The spirit of Ramadan
Syed Badrul Ahsan, Editor-in-Charge, The Asian Age: Ramadan is a season for a reassertion of faith. In a remembrance of the munificence emanating from the Creator, Ramadan enjoins upon all Muslims the sacred need to look into their souls, to ask themselves the question of whether they are fulfilling the responsibilities ordained for them by the Islamic faith.
Such fulfillment comes, not through a display of opulence or a demonstration of the hedonistic or a falling back on the sybaritic, but through a recalling of the original principles upon which the Holy Prophet of Islam informed us of the links between Allah and His Creation. It is through a recapitulation of the humility and simplicity which underlined the life of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) that we understand the significance of belief.
And belief is, again, to remember what humanity is all about, what the essence of living is all about. In fasting, therefore, it is the meaning of endurance coupled with our faith in Allah that matters. Ramadan is not a promise of heaven. Neither is it a pledge of heavenly delights that impels us into abstinence from dawn to dusk. It is more a moral affair, an ethical question if you will.
And morality is of course the thought that the spirit of Ramadan is not to be lost in waste, in gormandizing as it were. The break of fast is that special moment in time when our tiny presence in this wide universe becomes for us a new reason to discover ourselves. Iftar, from that absolutely proper perspective, is therefore an occasion for an unobtrusive demonstration of piety. The power of faith, the essence of belief is not to be had in celebrations of life through such occasions as Iftar parties. Iftar is not a time for politics to be indulged in, for grand displays of affluence. In similar fashion, Ramadan is no excuse for displays of earthly pleasure. Crass commercialism and rude consumerism are precisely the reason why Ramadan happens to be, indeed why religion happens to be — to lead men and women back to belief, to the ways of Allah
In this season of renewed faith in the Creator, of reassertive devotion to the Prophet of Islam, it becomes the task of the faithful to abjure that which militates against the purity of the soul and the largeness of spirit embedded in the heart. It is that time of year when we care especially well for those who have little or nothing, for those whose lives could be made a trifle better than they were last year.
Ramadan, in the end, connects us to the Almighty. When that happens, we remember mortality. All beauty is fleeting. Every path leads to the grave.
And yet, when twilight sets in, there is the Other World, beyond ours. We answer for our deeds there. Ramadan prepares us for that test of religiosity.