Ramadhan: Beyond Fasting

Ramadhan is a month of blessings and mercy as  the doors of hell are closed and devils are chained by Almighty Allah at the outset of this sacred month. Mercy and forgiveness of Allah is for all to receIve. Besides being a month of fasting it holds other significance as well, like Holy Quran, A guidance for mankind, was revealed in this month that is the reason why people do their best to recite Quran in this month.

As mentioned in Hadith, fasting has uncountable rewards. An unpleasant smell coming out of the mouth of a fasting person is dearer to Allah than the smell of Musk! Subhan Allah. Not only this, at the time of iftar Allah promises to fulfil any permissible dua a  fasting person makes as a reward for him.

But the question is: Is Ramadhan limited to starving our bodies by refraining from eating, drinking, & other routine matters?

The answer is a big No. Ramadhan is about nourishing souls with the food they need and that is the remembrance of Allah. Just like we feed our physical bodies with delicious recipes in Ramadhan, we have to feed our souls with delicious duas, dhikr, recitation, obligatory and special prayers. We all have to remember Allah in unique ways; our preferences should change. We should devote more and more time in worship; focus should shift from bodies to soul. Only then we can qualify for promised rewards – mercy and blessings, forgiveness and shield from hell fire.

During this month our dead and withered souls bloom. They get refreshed and hearts automatically fill with joy and tranquility. There is an ecstatic peace as if heart’s deep longing wish has been fulfiled. Ramdhan is to our heart and soul as rain is to a desert. It rejuvenates our religious and spiritual self. Masjids remain full; even those who seldom attend masjids join for prayers with zeal and zest. For average people like me it is an opportunity to offer Tahajud and pray Fajar on time.

By fasting we fetch lot many health benefits: our digestive system improves, we get rid of bad cholesterol and fats, our immunity improves. Not only this fasting leads to psychological benefits as well: we learn self control by refraining from eating, splashing anger, fighting, gossiping and every form of filth.

we develop anger management.

We develop control over addictions like smoking, watching wrong stuff etc.

We become more empathetic and altruistic. We do more charity this month and we become more tolerant of others; we forgive easily.

We develop greater appreciation for the blessings. Even plain water at iftar seems to be a priceless beverage. We realise what it means to be hungry and this makes us more likely to help poor and down trodden.

Ramadhan rejuvenates our social bonds as well. Every home gives a festive look at iftar and sehri time. Whole family eats together and many people invite their friends and relatives for iftar. Many organise iftar party in masjids thereby giving people a great get together.

In the month of Ramadhan we learn a balance between worldly life and hereafter. We remember Allah, we offer prayers on time. We do other forms of worship as well, yet none of our work suffers. No business suffers loss, no student suffers academic loss. This is for us to realise where there is a will there is a way, where there is no will there are excuses. In rest of the months we sometimes skip prayer for silly reasons.

May Allah make us steadfast on matters related to our sould, and turn our hearts to him and make our whole life like that in Ramadhan. May Allah accept our fast and prayers and ease our sufferings.

Author is a research scholar; Dept of psychology university of Kashmir.