Monday, August 31, 2009

The Blessed Ramadhan

I was told as a boy that Ramadhan is a month when the Divine verses of the Al-Quran were delivered to our Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W.) through the Archangel Jibrail. Furthermore its the most blessed month in the Muslim lunar calendar where the satans are chained and whatever good one does is amply rewarded more than in any other month.

I am sure most who profess Islam have heard it before. But what is most intriguing is that whatever way one looks at it, although the satans are chained during the blessed month but the 'nafs' of those who perform the fast still follow the bidding of satan. If you happen to break the fast at hotels, it is common to see how much food is wasted at the tables. It is quite a scene to see people who pile up their plates with enormous amount of food from the buffet spread only to end up as leftovers. And we know that such behaviour is that of the satan. Thus I have refrained from breaking my fast in hotel restaurants unless I cannot avoid it.

Another thing which I noticed during the month of Ramadhan is that of the Terawih prayers in the mosque for the first half of the month is well attended but as the nights come to a close the congregation seemed to be declining. The reason given by some is that they do their terawih at home. It is very well if they do, as that's what Rasulullah (S.A.W.) did for the nights close to Lailatul-Qadar where the members of his family were awakened to pray together with him, because that night is better than a thousand months.

I supplicate to ALLAH S.W.T. that we are given the opportunity to experience the next Ramadhan and we are the better person for it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ramadhan O Ramadhan

I remember vividly that as a child, I could not join to break the fast together with adults if I have not learnt to fast during Ramadhan. So it was to impress upon me that if you want to break the fast together, you must perform it.

So when the obvious reward is right in front in the form of delicious food, one is more or less persuaded not by religious obligation but more for the immediate gratification. But it's just another way of learning so to speak.

Now when I look back over my childhood days, the learning curve in understanding one's obligations can be short or long depending on the environment you grow up with. If the upbringing is strict and harsh, one can either be compliant for the sake of avoiding punishment or compliant but resentful. I suppose that's how people easily discard what they learnt when it does not come with persuasion and faith.

Another thing which I observe is that Ramadhan is more of a month of feasting rather than restraint, with the proliferation of Ramadhan bazaars and " Buka Puasa " advertisements by five star and lesser star hotels in cities like Kuala Lumpur. Well times have changed and so does the meaning and significance of Ramadhan.