the Book of practical guidance with which their destiny has been linked for ever.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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