‘We must be immensely grateful that we are alive to witness the great blessings of this blessed month of Ramadan’, writes Imam Dr Rashied Omar
We praise and give thanks to Allah, the Lord of Compassion, for once again honoring us to witness and experience the manifold blessings of the sacred month of Ramadan. We pray that during this holy month of Ramadan the Grace and Blessings of Allah will flow throughout the Muslim Ummah and will rejuvenate its deepest sources of life and action.
In addition to the well-known goal and general aim of fasting is to develop God-Consciousness (taqwa) – another important goal of fasting in Ramadan is to inculcate and develop the quality and spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving (Qur’an 2:185). Allah wants you to complete the prescribed number of fasting days of Ramadan and that you extol and glorify God for having guided you, and that perhaps you may render thanks and gratitude unto Him.”
In Ramadan 2020 we especially give thanks and are grateful that the Covid-19 pandemic is receding and ask Allah, the Lord of Healing, to liberate us from its harmful effects.
Gratitude (shukr) is one of the most important and noble concepts of Islam and should adorn the life of a conscientious Muslim. But it is important also for us to be aware that consonant with the tenor of the message of the Qur’an, developing a disposition and spirit of gratitude does not happen and occur automatically just because we are conforming to the external and legal requirements of the prescribed fast.
Fasting creates the conditions for spiritual and moral transformation but it requires an extra effort on our part to achieve its goals. The Glorious Qur’an itself makes this point when it employs the Arabic phrase la’allakum so that perhaps you may acquire taqwa and shukr through fasting.
This understanding is supported by a number of Prophetic Traditions (hadith) of which the following is a useful example. “Allah is not in need of the Fast of someone/ their abandoning of food and drink who does not abandon false speech/ refrain from lying or acting on such lies / or acting according to it”.(Bukhari)
Fasting in Ramadan thus creates the conditions for the development of disposition of gratitude. We need thus to observe our fasts with great care in order to obtain its great spiritual fruits of piety (taqwa) and gratitude (shukr).
We should strive to display our best behavior during Ramadan and patiently go about our daily chores while increasing acts of kindness and generosity.
At this sacred time of Ramadan, when we are cautiously optimistic that we may be reaching the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are immensely grateful that we are alive to witness the great blessings of this month. Let us reflect, internalize and act upon the painful but timeless lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic by continuing to strive to turn our homes into sanctuaries of worship and solace while appreaciating the fact that we are now able to pray in congregation at our masajid.
Let us keep in our supplications all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19, those who are still ill, and those who continue to face hardships due to food insecurity and loss of incomes.
We once again acknowledge and are grateful to the many health professionals and essential workers within our country and the world who continue to unselfishly serve on the frontline of the fight to save lives and relieve human suffering. We pray that our experience of Ramadan 2022 will be the best ever.
Ramadan Karim wa Mubarak!