The blessed month of Ramadan, aimed to build spirituality or God-consciousness amongst Muslims, is again with us. Behind the basic rituals of fasting from dawn till dusk lies the deeper spirit and teachings of endurance and giving. The agenda for this month is to ensure we spend time in lifting ourselves to spiritual heights through transforming our life in personal behaviour, dealings with our near and dear ones as well as with our neighbours and colleagues in the wider society – irrespective of their background.
This is a great opportunity to build better relationships, help one another in virtue and keep away from any evils that tempt us. The curriculum for holy period is the Qur’an, as Allah blessed humanity by revealing it in this noble month. As Muslims go into a deep reflective and consciousness mood, the agenda should be to learn more and build resilience so that one can always remain God-conscious. It is vital to ensure our fasting does not end up in mere starvation and our prayers simple exercise.
Our life in Ramadan must be entirely balanced and meet our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. Only then can we feel the envelopment of God’s limitless love within and around us.
I would venture to remind my Muslim brothers and sisters of our obligation towards people surround us in Ramadan and beyond, especially in our neighbourhoods, work places and education institutions. We all breathe the same air and enjoy Allah’s provision, we have similar hopes and concerns for our safety and security and we share the same land as His slaves and stewards on our beautiful planet. Our religion teaches us to be a force for good to all.
It is vital we build bridges with other people, proactively clarify misunderstandings and correct myths about us. We are a relatively new and young minority in Britain and we must connect with our fellow citizens. We have little influence on changing the negatives abroad – the despotic regimes, rise of bloodthirsty groups or foreign invasion of Muslim lands – but we can improve our standard and dignity where we live. We can reach out to others, the moral majority, get proactively involved in broad based community organising and involve our own youth to project our faith positively.
As a community of purpose, it is our main task to wage a war against our common enemies – ignorance, fear and inaction. Our world desperately needs a message of hope to heal our fractures and fight for justice. We desperately need a spiritual regeneration in a world much centred on individual fulfilment, material wealth and short-term gains. We need a strong moral anchor to navigate through the complexities and challenges of modern life. Ramadan is the best time to prepare and practice all this.
As a people of faith we have a unilateral obligation to work for the good of all. We have the obligations of good-neighbourliness, of being concerned for others, to share their joys and feel their pains and to provide support and help wherever we can. We have a religious obligation to encourage all that is good and discourage what is harmful, with a sense of urgency but with patience and wisdom. Let Ramadan fasting be a catalyst for us to become the ‘best community’.