[Abu Javed, New York]



Year before last, after a decade or so, I passed my first fifteen days of the month of Ramadan in Pakistan. I was astonished to observe a remarkable change in the life style of the people immediately with the start of the month of fasting. Everyone was running to his house with the appearance of the moon of Ramadan on the sky and getting ready for Traviah with his children, especially the grown ups. The Masajid that was practically empty hours before were filled to the maximum capacity with the Azan of Isha. With the start of Traviah, the entire atmosphere was humming with the sound of loud speakers with the melodious tones of the Qarees, reciting the Qur’an from every mosque and the people listening in rapt adoration, irrespective of the fact whether they follow its contents or not. The echoing sounds of Allah’s words [the Qur’an] was resounding every nook and corner of the city.  When we returned from Traviah, the Radio Pakistan was directly broadcasting the Traviah form Haram [Kaa’ba]. It was so fascinating and full of sanctity that almost all the houses that have TV set were listening to it with rapt adoration and total devotion as if they all were a part of it.


The time of Sahoor came and the entire house was awake, even the children. Different teams were out on the street to awaken the people for Sahri with different sounds, songs and beating of drums. When the time of Sahri was over, the sirens were on at different places to warn the people to make haste and finish their eating. People were making their Niyah [intention] for the fast and now rushing to Masjid for the Fajr. It was really amazing that at the time of Fajr, the Masjid was full. Now the fast for the day had started and everyone looked changed, devoted and dedicated to Allah (SWT). Most of them who were fasting had only one thing in their minds that their Lord, is watching them and they are not to do any thing that Allah has prohibited and so it destroys their fast. Everyone is conscious of the fact that if no body is there, their Creator and Sustainer is with them. Everyone is trying to be honest, avoids telling lies, keeping aloof from lustful talks and causing harm to others. The hotels are closed and doors of cinemas are shut. Radio and TV are carrying out Islamic programs based on the Qur’an, Seerah of Rasulullah (S) and Islamic history.


In the evening hours, people are rushing to their homes with cooked Iftari in their hands for breaking the fast with their families and friends. The housewives have cooked many a things for Iftar and sharing it with their neighbors and relatives and also sending to Masjid for collective Iftar. With breaking sound of the siren, everyone is reciting the Du’a’ O Allah! I have fasted for You, I believe in You and on your provision, I am breaking my fast. O Allah You accept my fast. Every house is echoing with this beautiful Du’a and children are sharing it too. After an hour or more, preparation for Traviah in congregation starts and people rush to Masajid.  The youths were found more enthusiastic than before. Many Masajid were presenting a brief summary in Urdu of the portion of the Qur’an that was recited in Traviah. It was very productive and people were attending this program with interest. 


This routine continues not for one day or two but for the entire month of Ramadan. This environment of sanctity, devotion to the Qur’an, continuous fear of Allah, eagerness in the Muslim masses to expend more and more in the way of Allah, reaching out to the poor and the needy of the community, sharing Iftar and food with others and doing Ebadah as much as possible during day and night create an aura of Taqwa all around. It helps in generating an atmosphere where everyone is found trying his or her best to do well to others and be nice in their respective dealings.

This entire scenario that I have depicted above is of a Muslim society. With the approach of Ramadan, it is galvanized into an Allah-conscious society and it continues for a period of a month. It is in fact a training program of this Ummah, prescribed by Allah (SWT). It keeps the Muslim Ummah very close to Allah and constantly reminds the followers of this Ummah every ear that they are His bondsmen and they are to live and die for Him alone. Watching this spirit of Ramadan in a Muslim society reminded me a different panorama of our history.  It resolved the issue that why seventy two years of ruthless Communist domination, Russia could not crush the spirit of Chechnya Muslims and that of Central Asia. This yearly revival of the Islamic spirit and the intimate training program of Ramadan kept their attachment with Islam alive and forceful. The spirit of consciousness immediately revived and resurrected with the collapse of Communism in 1991. So is the case of Turkish tyranny of Carmelites who could not crush Islam in Turkey in spite their desperate efforts to annihilate Islam from its soil.    


It is the blessing of Ramadan that Muslims, in spite of innumerable conspiracies against Islam and Muslims, the Muslim world is surviving the onslaughts of Western hegemonies, Jewish conspiracies, and secularist’s attack both at home and abroad. Ramadan is a means to get this Ummah revived every year, spreading a constant lesson to each of us that we are a part of Ummatun Wasata [Middle Nation] and we are destined to play our part in uplifting ourselves and the Humanity at large, if we could prolong the blessings of Ramadan in every nook and corner of our social, economic and political life, beyond the month of Ramadan. That would be the finest blessings of Ramadan for this Ummah.


Taqwa is the essence of fasting during Ramadan. It is also the barometer to keep our socio, economic and political life in line with the Qur’an and Sunnah. Ramadan helps in inculcating this environment of Taqwa while every one is fasting and fears none but Allah (SWT). It needs further elaboration.       


Allah (SWT), in His infinite mercy, has created man with three strong urges and one indomitable free will to fulfill the urges the way he/she likes. The urges are:


i.  Rest or sleep;  ii,  Hunger and thirst;  iii, Sex.


These urges can also be termed as animal instincts. They are so powerful that they empower man and make him or her as its slave. When humans become the slave of their urges, they do commit all kinds of nonsense, as we see around us. It is therefore, essential that each individual brings these urges under control. Fasting in the month of Ramadan provides that exercise to each Muslim. Fasting helps in controlling hunger, thirst, sleep and sex. Everything that is Halal [permissible] becomes prohibited with the start of the fasting as ordained by Allah and again it becomes permissible with Iftar. It is a unique exercise that a Muslim follows as a routine for a month. It develops the habit of controlling these urges and brings them under his or her control. If they are regulated by the free will of a Muslim and kept within its permissible bounds, the individual Muslim and Muslimah becomes Allah-conscious. That is the essence of Taqwah. It is the immense blessing of Ramadan.


However, the quality of Allah-consciousness [Taqwah] depends on the quality of Fasting. That is why Allah (SWT) has conditioned the attainment of Taqwah with a word “Laallakum Tattaqoon”. {There is a possibility that you may get Taqwah, depending on the quality of fasting of each individual. Allah gives the reward of fasting by Himself, depending on the quality of fast. The reward of Every Ebadah is fixed but not that of fasting. Allah will give the reward of Fasting by measuring the quantum of devotion and dedication behind the fasting of each Muslim and Muslimah. But the general environment of the month of Ramadan creates in its wake the blessing of Allah in disguise to keep the Ummah on the track of Tawhidiyat [monotheism], irrespective of the fact where Muslims are living and under what situation they are trying to survive.


Let the Muslims of America harvest the blessings of Ramadan in their individual and collective capacities and create an environment of piety and service to humanity in their respective communities. It would be a blessing for the liberal society of America to experience and learn how to transform their houses into a cradle of God-consciousness. May Allah bless all of us and give us Tawfeeq to make our life as model for the people of this land.



Shamim A Siddiqi                                                                                                            

November 1, 2002