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'There's much more to Ramadan than fasting'


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Zeynab
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« on: October 08, 2006, 02:58:39 am »

There's much more to Ramadan than fasting
Sep. 23, 2006. 01:00 AM

RAHEEL RAZA
 
 
 
Driving by Central Parkway and Mavis Rd. in Mississauga last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see a huge billboard with the message "Ramadan Kareem." After 18 years in Canada, seeing a public sign welcoming the holiest month of my faith makes me feel
warm, fuzzy and wanted.
 
Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a very important part of every Muslim's life. My own participation its observance has changed over the years. While health reasons preclude my going without food, I am still inspired and enthused about the larger spiritual message of this holy month.
 
Tolerance of hunger, the most obvious part of fasting, serves as a blessing for a person's journey toward God as it facilitates enlightenment and knowledge as well as progress in attaining spiritual perfection. Silence and self-control create humility, increase will power and polish the heart and mind, creating an impeccable "servicing of the soul".
 
When I wake up before dawn to make food for my family, the splendour of the rising sun and the chirping of birds are a reminder of God's blessings. It's only at this time of the year that I can rise early without complaint.
 
Ramadan is a time of giving and mercy, a time to stop our mad whirl and look inward , to reinforce the good and get rid of evil in our hearts and minds. It gives us a huge opportunity to improve ourselves through self -reflection and soul searching.
 
Purity of thought and action are the hallmarks of this month and Muslims think twice before gossiping or making sarcastic remarks.
 
The Holy Prophet has said: "Engage yourself in self-struggle (Jihad-e-Nafs) through the means of hunger and thirst, whose reward is equivalent to the reward of those who participated in the armed struggle for Allah's sake."
 
Refraining from food, drink, smoking and sex from sunrise to sunset every day enhances the other senses so we become more acutely aware of our surroundings. Many believe it eliminates toxins from the body and improves one's hair and skin.
 
Ramadan is the month in which the Qur'an was revealed by God to the Prophet Mohammad so reciting its verses is traditional at this time. I find that every time I open the Qur'an I think of it as a "service manual" for the soul I learn something new.
 
The final 10 days of Ramadan are especially devoted to enhancing spirituality and communal prayer. I remember my mother making pots of tea and sandwiches so we could all pray together on these special nights of forgiveness and remembrance.
 
Acts of charity are also central to the observance of Ramadan. Many people give the mandatory charity required of Muslims during this month so the needy can also break their fast with nutritious food. This purifies the heart from selfishness and greed, and helps us understand the plight of those who lack life's basic amenities. This charity is not limited to financial contributions alone, but also includes charity of the heart to help people, charity of the mind to reach out to others and charity of the soul to forgive and move on, to smile at those whom we perceive to be our enemies and to engage in dialogue with people of all walks of life.
 
"Whosoever will perform an obligatory good deed, it is as if he performed 70 obligatory good deeds," the Prophet Muhammad said about generous acts during Ramadan.
 
"In this month the believers' provision is increased. Whosoever will give food to a fasting person in this month, it will bring forgiveness for his sins, will save him from the hellfire and he shall have his reward."
 
Each one of us has something to give and Ramadan is the time to share and care: feed the hungry, embrace the marginalized, adopt a newcomer, visit someone who is ill, listen to the voice of the lonely, disregard the words of the crabby, reach out to the young and restless, get coffee for colleagues while fasting, be non-judgmental, keep our vision broad and benevolent and constantly thank the Creator for all His Blessings.
 
In the spirit of sharing spirituality with all of God's people, I wish my Jewish friends celebrating Rosh Hashanah a healthy and happy New Year and my Muslim brothers and sisters a healthy and spiritually fulfilling Ramadan.

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Raheel Raza is a media consultant and the author of Your Jihad ... Not My Jihad.
 
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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2006, 03:38:59 am »

surprise surprise!  teethsmile   raheel raza has improved ..
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