Why Fasting and Prayers in Ramadhan?

Fasting and Prayers
 

Why Fasting and Prayers in Ramadhan?

Why has every day of the month in which Qur’an was revealed been selected for
fasting, and every night for Qur’anic recitation in prayers? Its answer is not
difficult, if you understand the nature of the gift of Qur’an and ponder a little on
your responsibility as a trustee and custodian of Qur’an.

The Great Trust and Mission

The bigger the gift, the more onerous will be the responsibility of honouring it – as
is its due. Since Allah’s Book, His Word, is the greatest blessing and sign of His
Mercy, it demands a whole range of responsibilities. In order to make life
meaningful and consequential, and a success, this Book guides to the right path.

For all apparent and hidden, individual and collective ills, this Book offers salvation.

For all those groping in the dark, this Book provides the light. Responsibilities of
man lie in accepting this Book as such – as the guidance and light to be followed in
every sphere of life.

This gift of Allah’s guidance brings with its two folds of responsibilities:
First, to follow the path it shows, to proceed in life under its light, to use its
prescriptions for curing ills, and to strive to mould our hearts, thought and action,
behaviour and character according to the pattern it wants to develop and
promote.

Second, to convey its guidance to all others – since it is guidance to all people, not
restricted to just one’s own self – to invite them on its path, to lit up the dark
corners, and to provide the cure to the diseased.

A little thought makes it clear that the second responsibility is but an offshoot, and
an inseparable part, of the first one. The former cannot be accomplished without
the latter.

On the one hand, the very knowledge that Qur’an is “guidance to all the
people” entails the responsibility of conveying it to all.

Then, it is the right of those
who are groping in the dark to be told about the path that leads to light; it is the
right of the diseased to get treatment from the healthy, to get cured.

On the other hand, without the effort to take others along the path of Qur’an,
one’s own taking up, and keeping, the right path will remain risky, flawed and
incomplete. This is how one’s own destination is lost. The reason is that conveying
the message of Qur’an and the struggle to spread its teachings is an essential part
of adhering to it – in fact, it marks the epitome of the will to act upon Qur’an.

With contacts and relations, your life is so intertwined with the lives of other people
that it is quite difficult for you to take up the path of your choosing, unless they too
take it up – and keeping on that path is even more difficult.

See, the first revelation to the Prophet consisted of the advice “Read!” And,
reading to others is part of reading. The second revelation elaborated this further.

After a short break, it ordained: “Arise, and warn; and magnify the glory of your
Lord.”13 It asked to glorify Allah in front of all humanity, and establish His
supremacy over them all – so that all surrender to Him, no one should become
demigod to rule over others, no one should try to impose one’s will or whim on
others like him, but all should submit only to their Creator and Lord.

A little attention makes it obvious that this is the purpose of creation, raison
d’etre, of the Muslim Ummah.

It is a common knowledge that there were
individuals at the time of the start of Qur’anic revelation who believed in Oneness
of God, in Prophethood and Divine Revelation.

There were people who used to
pray for the whole night, and those who observed fasting.

Allah Almighty has
himself spoken highly of their strong contact and relation with Him and their good
character.

So, why the need for a new Prophet, a new message, and a new
Ummah? It was because, first, to remove all spots of darkness accruing from
human folly from the right path of belief and action; and, second, to bring into
being an Ummah that becomes a witness to all mankind:

And it is thus that We appointed you to be the community of the middle way, so
that you might be witnesses to all mankind.14

This is the Qur’anic Mission.

And, as the receivers and custodians of Qur’an, it
becomes our mission – mine and yours, and of all those who claim to believe in
Qur’an.

It is shuddering to think about the burden and enormity of this responsibility. To
try to bring the whole of humanity to the right path is a grand task.

This is why the
Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was trembling when he came home after getting
the first revelation.

Allah Himself has termed the revelation as a “Weighty Word”15
– upholding and conveying it is a great burden and a big responsibility.

It is not
easy, but it is not as difficult either as to be beyond human capability.

If it were too
heavy a burden to be borne by man, Allah the Merciful and Benevolent would not
have entrusted him with this responsibility.

The only requirement to be able to carry out this responsibility is to develop such a
human being inside our ‘self’ who is obedient to Allah alone and refuses to share
others in his obedience to Him.

To create a new man and a new world where
Allah’s Word reigns supreme and all heads bow down to Him, it is essential to have
firm belief in Qur’an, to acquire knowledge that it provides, to keep a strong
relationship with it; to have patience and forbearance, rectitude and fortitude; and
it is imperative to strive continuously and be prepared for any sacrifice in the way
to realise its message.

The Qur’anic mission demands very high qualities. It
demands that one’s claim to uphold the message of Qur’an must be accompanied
by high, and continuously rising, level of thought and character.

This, in turn, needs extraordinary resolve and determination, energy and capability.


Making the Most of Ramadhan

end of article : Fasting and Prayers