The month of Ramazan gives us a natural change of heart, as the whole atmosphere seems to be charged with religious fervour. We feel positive vibes, have the natural urge to do good, reflect upon our deeds and resolve to improve in the areas we lag behind in.

Be it our daily prayers, our efforts to understand the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet (PBUH), attitude towards our elders, kindness to younger ones and empathy for those who are not as blessed as we are, we try to improve ourselves to be better human beings and, above all, be better Muslims in every aspect of life. We all know that Ramazan is the month in which Allah showers His blessings, forgives our sins and gives freedom from the hellfire to those who seek it and to the righteous.

My dear friends, first of all, let us try to understand what the word righteous means in general, and for Muslims in particular. The best synonym for righteous, in my opinion is virtuous, that is a person who has good ethical qualities and values.

For the followers of Islam, it encompasses every aspect of life, a clear guidance for the traits of a Muslim’s character and deeds in the light of Quran and Sunnah.

Although we all become, or try to become, better Muslims during this blessed month, I feel sad to say this, but as soon as Ramazan ends, slowly but surely, we meander away from our good resolves and gradually go back to our pre-Ramazan way of life.

Allow me to explain my point with these two important examples.

Namaz is obligatory for life, not just Ramazan

Let us begin with Namaz, the five times daily prayers obligatory on every Muslim. With the sighting of the Ramazan moon, we witness boys dusting their prayer mats and searching for their caps. Throughout the fasting month, they try to offer their prayers in the mosques as many times daily as possible. Girls make their own arrangements, choosing a peaceful corner to pray and keeping their praying scarves and mats handy.

It is a pity that offering regular prayers is considered only a requisite of Ramazan. As soon as the Eid moon is sighted, children excitedly start preparations for the Eid or are off for last moment shopping sprees on chand raat. Usually, they forget all about Namaz and the resolves they made during Ramazan.

This year, let’s promise ourselves that even when the month of Ramazan is over, we shall make praying five times daily a regular habit and never be lazy or careless about our Namaz again.

Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

Compassion to all

Ramazan brings with a conspicuous change in our behaviour with people around us. We are more caring with our parents, patient and kind to our siblings, and emphatic for our helpers. In the same way, we avoid picking up arguments or a quarrel with our peers. We understand that Allah wants us to be compassionate to His beings. But as soon as the fasting month is over, most children go back to their careless ways. Instead of helping mum, they turn a blind eye to the chores in which they can help her. The same is true for their behaviour with elders, siblings and household helpers. They become indifferent towards these important people in their life and all the positive vibes seem to vanish into thin air.

My dear friends, please understand that Allah wants us not only to be obedient to Him, but compassionate towards everyone.

In many Quranic verses, after the mention of our duty towards Allah, the importance of the good conduct and interaction of a Muslim with his fellow beings is stressed upon.

We must understand that helping the needy, keeping a promise and being patient during hard times and illness are some of the qualities of righteous Muslims. These are not requisites of any particular month, but the whole year around.

I hope most of my young friends will agree with me and wonder why they had not thought about these changes earlier. Let us discuss today where we all go wrong, what are the reasons which make our positive changes temporary, in fact only for a month?

As Ramazan begins, we make some promises to ourselves. Examples of some of them maybe,

  1. I will perform Namaz five times daily during Ramazan.

  2. I shall carve out time to read and ponder upon the Quran and try to obey to its teachings. I will strive to follow Sunnah of Our Holy Prophet PBUH in my daily routine.

  3. I will try to be patient when I am fasting and keep my temper under control.

  4. I will help mum in her daily chores as she is also fasting. I will be kind to the household helpers and try to relieve their workload.

  5. I will save from my pocket money to give charity to the poor.

  6. I will be more generous this month and give away my extra clothes, shoes, books, toys etc. to the less privileged.

The list we can make of the good deeds we intend to do can go on and on.

For fear of repetition, I have not written, “This Ramazan” in the beginning of every resolve we make, but the hard fact is that majority of us set our goals only for one month. We know that Allah rewards all our deeds manifolds in Ramazan, so we eagerly seek His pleasure by being as righteous as possible during this month.

Righteousness is a way of life

If you carefully re-read the Quranic verse I have quoted and ponder upon it deeply, you will realise what Allah wants to teach us in this blessed month. Now that we have understood what the word righteous means, we will realise that it implies a total submission to the Will of Allah and obedience to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah without any questioning. The lessons that Allah wants us to learn are not for one month only, on the contrary these should be our guidelines for our whole lives.

Ramazan is a month of training

The month of Ramazan should be considered a vigorous yearly drill where we are trained to be good Muslims. When we refrain from eating and drinking during a fast, we are submitting to what Allah has decreed. This is a lesson of obedience. We start and stop eating at a fixed time.

Have you realised that in this way Allah teaches us to be punctual in everything we do?

In the same manner, when we feel pangs of hunger and thirst, we realise the plight of the poor, who cannot provide their families even two meals daily. Next time, when you are fasting and your stomach growls for food, consider it a lesson in empathy.

When you help mum in any way you can, you are learning a lesson in caring and sharing responsibilities. When you do not leave your soiled dishes for the household helper, do not litter your things in the lounge and tidy up your room before going to school, you are practicing to be kind and emphatic.

This Ramazan let us make long-term goals

The question we should ask ourselves is, “Why do we make resolves for only the month of Ramazan?” Allah does not expect us to be righteous only for a month, but through fasting, He wants all of us to improve our qualities as virtuous Muslims.

My dear friends, this Ramazan instead of planning to seek Allah’s pleasure and rewards by being more pious in the month of fasting, let us promise ourselves to practice good deeds each day of our life. Let us keep our goals high, so that with every passing year we emerge as better Muslims.

A very fruitful Ramazan and a happy Eid to all of you.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 8th, 2023

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