Muslims fast for 30 days when Ramadan starts this weekend

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A Muslim man prays at Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia in 2011.

A Muslim man prays at Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia in 2011.

AP

Ramadan, 1443 Al-Hijri begins this weekend. It is the ninth and the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. The day will also mark the beginning of fasting season in Islam.

Like Yom Kippur for Jews or Easter for Christians, Ramadan offers the central theme for Muslims: Submit completely — mind and body — to seek closeness to God in order to assume piety.

In some cases, it means living in solitude and silence. However, the purpose of this worship in Islam is to prepare. In almost all traditions, fasting is observed by abstaining or giving up food, water or personal pleasures or parting with wealth as charity. an individual to be virtuous and upstanding, a person who will discharge his duties to his Creator on one side and to the society on the other.

Holy Quran commands Muslims: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” — 2: 183

Ramadan also fulfills one of the five pillars of Islam: “Saum” which means fasting or abstaining is an obligatory form of worship for Muslims. Another standout feature is that Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed during this month as a guidance for humanity.

During this 30-day period, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset — no food, water or personal pleasures; clearing one’s mind of any carnal thoughts, connivance, plotting and scheming against others; purifying the heart from lust, bigotry and hate; and any other form of ill will toward others.

Fasting is a noble act that is much beloved by Allah (God). Fasting is a noble act that is much beloved by Allah (God).

This season allows Muslims to seek a spiritual asylum in their inner being to reflect upon life and the purpose of their existence, which is complete submission and obedience to Allah, seeking His pleasure and nothing less.

This experience helps formulate the ideal Islamic character in a believer — one who abides by the commands to abstain even in private, with no witnesses but the all-knowing, omnipresent God. Muslims develop a sense of duty to respect authority with obedience that obligates them It is a test of resolve to choose between material and spiritual benefits, between the pleasures of this world and the reward in the hereafter — all for the pure pleasure of God.

It is a time for charity, attending to the relatives, the weak and vulnerable in the community.

Fasting for a month may seem difficult, but most Muslims look forward to it because it is the opportunity to reflect upon one’s actions and events of the past — recognizing the wrongs one has committed, admitting to one’s shortcomings and committing to mend the behavior are liberating experiences.

Collectively, a group of people that forsakes its own priorities for the sake of others, all for one reward — the pleasure of their creator — is a blessing for any community.

Mohammad S. Shakir is former executive director of the Asian American Advisory Board in Miami-Dade County.

shakir.jpg
Shakir

This story was originally published March 30, 2022 5:02 PM.

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