Ramadan: An Annual Training Programme

Fasting helps to restrain the desires of the lower self and submit ourselves to be the slaves of Allah (Abdullah). It is a great opportunity to purify the inner self and connect to Allah. The Ego (Satan) is in control during the day of fasting, but we let it loose immediately after iftar, and he takes over us turning the whole night into a festival. The context of fasting, devotion and purification is completely lost. It has become another external ritual to perform year after year with no internal changes and yet expecting Allah to forgive us and grant paradise.

By A.W Sadathullah Khan

“Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and the distinction (so that mankind will distinguish from Good and Evil).And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and (He desires) that you should complete the period, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you and that you may be grateful to Him.” (Q: 2:185)
Allah has ordained fasting once a year in Ramadan for a month. This annual training programme is obligatory for taking control of the desires of the external faculties, the body and the mind and connect to the internal faculty of the heart.

Human beings are the best of the creation. “AshrafulMaqlooqath” Indeed Allah has created the human being in the best of forms. [95 :4]

We are the best of the creation since Allah has granted us one additional faculty than the animals. Animals have the sense and limited rational faculty, in addition to that, human beings are granted, the heart (some refer to the spiritual heart, heart of the Self) the seat of realization, ethical, intellect and conscious faculty. With this faculty, man has the ability to distinguish good from evil, Truth from falsehood, beneficial from harmful and make choices.

“The distinction between good and evil is engrained in their hearts”. (91:8).

The more important part of your ‘person’ is your inner self. This inner self, the Quran calls the qalb or the ‘heart’.The distinguishing faculty is of the heart and not the mind. This is an in built software each individual is born with and he does not need any external knowledge for this, even a Bedouin, has this inbuilt ability.

“O you who believe! if you fear Allah, He will grant you Furqan a criterion (distinction between Good and Evil). [8:29]

This innate inner faculty connects man to the (Ruh) spirit of Allah which is blown inside us when he created Adam.

“They ask you [O Muhammad (Pbuh] concerning the Ruh (Spirit). Say: ‘It is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given very little.”(17: 85)

When one’s nafs (soul) gets connected internally to the Spirit (Ruh) and has control over the two external faculties, the sense and the rational faculty, then we are spiritual beings in human form, this is our ‘True Self’. When the nafs connects to the heart, it is in the state of nafs e Muthmainnah and the heart becomes Qalb e saleem and this heart enters the Heaven. We are Being Humane from the perspective of Allah.

“O you Tranquil nafs, return to Your Lord, well pleased, and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter you, then, among My devotees! Enter you My Paradise.” (89:27-30).

‘The day when there will not benefit wealth or children, but only one who comes to Allah with a qalb-e-saleem [sound heart].(26:88-89)

Finally it is, in reality, the way of the heart for which we shall be accountable, and only the one who brings before Allah a sound and sincere heart will deserve to be saved. Fasting is a means to achieve this.
Human Being is at a Loss
In the perspective of Allah, when mankind is connected to the ‘Human’ part, the two external faculties, and disconnected from the ‘Being’ part, the internal faculty of the heart, they are dead, in ignorance, darkness and at a loss. The heart is sealed and becomes harder than rock. The faculty of distinction is taken away and becomes blind.

“And most certainly have We destined for hell many of the invisible beings (Jinns) and men who have hearts with which they fail to grasp (perceive) the truth, and eyes with which they fail to see (reality), and ears with which they fail to hear. They are like cattle – rather, they are more misguided. It is they who are the heedless.”!” (7:179)

“By the time, Indeed mankind is in loss.” (103: 1-2)

“Despite this, your hearts hardened like rocks, or even harder. For there are rocks from which rivers gush out. Others crack and release gentle streams, and other rocks cringe out of reverence for Allah. Allah is never unaware of anything you do.” (2:74).

Once the heart is sealed or blocked, then man is no more a human being. He falls down to the lowest of the low and becomes an animal, no, worse than that, he becomes a beast (Satan), sheds blood and does mischief on Earth and is doomed. He fails to recognize his true identity and the purpose of creation? He gets engrossed in the external world (duniya) and focuses his entire life in developing and relying on the rational faculty, logic and reason, and deny the Absolute Truth.

Rivalry for worldly gain distracts you, until you visit your graves. (102:1)

“….When We brought him down to the lowest of the low.” ( 95:5)

“And if they do not respond to you, then know that they only follow their own lust. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lust, without guidance from Allah? Verily! Allah guides not the people who are disobedient.”[28:50]

The holy Quran refers to this lower self (false self) or ego as “Nafs e Ammarah” This Nafs commands us to commit sin (urges towards evil).The Ego (false self) has pride (Takabbur), greed (Hirs), envy (Hasad), lust (Shahwah), backbiting (Gheebah), stinginess (Bokhl), malice (Keena) and its sole purpose becomes to chase the worldly selfish desires.

“I do not think that I am free from weakness; all human (nufoos)) souls are susceptible to evil except for those to whom my Lord has granted mercy. (12:53)

“Do not follow your low desires because they will lead you astray from the path of Allah.” (38:26)

This nafs e Ammarah is destined to Hell.
Fasting helps to restrain the desires of the lower self and submit ourselves to be the slaves of Allah (Abdullah). It is a great opportunity to purify the inner self and connect to Allah. The Ego (Satan) is in control during the day of fasting, but we let it loose immediately after iftar, and he takes over us turning the whole night into a festival. The context of fasting, devotion and purification is completely lost. It has become another external ritual to perform year after year with no internal changes and yet expecting Allah to forgive us and grant paradise.

The most honored by Allah amongst you are those best in taqwaa.”(49:13)

Allah has done us a favour by clearly distinguishing and guiding us the way that leads to heaven and hell. Now it is our choice to choose the way to live here ‘Now’…. a path of heaven or hell and we alone are responsible and accountable for the choices we make here that leads us to the hereafter life after death.

“Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.” (3:8)

(The writer is editor, Islamic Voice and hosts Discover Yourself workshops where the participants get the ability to distinguish.They are coached to take control of the external faculties, get connected to the heart and purify the inner Self. For comments, suggestions email to [email protected] & more details visit www.discoveryourself.in)

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