“The servants of the Beneficent are they who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, Peace!” ~ Holy Qur’an, 25:63
The Holy Month of Ramadan is a month of reflection and restraint from the natural hungers of food, water and appetites. While for many, to restrain ones self from physical urges may be a challenge, to still one’s emotions from argument or obscenity may be a much more difficult task. Many of us experience stresses and oppression in life that cause us to be very quick to anger.
It is in fasting that Allah has given us a way to discipline the fires of anger. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad in How to Eat to Live, Book 1 writes, during this month, let there be no quarreling or disputing in our homes or abroad.” It is more difficult for most to control our attitudes and emotions than it is to control our stomachs. This is a principle exercise among the prescribed actions of self-imposed discipline that Allah (God) has ordained for humanity to gain control and mastery of ‘self’ to rise above our emotions into the Thinking of Allah (God).
Once we have completed the initial days of our daily practice of the abstention during the Month of Ramadan we begin to get into the rhythm of our devotion. Our spiritual, mental and physical awareness become sharper. As we advance in the lesson of the Month’s Fast, we should see gains in our ability to control our carnal passions, hungers, and the deepening of righteous character.
Our energies become more focused on the objective of the Fast and our minds and hearts are more rooted in the remembrance of Allah. If we are able to maintain the state of mind to deny ourselves for the pleasure of Allah (God), sawm (abstain, to still oneself, or fast), we will have achieved part of the major benefits of the wisdom behind the Fast of the Month of Ramadan.
“He who does not desist (or stop) from obscene language and acting obscenely during the period of fasting, Allah has no need that he did not eat or drink,” stated Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He also said that “Allah has no interest in any person’s abstention from eating and drinking, if that person does not give up lying and dishonest actions.”
Therefore, fasting is a revealing test of our faith and ability to build our will power for the betterment of self and society, while beautifying our character and purifying our hearts to adorn ourselves with the character of Allah (God). The Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes: “FASTING takes away evil desires. Fasting takes from us filthy desires.
Fasting takes from us the desire to do evil against self and our brothers and sisters. We are created of the material of goodness. Therefore, good belongs to us … and it should not be hard for us to turn to our own selves in which we were created … good.”—How To Eat To Live, pg. 49
The Holy Month of Ramadan is the time of year in which we have an opportunity to change and re-tune ourselves to creation itself, for we are of the earth, yet we must be reacquainted with our Original nature and the Reality of Time.
Through fasting, we become more in tune with the rising and setting of the sun, in addition to the natural calculations of the lunar calendar and the seasonal realities of the Earth orbiting the sun, as the month of Ramadan moves throughout the year and falls in different months of the fixed Gregorian calendar. We are moving around the sun yet we have lost the reality of time even though we have a watch or a clock.
We ask ourselves at the end of the day, “where did the day go? What was I doing? What have I been doing with my life?” Our lives but are a moment. What are we doing with our lives? Are we abiding by the time? Allah Most High says in the Holy Quran:
“By the time – surely man is in loss, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds and encourage each other to truth and encourage each other to patience.” As the Prophet (PBUH) once also stated, “fasting is patience.” Fasting, therefore, does one no good if his character is not improved by its observance of restraint from negative character traits and behaviors.
“Spiritually, He says that your own self (referring to you) is a righteous Muslim,” stated the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Allah (God) Revealed in the Holy Qur’an, He has created man in the best make or most excellent of molds (95:4) in a natural submission to His Will, as the crown of creation in origin instilled with the innate “color” of Allah’s (God’s) Reality.
“(We take) Allah’s colour, and who is better than Allah at colouring, and we are His worshippers.” (2:138) Therefore one “colored” by the ways of the Enemy of self, wrongdoing, and wickedness is far from the original state or natural disposition that is the fiber of our existence referred to in Quranic terms as fitra. (30:30) Natural disposition or constitution with which a child is created. The faculty of knowing God and the capability of accepting the religion of truth.
As worshippers of Allah (God) we seek Knowledge of God and Self that transforms our being to be His servants. As, we seek to beautify our character as His servants we become vessels of His Mercy and Favor to one another.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said, “Cultivate within yourself the Attributes of Allah.” The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan writes in A Torchlight For America, “Knowledge satisfies our natural thirst for gaining that which will make us one with our Maker. So true education cultivates the person—mind, body and spirit—by bringing us closer to fulfilling our purpose for being, which is to reflect Allah (God). …”
If we believe, we become aware of self, enough to analyze our belief and study how our actions are reflective of our belief or not. In Islam, which means to submit oneself wholly to the Will of Allah (God), we must become students of Self and learn to Desire what He loves.
We then only grow to the extent of our personal willingness to correct, shape, and develop the essence of who we are through the practice of submission to Allah’s Will through what He has prescribed to Teach us how to have proper regard for what He loves. This is how we as worshippers of Allah (God) are Guided to adorn ourselves—not only with the activities of fasting, but what foods to eat, when to eat and how to act on the principles of righteousness.
We become or reflect what we love or worship. If we understand worship properly, we see that the spiritual force behind all acts of worship is Love. It is this love that makes us mindful of how we treat our relationship with Allah (God), self and others. The Holy Qur’an describes worship in the Arabic term ‘Ibaada meaning at its root – to worship, adore, venerate, obey, submit, or devote; to be the Servant of God; or One Who accepts the impressions of God’s Attributes.
This Holy Month of Ramadan let us be found in humility among the servants of the Loving – Merciful—Ar-Rahman; the All-Giving, The Beneficent – Redeemer—Ar-Rahim, Allah (God) seeking His Attributes and strive in love to one another as we too seek His Mercy and Love.
Sultan Rahman Muhammad serves as Student National Imam of the Nation of Islam and resident Imam of Mosque Maryam National Center, Chicago. Visit NOI.org/ramadan @ImamSultanM, or email: [email protected]