PURIFICATION OF THE MIND, BODY AND SOUL
by Nadine El-Hawary, guest blogger
Muslims around the world eagerly await Ramadan every year. We see it as time of deep reflection, tranquility and an opportunity to seek forgiveness and pleasure from Allah (God).
During the month, while fasting we are keenly aware that our actions must be a reflection of our physical state, one of restraint and patience. This means being extremely cautious with our words and actions. During the fast, we should refrain from lying, backbiting, cheating, and all generally hurtful behaviours. Charity, in the form of alms-giving and helping those in need is also highly encouraged. These are behaviours that Muslims are to embody all year round, but while in a state of fasting, the mind and soul are keenly aware of this.
The breaking of fast which occurs at sunset is a very special time. Families or communities gather and break fast with dates and water, traditionally. The breaking of fast is followed by a prayer and then a full meal is served. Ramadan is a time filled with family and community coming together, where we are all trying our best to help and support each other through all aspects of the fast. Later In the evening, after we break fast, many of us observe special congregational nightly prayers at the mosque, or at home with our families.
Ramadan is really a time of moral “re-set” – it is a time to re-focus on the basic principles our faith teaches us: honesty, kindness, generosity, patience, and cooperation, a time to be the “best version” of ourselves. It is a time to get back to basics, to the central Islamic belief that this life on earth is fleeting and our goal is to attain eternal life in heaven. That ultimate goal can only be achieved through our good intentions and actions.
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness." (Quran 2:183)