۱۷ اردیبهشت ۱۴۰۰ | May 7, 2021
Ramadan is not just an outward ritual of fasting. Its deeper meaning is to look into the soul and become mindful of God

There are exemptions for the sick and elderly, travelers, pregnant women and those who are nursing, allowing them to make up for the missed days in other months. Those who cannot fast due to a permanent illness or old age can pay expiation by feeding one poor person for each missed day.

Hawzah News Agency - Ramadan is the most sacred month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims around the world fast during this month — April 13 to May 12 this year — from dawn to sunset, neither eating nor drinking during this period. They break their fast at sunset with a meal called Iftar (literally, “breaking of fast”).

All adult Muslims in good physical health are required to fast. There are exemptions for the sick and elderly, travellers, pregnant women and those who are nursing, allowing them to make up for the missed days in other months. Those who cannot fast due to a permanent illness or old age can pay expiation by feeding one poor person for each missed day.

But Ramadan is not just an outward ritual of refraining from food or drink for a certain period of time. It has a deeper, inner meaning: looking inward into the soul and becoming mindful of God. It is truly the spiritual aspect that it seeks to revive.

People have a tendency to lose sight of their inner selves once they become subsumed in the material world.

The rat race to climb high up the ladder for position, wealth and power obscures the ability of humans to search for a higher purpose that makes them conscious of the ethical and moral values of life — mainly compassion, mercy and humility.

Compassion and mercy for those who are poor and needy, the sick and the orphans, the most marginalized segments of society — helping them with utmost humility and generosity is not some kind of favour, but part of our duty to serve fellow humanity.

It is in this month that the Holy Qur’an was revealed. The first word of revelation, “Recite,” invites humans to attain both spiritual and worldly knowledge. It is a month of deeply contemplating one’s relationship with God, supererogatory prayers and additional charity. It is a time for the deep study of the Qur’an, taking wisdom from it.

The word “Ramadan” comes from the Arabic word Ramd, which means “to burn.” Thus, fasting in this holy month is a means to burn away all kinds of sins and sinful thoughts. It is the purification of the body and mind from that which leads it away from its true objectives of attaining an impeccable character. It is like the rain that washes away the dirt from your body and cleanses it from all impurities.

Fasting is one of the five Pillars of Islam (the fundamental rules all Muslims follow) and seeks to challenge the physical and spiritual aspects of the person to help them attain noble character. It puts the person to an enduring test — the test of controlling hunger and other desires, so they may learn how to discipline themselves and turn into a better human being.

Above all, it makes a person think about the purpose of their very existence.

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