“Ramadan is a month of resolutions for spiritual, moral, social and economic growth and development of the Ummah, as it’s divinely designed to rekindle and refine an ideal Muslim lifestyle…” – Sheikh Mustafa Ibn Sulayman.
Every Muslim believes that Ramadan is a month wherein Muslims are guided, trained and reminded on how to live the rest of the months in a year in a fulfilling manner. It teaches us a lot of lessons, such as how to perfect true Islamic spirituality, build good relationship with fellow humans and other creatures, be more compassionate with the less privileged people, promote unity, peace and harmony in our society, be self-disciplined and morally upright, and be conscious about our health and financial lifestyles. These and others make Ramadan a very unique month for Muslims across the globe.
Evidently, Allah (SWT) says in Qur’an chapter 2 verse 185: “The month of Ramadhan in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong….”
According to a report, related by Al-Nasai, from Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with them), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also said: “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylatul-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good has truly been deprived.”
Therefore, some of the lessons that one can get or tap from the holy month of Ramadan are:
- Be spiritually upright
Muslims in Ramadan become more pious and spiritually conscious because they’re commanded by Allah to fast and give zakat to the poor and the needy. They pray more to Allah and deprive themselves from eating or drinking from daybreak till dawn. It gives us an opportunity to rectify ourselves through performing numerous good deeds such as providing food or aid to the needy, improving social interaction, giving charity, sadaqah and zakat, and so on. These deeds, according to Islamic belief, prepare Muslim for better life on earth and the hereafter.
- Be compassionate and accommodating
Ramadan brings mercy to the world — It is in Ramadan Muslims all over the world rekindle the spirit of helping others and spreading happiness all around. Rich and privileged Muslims are divinely mandated to be generous, accommodating and compassionate to the poor and the needy throughout this month.
Prophet (PBUH) said, as reported in Muslim 54: “You will not enter Paradise until you truly believe, and you will not truly believe until you love one another.”
- Promote peace and unity
This month is a shining example of the unity that can be achieved among all classes of people in any society, as the rich and the poor, the employer as well as the employee; the parents as well as the child, the ruler as well as the subjects, all keep fast. Regardless of the colour of their skin or their social stature, fasting unites us all.
- Live a healthy lifestyle
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) provided Muslims with comprehensive guidance on how to fast and what to eat when opening or breaking fasting. For example, he admonished Muslims to break fasting with water, milk, and fruits like dates and figs, oranges, watermelon, etcetera. Also, he provided guidance on the best time to eat and the quantity of food to eat. For instance, he said: “Don’t miss evening meal, even if it happens to be constituted of few dates. Missing of evening meals hasten aging.”
- Be financially prudent
It’s rare to see Muslims in Ramadan spending money on irrelevant things. Instead, they prefer providing basic needs for their family, giving money to charity and feeding orphans, widows/widowers, the poor and the needy. Some use the period to save money as they eat less while fasting during Ramadan.
- Be humble and respectful
Ramadan teaches us to be humble and respectful to one another. Not only do we learn to abstain from food and drink, but we also abstain from making any statements and actions that may cause harm to people or violate their rights. It reminds us how we should conduct ourselves and our behavior towards those around us, while also teaching us the importance of respect.
- Be appreciative, self-disciplined and contented
Ramadan also teaches us to be more pious, disciplined, and self-controlling, while shielding our souls from greed and immorality. Due to access to numerous Islamic lectures and abundant time to digest the content of the Qur’an while fasting in the month of Ramadan, Muslims find it easy to control themselves from eating even though they have money to buy food; from quarrelling even though they have the liberty over what goes in and out of their lives; and even from having sexual affair with their legally married partners even though they have freedom to do so in the private homes. They don’t see nor hear Allah, but they strictly follow His commandment in an attempt to move spiritually closer to Him and get rewarded on earth and in the hereafter. Hence, they appreciate Allah for his mercy on them, obey Him and His Prophet (PBUH) by strictly following the Islamic lay down rules in the Qur’an and Hadith and they try to be contented with what they have and even share from their personal belongings with others who do not have.
- Be productive and hardworking
Muslims in Ramadan are encouraged to use their time judiciously and work hard to rip the fruit of this world and the hereafter. They spend day and night praying to Allah, even while pursuing their personal worldly affairs.
- Be empathetic and considerate to others
Muslims demonstration best of humanitarian character emulated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) throughout the holy month of Ramadan. Every Muslim is commanded to observe fasting to feel how the destitute feel every day of their lives. They are also commanded to give zakat from their wealth to the poor and the needy in other to connect their heart and mind with the less privileged ones around them. It allows us to understand the situation of the less fortunate, to feel and experience the pain of hunger and the pangs of thirst that our poverty-stricken brothers and sisters — who are often forced to go without food and drink — feel every waking day. This also gives them the opportunity to put smiles of faces those who might have lost hopes. Some, in fact, use Ramadan period to help free those in physical and financial bondage like prisoners and debtors respectively.
Moreover, they always boost morale to do more good deeds as admonished and encouraged by the Prophet (PBUH), who was reported, for example, to have said: “Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity.”
- Be hopeful
Ramadan teaches us to never lose hope. This is why Muslims are encouraged to intensify their prayers during the last ten days of Ramadan, as it is believed that it’s within these 10 days a powerful night called Laylatul Qadri (Night of Destiny). Muslims believe that anything requested from Allah that night will automatically be granted by Allah. This gives Muslims hope that their complicated life-story can be changed, no matter what. This is a simple definition of annual rekindling of hope among the Ummah.
But, most importantly, the month teaches us how we can improve our connection with the Almighty. The month of Ramadan also instils a sense of empathy within us.
If we all can take from these above highlighted lessons from Ramadan, I strongly believe that the world will be a better place to live for all of us.