Farewell to Ramadan – lessons to remember
University Chaplain, Abdul Hameed, shares his thoughts as we look forward to Eid
The month of Ramadan is almost over and we are looking forward to an amazing festival of Eid ul Fitr. The holy month of Ramadan, once again has taught us the amazing lessons through which we can live best of our lives in this world and can deserve for great reward from God in the hereafter. Through observing the fasts of this holiest month, we have definitely increased in our faith in God obedience to Him. As we have been fasting from dawn to dusk as a practice of self-discipline and remembrance of those who do not have a regular source of food and water. Thus we try our best to share as much as we can. During Ramadan, alongside sustaining from food, water and sexual contact during daylight hours, we Muslims are also expected to be increasingly mindful of our behaviour and speech and often engage in extra charitable giving and nightly prayers such as Taraweeh and Tahajjud.
Despite the month of Ramadan is being incredibly important for the Muslim community, it has offered a lot to the interfaith community. Here are some lessons that all human beings can learn from regardless of faith, race, creed and region.
Fasting and self-restrain
The concept of self-restraining is universal and considered as a great means of a healthy life. We may be diverse as a nation but the concept of fasting as an exercise of self-restraint is familiar to us all, whatever our belief system. For example, many Christians dedicate themselves to self-sacrifice for Lent or may fast throughout the year. In the Jewish tradition, there are also a number of fasting days including Yum Kippur, whilst Hindus, Buddhists and members of the Baha’i faith also fast as part of their belief system.
Outside of religious practice however, Sikhs, agnostics, atheists – all of us in fact – practice self-sacrifice and self-restraint in some form.
A widely-circulated research finding pointed out that fasting for as little as three days could have wondrous effects on the immune system. The researchers who undertook the study found that the fasting allowed stem cells to start pumping out brand new white blood cells, to reinforce and strengthen the immune system.
Life is a test
According to Islamic concept of life is that what God has stated in the holy Qur’an;
[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deeds (actions)(67:2)
I can challenge that no human being could exist on this planet who is not facing different challenges in the life. Or has a life which only carries happiness and no sad times and that includes all, man and woman, king and slave, rich and poor, young and old and so on.
Of course, fasting isn’t easy but it is very good for us because God has prescribed upon us. And it’s a great source of attaining piety.
So, whether we’re struggling with the long hours, the heat, craving sugar or our regular daily diet, we have our own personal challenges. Ramadan teaches us that we will encounter challenges. It’s normal. However, Ramadan also shows us all that with difficulty comes ease. We receive great spiritual, emotional and physical benefits and whatever the challenges: we can cope.
Tolerance and Ramadan
How do you really feel when you are fasting and the fridge is full different things such as juices, drinks foods etc. but you don’t extend your hand to open the fridge and try to drink because you know that you are fasting. You have patience. This is not merely patience but also promise of tremendous reward from God because you are fasting for Him. On the hand you may be controlling your diet, refraining from eating and drinking but that’s not linked with the reward from God.
Through fasting, we learn that we may need many things in our life but patience is more important than those things. A study has shown that those that have patience in their lives are much happier, content and have lessor regrets. Patience has very positive effects on human body and soul. So, patience is something we all need including people of all faith and none.
Today we all are facing either physical or spiritual challenges. Fasting is a great source to handle those challenges in the life.
Fasting teaches us ‘sharing’
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said that the provision of a believer is increased during the month of Ramadan. Those who observe fasting, have experienced how provision is increased during this month. People share more during the month of Ramadan as compare to other part of the year. Many of our neighbours could feel the blessings of Ramadan when we share food with them.
Ramadan in a diverse society
As more and more people of other faith and none are becoming familiar with Ramadan, I have come across with some individuals of other faith who observe some days of fasting if not all and feel very beneficial.
For last few years, we are in the process of educating our staff/students that how Ramadan is important for Muslim students how staff can help them in their lectures and exams.
People who observing fasting during the month of Ramadan also have support at their work places in terms of finishing their day early of people who are dealing with physical work have less hard work to complete their fasting day easily.
From all of us at the University of Wolverhampton, a very happy Eid to all students and staff celebrating.
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