In the Name of Allah, the beneficent and Merciful




Man on this earth has two important obligations to fulfill. His entire human life and its activities both at individual and collective levels rotate on that axis. It provides the criterion to judge his success or failure, loss or gain, Falah or khusran. This criterion is quite different from the standard of material success prescribed by man- made systems to measure the success or failure, prosperity or poverty, growth or decay in terms of the standard of living or saving and investment Thus, the standards prescribed by the Divine Guidance for human gains and loss are quite different from what is understood and promoted by human’s materialistic societies. For a Muslim and Muslimah the Divine criterion becomes his/her standard of living condition and he lives and dies for it. The criterion of success for a Muslim/Muslimah can be elaborated as follows:


1. Cementing his/her relation with his/her Creator and Sustainer – a life long pursuit to be accomplished as humans, the natural end-result of all of his/her activities on earth. He/she lives on earth only to seek the pleasure of Allah for all of his/her actions and deeds. He/she does not struggle for name, fame or worldly gains but to please his/her Lord under each and every circumstance. His intention is always to please Allah (SWT). That expression is well defined by Allah in the Verse 162 of Surah Al-Ana’m.


“Say, Lo! My worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of this cosmos.”


2.  Cementing relation with humanity – Allah’s creation at large. Muslims have been especially ordained to do “khair” in Verse # 77 of Surah Al-Hajj. This would be possible only by expending in the way of Allah for humans and doing good for the suffering humanity as an obligation from Allah


“O, who believe [in Allah], bow down and prostrate yourselves and be obedient to your Lord and do good [to others], that happily you may prosper”


Allah has earmarked the share of poor and have-nots in our wealth as Qur’an ordains in Surah Al-Ma’arij Verse # 24 & 25 [and also in Verse # 19 of Surah Al-Zariyat]


“And in whose wealth there is an acknowledged right for the poor and the destitute”


If you take a triangle that has three cones, on one you stand and the other two cones: one represents your Creator and Sustainer and the other cone stands for the humanity. On one side you will have to cement your relation with Allah and on the other hand you will have to develop cordial relations with His humanity at large. Failure on either side will tantamount to “loss or gains”. A Muslim will have to maintain a harmonious balance in between the two. He cannot neglect one for the sake of the other. Maintaining and fulfilling human-side responsibilities attains greater emphasis as Allah can pardon one’s sin committed in His domain but He will not do so if the rights of humanity are violated by any one unless the person who is involved comes forward and pardons it. 


A Muslim has to live by these standards throughout his/her life under all and every circumstances. Allah (SWT) in His infinite mercy has prescribed the month of Ramadan to help him in maintaining that equilibrium. That process can be described in the following measures. The entire month of Ramadan is completely available to a Muslim and Muslimah to fulfill this onerous task on which hinges his success in Akhirah, the ultimate scenario where one will face the end-result of his life long actions and deeds on earth. 


1. Thirty days of continuous fasting for the sake of Allah with constant fear that He is watching you wherever you are and whatever you are doing. It helps in inculcating the desired volume of Taqwah, making you ever-Allah-conscious. That is why Allah ordains through a Hadith Qudsi: “Al-Sawmu li wa Ana ajzi behi” The Sawm is for me and I will give its reward by Myself [depending on the quality of Sawm.- la-Allakum Tattaqun]. It helps in cementing your relation with your Lord and brings your animal urges of food/water, rest and sex under your control. You become their master.


2. You attend Traviah and listen to the Qur’an attentively. Your devotion to the Qur’an increases tremendously, you recite and try to understand to the extent possible. The more you understand the Qur’an and follow it, the greater you will strength your relation with Allah. Qur’an is the rope of Allah. Hold it fast, you will find Allah always at your hand.


3. In three different Ahadith the Prophet of Allah proclaims that who fast during the month of Ramadan; who offers Traviah and who makes Qayam at the night of Lalatul Quadr [the rest is common to the three] with Iman and Ehtisab [the sense of accountability] his previous sins are pardoned” Thus fasting during the day and passing night in Qayam [standing in prayers] brings you very close to Allah, getting His pleasure throughout the month


4. This is the one side of the grandest picture of this glorious month of Ramadan that is special for Muslims to enjoy and maximize their efforts for His pleasure... The other side is more important. It is the spending in the way of Allah during this month...


I. There is a great reward for the person who offers one who is fasting to break his fast even with a date or sip of water. Every Muslim during the month of Ramadan will be found eager to find some one who could break his fast with him. The Masajid are filled around sun set and Muslims bring a lot of food, fruits and juices for breaking fast and dinner and often Sahoor especially for the poor and those who are in Aitikaf in Masajid.


II. One who cannot fast due to illness or traveling, he gives some amount equal to his one day’s food to the poor; and every Muslim even for the new born babies gives “Sadaqatul Fitr” for every member of his family. Currently it works out to be five to seven dollars per head and must be paid before the Eid prayers. So the poor members of the society too gets equal opportunity to enjoy the Eid that falls on the next day of the completion of the month of Ramadan


III. Muslims spend their mal [wealth] in the way of Allah very generously during Ramadan for the poor and needy. Beyond that they distribute their Zakah to the poor, the needy. They get special reward from Allah for spending in Ramadan and the economy of the Muslim societies gets a momentum with increase in the purchasing power of the have-nots.


These arrangements take care of the poor, the needy, the unemployed, the underemployed and the way-farers. A Muslim tries to utilize all the opportunities to help his brothers and sisters who are in distress.


A bird’s eye-view of this short presentation will convince even an ordinary critic of Islam that it provides a system, a mechanism to cement his relation with his Creator and Sustainer and equally it inspires the Muslims, the humans to take care of their brothers and sisters in their vicinity or in the society where they live that their basic needs are provided within the society both on individual and collective levels. This is the Barakah of the month of Ramadan that is going to start this year on October 5, 2005. May Allah make it a blessed one for the Muslim Ummah and enable it to come out of its mess. May Allah accept our fasting, Traviah and Qayamul lail and make it a unifying force to live like conscious Muslims and Muslimah.



Shamim A Siddiqi                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

October 2, 2005