By Muhammad Faiz
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous –[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as the substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew. The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful. Qur’an (2:183-185)
Based on the Quranic verse above, it does show that Ramadan is a month full of blessings. The month is an opportunity for all Muslims to do right things and to avoid wrong things. As we all know, fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Pillars of Islam. Thus, it is deeply important to fully utilise the whole month of Ramadan for the benefits that it may offer. We are not only doing what is commanded by Allah SWT, but we are also abiding by one of the Pillars of Islam.
However, Ramadan is different in terms of its meaning to each Muslim. It is not different in the way it means but it is different on how they welcome Ramadan in their life in every year.
Everyone has his or her own perception on Ramadan. It depends on their own experiences relating to Ramadan. It could be a good experience or it could be a bad experience. In a month, we will get various benefits that Ramadan could offer whether the person actively seeks it or not. It offers a lesson that people often forget in the midst of living the material life. In Islam, we are taught to practise moderation in life.
Besides that, we have two different aspects of life, which is the material life and the spiritual life. Often, believers get too caught up in their material life, they forget about the spiritual aspect and vice versa. Thus, Ramadan offers a chance for believers to balance both of the life aspects.
Huzaifi Zainul, 22 mentioned that Ramadan is the month that allows him to be much closer to Allah SWT as the blessing of Ramadan is greater than 1000 months. Besides that, for him, Ramadan gives the chance to have full focus on building himself in religious matters. He said that Ramadan taught him to be sincere in each of his deeds and strive to be better as Ramadan is promised by Allah SWT to be full of blessings.
“My unforgettable memory in Ramadan is when I was in secondary school. I was chosen to be the bilal in-charge for teraweh the night we had special Imam coming from Gaza. It was an amazing experience as I was lucky to meet him. Unfortunately, my first time meeting him was the last time as he passed away when he was in Palestine,” he added.
Syahidah Lazim, 21, told IIUMToday that Ramadan is the month of purifying souls. She used to think of it as only a month of fasting from eating and drinking, however, as time progresses she realises that this is the only month she is able to focus on performing more ibadah and is consistent on doing it. For her, Ramadan has taught her to be more disciplined as she made a daily routine. She will make sure she recites at least a page of the Quran after prayer and doing rawatib prayer.
“It is all about disciplining myself to be at my very best when I present myself to Him,” she added.
When asked about her experience in Ramadan, she had no special experience during Ramadan. However, she felt excited reciting the Quran during Ramadan because she does not feel bored or tired at all. For her, the excitement reading the Quran and her efforts in finishing it is special for her in Ramadan.
IIUMToday’s very own Azreen Azirinee, 23, believes Ramadhan is a month she feels at ease and blessed every day. It is the month that she strive to chabge herself by doing a lot of reflections. Besides that, she also learned that during Ramadan human beings still make mistakes, so it is best to constantly reflect ourselves to improve what we are lacking.
“I want to change myself to become a better person so once Ramadan ends, I will have new goals. Yes! I renew my goals differently from other people as I make mine during Ramadan and not during the New Year,” she added.
“I love the moment during the breaking of fast and doing the teraweh. It is not because of the food but it is because everyone is there, gathering and breaking fast together. I feel the unity especially when I did the teraweh at the IIUM mosque. For me, the feeling of unity and brotherhood is real!” she told IIUMToday.
Concisely, we, as Muslims should strive to be better and Ramadan gives us the practice ground to be better. It is beneficial for us to really, really practise ‘Amar Makruf Nahi Munkar’. By practising it, it helps build our direction in life as Allah mentioned in Quran 9:14 “Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if you only knew.” ***