My Opinion On Ramadan - Poem by Nasarudheen.P. Parameswaran
The very Arabic word Ramadan means "to burn down". The rites of this holy month burns down our desires for food, for wealth and for sex. We struggle for those three things and feel that satisfying those needs are our goal in life. Lord Buddha has advised us to burn our desires. Prof.T.S.Eliot, in his masterpiece, 'The Waste Land' refers this in the part "Fire Sermon". Ramdan (Ramlvan) is the month in which the first verse of the Holy Qur'an (Read in the name of Allah who created you from something sticky like leech-sperm plus ovum-zygote-.96: 1) was revealed to Prophet Mohammad(pbuh) . And this revelation continued as and when the Prophet needed clarifications on an issue. These Qur'anic verses are to guide people who read it and think of its implied sense. Qur'an tells us to read the verses and think of them (2: 44; 54: 17,22,32,40; and Qur'an contains guidelines to those who understand it (12: 111) . We must "chew" and "digest" the verses for our success in this world and the other world.
The best quality the Holy Qur'an insists is "Patience". Abstaining from desires and refraining from evils at times irritate us. Patience is half of the faith("eeman" of Muslims) . So, we suffer and control our mind to comply with the directions of God: Allah. the only Protector of you and me whom we shall worship This is the right path.(Qur'an,3: 51) . Surely, Allah is with the people of patience, (Qur'an,2: 153) ."Scoffers set a city aflame, but wise men turn away wrath", (the Bible, proverbs,29: 8) ."He who has no ill-will to any being, who is friendly and compassionate, free from egoism and self-sense, even-minded in pain and pleasure and patient…is My devotee is dear to Me"(Bhagavat Gita,12: 13-14) .Patience is the prime force of peace in all religions.
Creations shall obey the Creator. All creatures are Robots, in the modern sense, that shall obey the commands of their Designer. Our souls are from the Universal Soul to which we(souls) are to return.(Qur'an,2: 156) . Life contrary to it will be in trouble as that of a kite or a plane that lost ground control. The holy Bible refers to this relation of Soul and soul to branches and stem of a vine. As served and dried branch cannot flower and bear fruit a man served from God cannot prosper with peace.. Bhagavat Gita tells this relation with a metaphor of a machine. God in the form of Soul(life force or vitality) is in our body and forces our organs to act mechanically.(Gita,18: 61) .
As we are of soul and body (spirit and clay) , we have spiritual(eternal-other worldly-) and bodily(physical-this worldly-decaying) existence. All religions, therefore, teach us to love, serve, do good to all and be compassionate. Virtues will be rewarded by happiness and the vice will be punished. We are free to opt our way of life and enjoy or suffer accordingly. Semitic religious people(guided by Prophets) are descendants / followers of Shem one of the sons of Prophet Noah(R) .In this line was born Prophet Ibrahim(R) whose Monotheism is the approved concept in Islam. Muslims are told to follow the path of Ibrahim(R) . His thought was logical. He surrendered his will to the will of God, the Creator. Whether Semitic or non-semitic (Aryan or non Aryan-Chinese or Japanese) the basic concepts for social relations and happiness are the same: rites may differ. So, Qur'an tells that ones faith in Monotheism and virtues acts are that matters; not their religions(people may be Muslims., Christians, Jews or Sabis who follow Astrology etc.: Qur'an,2: 62 and 5: 69) .
Fasting is a common method used in religions. Moses(Moosa(R) had forty days and nights fasting on mountain before getting "Ten Commandments", (Bible.Exodus,24: 18): Jesus(Essa(R) had forty days and nights fasting.(Bible, Matthew,4: 2) . For Muslims fasting during Ramadan is compulsory."O! believers, as directed to former generations, fasting is made compulsory to you for keeping away from vices…. only for a few days…patients and travelers are exempted on condition that they shall compensate later..If pray to me, I will answer. And listen Me, to follow the Right Path" "(Qur'an,2: 183-186) . Fasting in Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.
This fasting helps to purify our thoughts and actions. Zakat- Fitr and other charity activities are performed in this month expecting more rewards from Allah. A sense of sacrifice from our possession is encouraged by this.The Holy Qur'an is read and discussed. Great orators analyze and explain the ayaats(verses) from the Qur'an. People hear good words, do good deeds, and refrain from all wickedness. Even wars are stopped by a truce as we now find in Syria.
Physically fasting reduces fat deposits in our body and over weight or Obesity is cut down by controlled diet. Fiber fruits and nuts or corns are mainly preferred during Ramadan. Dates, banana, wheat or rice take the place of fatty food. Bad habits like smoking, using hot-drinks or drugs are gradually eliminated. Thus by prayer, mind is purified and body by healthy food. We know or must know that the stimulants have no nutritious value. Those items that make us addicts to certain consumer goods are unhealthy and in future they make us acute and chronic patients. Even animals do not take food when they are ill/sick.Bees or bacteria will not take poisoned (even permissive dose as preservatives) food items like bakery or fruit. In Naturopathy, fasting is a common method of treatment. Therefore, this religious practice of fasting is profitable in either ways.
Prayers during the fasting and meditating on them will refine our thoughts and words and they together will expand our world view. When we feel that we all are creatures of One Almighty, and thus are equals, we will accept others rights without hurting the "Other". Equality and freedom will boost our progress. There will not be any communal competitions or rivalry for conversions. If God wished He could make us all one community; but did not do so to see which group emulates through the right path.So In Islam there is no compulsion in believing a path.(The Qur'qn,2: 256) . Faith is optional.
We will also understand the futility of Identity politics in a society of Oneness.. We understand that we are of One Ummah (Ekatma Manavat) : all are of the same Soul having needs and aspiration of the same sort. Allah tells us to co-operate patiently; not to fight. Vices must be removed by virtues. War is the last resort as we find in Badr War. After thirteen years of suffering in Makkah, Muslims fled to Madina seeking peaceful life.But Quraishi business interests and their fanaticism did not allow them to live as Muslims there too.Hence, the Badr War occurred.Enemies were defeated and a nation was established by an agreement 'Madina Charter'signed by Prophet Mohammad (pbh) and the Madina natives.It is a model charter of political aspirations of a democratic one relevant even today and applicable in a country like India having plural society. Ramadan gives us this positive perception for a peaceful democratic life. This state of life in co-operation and understanding with the other communities give us Islam(Social Peace) .
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