Imam W. Deen Muhammad
With the name Allah, Most Gracious, Most Compassionate; Peace and Blessings upon Muhammad the last and Universal Messenger.
Dear Readers, As-Salaam-Alaikum:
The month of Ramadan gives us an opportunity to improve upon our total life in terms of nurturing the best human sensitivities.
My school-day professor once explained to us during one of his classes that in the fast, a Muslim of comfortable means learns to identify with the poor in their need for daily food.
What our starving souls are missing now in the overstuffed society comes in the healing blessings of the Muslim fast month. Too many of us are starving for a sense of order in our lives — order is a product of prolonged discipline.
OUR FAST IS a 30-day involvement in a disciplining to restrain unchecked appetites or passions.
Too many people in the society are suffering because of the absence of a sense of community direction in their lives. Reading the Quran daily to complete the whole of the Book in the month of Ramadan, a month of 29 or 30 days, greatly raises in us the appreciation for order and direction in our individual, family and community lives.
Too many put the head of human concerns under the boot of self-promoting schemes. The fast month is a very strong medicine for this problem in modern society.
MANY OF US are working to earn dollars simply to impress others or simply for material show. The human concern, the family concerns, the community concerns must be kept alive and this fast month is a strong medicine.
The fast will make us aware of the collective need — for those who are aware, it will improve that awareness — and bring more of us to work for the common good, for the common well-being.
It will bring more of us away from the self struggle to run, tackle and bring down other small competitors like ourselves in the spirit of blind self-promotion.
The market's consumer spirit is domestically blind, humanly blind, socially blind. When we go to the markets where products are sold we find people buying with almost a compulsion to buy.
The month of fast will tame these wild urges triggered in us by the market spirit and will serve to bring us to a better sense of family, community and personal needs.
Ramadan is a month that brings us into concentrated effort to please Allah, as the Quran says, fasting is for Me — that is, fasting is for Allah.
The one who fasts with a sincere intent, fasting the fast of the Muslim, finds Allah turning toward him, assisting him.
The one who fasts is loved so by Allah that it is said that the breath of the fasting person is like fine perfume before Allah.
FASTING WORKS to restrain fired up appetites of the survival need or of the pleasure need. There are many who become victims of their appetites while having their survival threatened, but there are more who become victims of their appetites under the pressure to keep feeding their pleasure needs.
Allah has prescribed fasting in the month of Ramadan for our benefit. One who fasts during the month responds to Allah's instructions in the Quran, and in so doing becomes more obedient and finds that the pleasure of Allah grows more and more as the dominant factor in one's life.
Our fast must not be merely an exercise in willpower; it should be also an exercise fueled by thankfulness, by love of Allah, and love of His Messenger - - by faith, by an acceptance of one's own dependency in creation.
Allah the Most High says in Quran: think not that your creation is a bigger creation than the creation of the Heavens and Earth.
WE GIVE great thanks to Allah for the gift of the Quran, and for the gift of the Messenger to whom that Quran was revealed (PBUH). It is only with the guidance of Allah that we are able to resist our own fires and resist being made ashes — ashes without life, ashes without form, order or stability.
Allah the Most High says in the Quran: "Ye who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint. Fasting for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number should be made up from days later. For those who can do it with hardship is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more of his own free will, it is better for him; and it is better for you that you fast if you only knew."
IT IS CLEAR that fasting has so many direct benefits to the individual of heightening moral consciousness, heightening community sensitivities,
community benefits, that come to the community because God has penalized believers who are able to take the fast but fail. We know that Allah has said in the Quran that one of the options for the one who does not make the fast or missed some of the days is to feed the less fortunate, the poor.
Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Quran as a guide to mankind, also clear signs for guidance and judgment between right and wrong.
"So everyone of you who is present at his home during that month should spend it in fasting. But if anyone is ill or on a journey the prescribed period shall be made up by days later. Allah intends every facility for you. He does not want to put you to difficulties. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you, and perchance ye shall be grateful."
These Divine words of revelation are in the 185th verse of the second chapter, called Al Baqara.
WE ALL SHOULD feel the need to express thanks or gratitude, no matter what our circumstances are, no matter what situation we may find ourselves in; no one is too poor or too miserable to be thankful for something they have received or have been given.
The month bf fast is the month in which Muslims find themselves with a heightened sense of appreciation for the goodness of Allah and for the goodness that He has provided through our close relations and also through non-relatives with whom we have had an association.
RAMADAN IS a time for deep reflection and for concentrated devotion in prayers, in the reading of Quran, and in the remembrance of Allah for all of His graces and bounties that He has created and opened to humanity.
Allah Most High says in Quran as instruction to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): "Say, if you do love Allah follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. For Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful."
WE PRAY that during this month of fast our appreciation and our love of Allah and his Messenger will grow bigger, and that we will come to love each other with more sincere love.
Each year we enter the fast, we realize an improved atmosphere in the masjid and wherever we go in the company of believers. We look forward to a successful, dignified and blessed experience. We wish everyone who is participating, the blessing of Ramadan, and blessed and joyful Eid.