Bidding Farewell to the Blessed Month
As Muslims prepare themselves to celebrate the upcoming Eid al-Fitri, one must not forget that the beginning of something actually signifies the end of something else. In this case, it is the near end of the blessed month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month promised by Allah the Almighty filled with His mercy and blessings. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) said: “Whoever fasts in Ramadan out of faith and with the hope for (Allah’s) reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven” (Narated by al-Bukhari and Muslim) and in another saying of the Prophet as narrated by Ibnu Hibban and At-Tabarani: “If any Muslim comes out of Ramadan without gaining forgiveness and goodness, he is a real loser”.
For Muslims, Ramadan is actually the perfect time for character-building and self-reflection. It is not just about performing the religious rituals like fasting and praying, but most importantly is how these actions leave the needed impact to one’s heart and deeds beyond the month of Ramadan. The heart needs such a process to transform the individual into becoming the kind of human being that lives his or her life in accordance to what is laid down upon oneself by God. Hopefully, the heart which is relentless in its quest for tranquility would find guidance within the countless blessings promised by God the Almighty especially during the month of Ramadan.
It is important to understand that the heart or qalb as mention in the Holy Quran is the starting point of all our intentions and actions. As social being, the way we treat others and the manner we conduct our daily dealings with people around us are also manifestations of what lie within our hearts. In a hadith, the Prophet says to Anas Ibnu Malik: “…Try to pass your mornings and evenings in a state where your heart is free from all ill-feelings, jealousy and hatred for everyone, and remember that this is my Sunnah, and he who loves my Sunnah will be with me in paradise.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi).
Transformation of the heart through such purification process during Ramadan would help us to become better individuals who seek the pleasure of God and at the same time reflect the God-consciousness condition into real good actions. The world, in its current frenzied state needs people with good hearts and strong dedications to improve its circumstance. For our beloved Malaysia, in its current predicament, needs such people with good intentions and sincerity to ensure that the country continue to prosper and remain peaceful. Leaders and the people of the nation in general should work in tandem to push Malaysia out of the current quandary. There is no use to controvert that problems do exist in the country but most importantly is how to formulate the right solutions to these problems. Just like any other nation, Malaysia also faces challenges from time to time, but just like any success story, it is how we pull through from all of these setbacks which ultimately matters.
Ramadan also teaches us about our duties and roles. It is important for us understand the responsibilities that are attached to these roles. For instance, we need to be more vigorous in helping those in need through the act of sharing and giving. As an individual in a bigger social composition, the fasting month actually offers us with the opportunity to contribute in various areas that can benefit others. Never should we allow our religious duties like fasting be an excuse to be unproductive. Our social responsibility in Ramadan must not just be limited to the act of giving donations in the form of cash and kind but should also include contributions of our positive ideas and energy for the betterment of others in our society. Definitely, the rewards are not physically tangible or immediate, but sometimes the feel good sensation felt in the heart is enough to make us wanting to do more.
Ramadan is also about fostering kinship and goodwill. It is not just about the relations among fellow Muslims, but also with people of different faiths and cultures. Islam encourages its followers to be good with all human beings. Muslims should take the opportunity during Ramadan to spread kindness and encourage peaceful and harmonious coexistence. For instance, we have seen communities organizing breaking of fast events which also include invitations to people of other faiths. Such events should be encouraged as it would allow communities to get to know each other better and also promote mutual understanding. But this must be reciprocated with also the need for Muslims to develop the understanding and have adequate knowledge of the different cultures that exist in the country. Only through this, can genuine unity be forged and kindness spread to all.
As this blessed month brings down its curtain, the process of introspection is very much needed. We need to analyze how the month has actually changed us as an individual and also as a member of the society. Ramadan would be a meaningful one to those who actually experience personal transformation of the souls and characters. In effect, these transformations will truly make us better individuals that can benefit the society and the nation eventually. Hopefully, this would truly reflect the condition of coming back to the purity of the soul after undergoing a month long spiritual journey and which is celebrated during Eid al-Fitri.