Mystic Mantra: The month of piety

DECCAN CHRONICLE | SADIA DEHLVI
Published Jun 19, 2015, 11:23 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 8:06 pm IST
A man offering Namaz at Burah Masjid on the eve of holy month of Ramadan (Photo: PTI)
 A man offering Namaz at Burah Masjid on the eve of holy month of Ramadan (Photo: PTI)

The blessed month of Ramzan is a time for fasting, prayer and reflection. It is a time when devout Muslims, the world over, fast from dawn to sunset in obedience to God’s command. The Quran tell us that it was revealed as guidance and mercy to humanity in Ramzan. In a sense, this entire month is a celebration of the Quran and God’s mercy.

Prophet Muhammad said, “When the month of Ramzan begins, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained”. Ramzan is the best time of the year to ask for God’s blessings and seek repentance for one’s wrongdoings. Allah says in the Quran, “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.” The practice of fasting has a shared history in almost all sacred traditions. Fasting is a legacy of prophets, sages and mystics, and it accrues innumerable outer and inner benefits.

Fasting strengthens our will power as we struggle to rise above our lower desires. Hunger is the most basic of urges and those who consciously deny themselves food for certain prescribed hours, elevate their mind. To make a fast acceptable to God a person has to abstain not just from food, but from abuse, backbiting, gossip and any other negative behaviour. Prophet Mohammad said, “If anyone does not refrain from lies and misconduct; then Allah has no need for him to abstain from food and drink”. He also warned against raising one’s voice, quarrelling, insulting someone and harbouring negative thoughts about anyone. It is said that a true fast includes the fast of the eyes, limbs, ears and tongue.

Due to its hidden nature, fasting has no ostentation; no showing off for one can pretend to fast, but only God knows if you are really fasting. That is why,
God says, “Fasting is for Me and it is I who give reward for it.” Fasting is a silent worship between the Lord and his servant. It is amongst the most beloved of all deeds to Allah. Fasting increases one’s God consciousness, for every moment, the devout know that God is watching them. Besides becoming mindful of God and the hereafter, the thirst and hunger during the month of Ramzan inspires the fortunate to think of those who remain hungry throughout the year due to poverty. This awareness is aimed at making us charitable to the poor. Ramzan is a time to look inwards, polish the heart and make resolutions to remain conscious of our actions, thoughts and God every moment of our lives.

Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam. She can be contacted at sadiafeedback@gmail.com

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