THE Holy month of Ramadhan for this year started last June 6, and will end on July 8. This month is a perfect time to reflect and learn more about our faith and how we help our Muslim communities live in peace and harmony.
Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Hijra lunar calendar. Fasting during this month is one of the five pillars of Islam and revered by Muslims as a month of piety and repentance in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
According to a Hadith, Almighty Allah has divided Ramadhan in three parts the first ten days reflect the mercy of Almighty Allah, the other ten days represent forgiveness of Almighty Allah, while the last ten days represent safety from the fire of Hell. There is no doubt in the fact that Ramadhan is a month of mercy and forgiveness, it also provides the opportunity for all the believers to be saved from the fire of Hell.
Although the complete month of Ramadhan is a blessed one and it overflows with Grace and Mercy. A Muslim is also blessed with a night (Laila-tul-Qadr) which is better than thousand months.
Prophet Muhammad said in one Hadith, “Ramadhan is a month whose beginning is Mercy, whose middle is Forgiveness and whose end is Freedom from the fire of hell.” Hence, Ramadhan is full of the mercy of Allah and opportunities to please Him through our worship and good deeds.
It is also a time for us to reflect in our relationships with other people. It is also a time where we should make a commitment to ourselves to engage in acts as worshipping in congregation, spreading the greeting of Salaam to our family, friends and neighbors, encouraging one another to continue to follow the Straight Path, enjoining that which is good and avoiding and forbidding evil.
We should strive to increase remembering Allah. We should recognize all sinful acts no matter how small and seemingly insignificant they are. In the month of Ramadhan, we must have patience for others and patience for ourselves as we observe the process of spiritual growth.
Moreover, Allah (SWT) showers us with His mercy and forgiveness during this blessed month.
Those who repent in sincerity will find Allah Most Forgiving, as He Says: “And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself but then seeks forgiveness of Allah will find Allah Forgiving and Merciful,” – Quran 4:110.
This Ramadhan comes at a very challenging time for Muslim Filipinos today and the rest of the Muslim Umma in the world. We face so many problems in our communities. We blame almost all our problems to the West or to other communities and religions, but we never look inside our own condition and see what have we done to Islam and to our faith.
The Muslims in our country today are mostly divided. Sectarian differences sometime lead to conflict and violence. These divisions are internal problems that are aggravated by external influences of how we interpret Islam and the teachings of our prophet (SAW).
Another problem in our Muslim communities is our lack of Islamic education. Our Madrasahs/Madaris schools lack support and funding from our own Umma. We rely on the aid and support from other countries to provide financial aid to our ustadzes (teachers). Our youth are gaining knowledge about Islam through the use of internet and google search. We rely too much in the support of our Muslims brothers and sisters from the Arab countries.
Another challenge in our communities is the homogenisation of Islamic traditions and cultures. We are diverse people, but there are religious leaders who want us to become Arabs.
For this month, may we give time to discern deeply in this verse: O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). Surah 49.Al-Hujurat, Ayah 13.