Ramadan Growing Closer To God
The holy month of Ramadan is well underway, all set to climax with a day of unbridled festivity and celebration this Id. Visit any area heavily populated with devout Muslims and you will notice each day bears a quiet solitude with sudden bursts of frenzied activity in the evening. These bursts correspond with evening prayers and the breaking of the fast.
Muslims are allowed food only before sunrise and after sunset. This is an obligatory custom to be practiced by every mature Muslim man and woman, barring a few who conform to the exceptions laid down by the religion. The day must be spent without food and water, without much conversation and with minimal desires. This is also the most favorable time to be immersed in the reading of the Quran.
There are many, both Muslims and those of other faiths, who do not fully understand the importance of this epic journey. While some go through the actions as a force of habit, others do it simply because it is what the religion expects. Many will tell you that this is the way to God. However, fasting is not the main goal of this auspicious occasion.
Every religion has special festivals, some of which last many days. While every believer is meant to think of God as often as one can, not everyone does. Religious occasions mark a time when followers should consciously think of God and carve out special time for prayer. During the month of Ramadan, followers are expected to spend the day reading about and thinking of the tenets of Islam.
The concept of abstinence or fasting is a wonderful way to control the mind and our body’s senses. While simpler fasts require a great deal of effort, the fast during Ramadan involves tremendous control and steadfast faith. Some who fast might spend the day thinking about meals and foods they are missing as well as about foods they will prepare and feast on once the period of fasting is over. However, the true purpose of undertaking a fast is to help you thank God for all the gifts of food and good health that have been given, perhaps things we would normally take for granted. This is also the time to spare a thought for those less fortunate and to feel the pain and deprivation they go experience on a daily basis.
The month of Ramadan is a great leveler. People, regardless of status or stature, are all equals. Everyone goes through the day without food, and breaks the fast with a modest helping of fruit, dates or other dry fruit. The day is spent wearing simple clothes, and shying away from all forms of pleasure and luxury. This is not just a way to feel the plight of those without comfort, but also a time when you are cognizant of all that you possess. A general feeling of charity and sharing is aroused and greatly encouraged.
The month of Ramadan fosters a great sense of communal spirit. People congregate to offer prayer, distribute alms, and break the customary fast together. A joyous sense of brotherhood and common sprit is achieved during this time when trivial differences are forgotten in lieu of the big picture.
When this awareness and awakening of the self is achieved, it is inevitable that every devotee will feel greater proximity with the divine. This is the very purpose of the month of Ramadan. When understood correctly, the metamorphosis this one month brings about is certain to last a lifetime. The festival of Id-ul-Fitr then truly ushers in not just the new moon, but also a new turn in your life.