The Greatness of Ramadaan

The Islamic perspective is that we, as people, are composed of both body and soul or matter and spirit. We are also considered to be both the viceregent of Allah on earth (khalifatullah) and his servants (‘ibaadullah). As viceregents we are ordered to perfect our earthly existence whether it be in our private, domestic, social, economic or political lives. As servants of Allah we are ordered to perfect our spiritual existence. Taqwa circumscribes both these conditions. In other words, and as alluded to earlier, it means to observe our duty towards Allahu Ta’aala in all our social and communal relations (towards Muslims and non-Muslims alike); and in our spiritual relations towards Allahu Ta’aala Himself. This is a difficult task and one of the means that Allah has given us to attain this level is the fast. But, and typical of Quranic “pragmatism”, there are no false promises. In the Arabic the emphasis is quite clearly on the phrase “l’allakum” (“so that you may” or “perhaps”). The means to Taqwa, through the great institution of fasting, have been placed at our disposal. It is up to us to use, misuse, or even ignore the means. This condition is encapsulated in the following Prophetic saying : “For those who do not refrain from lying or acting on such lies, Allah has no need of their abandoning their food and drink” (Bukhari).

Taqwa can further be realized through three opportunities provided for us by the fast:

The disciplining of the will (tarbiyat ul-Iradah)

The purification of the self (tazkiyat un-Nafs)

The purification of the soul (tasfiyat ur-Ruh)

Allah says at the conclusion of the verse initially quoted: ” That He wants you to complete the prescribed period (of fasting) so that you are able to magnify the greatness of Allah for His having guided you, and so that – perchance – you may be thankful” (2 : 185).

The greatness of Ramadaan therefore lies in the opportunity it offers for the development of Taqwa – a virtue that allows us to truly participate in that great cosmic celebration in honor of the revelation of the Quran as a Huda to all people, which is, as mentioned earlier, Ramadaan itself. It is a virtue furthermore, that allows us to magnify Allah Ta’aala as He ought to be magnified, namely, with complete awareness of our earthly duties and spiritual vocation; and, therefore, to be of those who are truly thankful to Allah. It is a virtue too, which is ultimately celebrated in the Quran itself, for Allah says: ” The best of you are those who have learnt Taqwa” (49 : 13).

© As-Sunna Foundation of America & The Muslim Magazine

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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