RamadanWorld News

The Divine Banquet of Fasting (23)

The Grand Night of Ordainment

“O Allah, wash me clean thisday from sins; purify me thereinfrom all defects; test thereinmy heart for Godwariness: OPardoner of the lapses of the sinners.”

The 23rd of Ramadhan is indeed the Grand Night, or more properly the culmination of the Grand Nights that we observe on the 19th and the 21st of this blessed month. We indeed emerge fresh every year after spending these three nights in prayers, supplications, recitation of the holy Qur’an, doing good to others, taking stock of our life of the past year with a view to reform ourselves, and of course, listening to the discourses on the exemplar life of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the Infallible Imams of his progeny, especially of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), who, following the fatal sword blow that he was struck by a renegade while performing the Morning Prayer on the 19th of Ramadhan, attained martyrdom on the 21st. These days, when we are passing through a really hot summer, not just in Iran, but in many parts of the world, let us listen to a hadith from Prophet Mohammad (SAWA)

“The one who feels thirsty while fasting for the sake of God in hot days, God will assign one thousand angels to wipe his face and give him tidings till he breaks the fast, saying: O my angels testify that I forgave him.”

God Almighty is indeed kind, and He has given tidings to us of paradise for the works that we do sincerely for His sake. This means that the month of Ramadhan is indeed the month of blessing. Although God has decreed fasting forall those who have reached the age of puberty, He has exempted from fasting the sick, the feeble, the very old, the travelers, the pregnant women, those who give suckle to infants and those passing through their monthly cycle of menstruation. Although fasting appears to be refraining from food and drink and keeping away from certain bodily pleasures during certain hours, this wonderful act of worship is far greater in magnitude. A fasting person feels exalted internally and is evident that he or she has attained the proximity to the Almighty by keeping away from evil and other vain acts.

On the other hand, a fasting person who merely keeps away from food and water, but does not keep his eyes, ears, and tongue, away from evil, deceit and mischief, is deprived of spiritual benefits. According to a narration there was a woman in the days of the Prophet who despite fasting used to regularly insulted and upset others. When the Prophet heard this he called that food be brought and placed before the fasting woman. The woman was surprised and said: O Prophet of God I am fasting. The Prophet said: how can you claim to be fasting while you were insulting and abuse others; beware that fasting is not merely refraining from eating and drinking.

The natural result of faith in the Omnipresent God is proper cognizance of Him and reliance upon Him in all affairs. Trust in God has excellent spiritual and social impacts on human being. Therefore one of the basic objectives of Islamic teachings is to strengthen relationship between human beings and God. For, this relationship guarantees the health and prosperity of mankind and society. Belief in the fact that the All-Wise and All-Omnipotent God observes every minute affair, even whatever is in our hearts or flashes across our mind, acts as self-control for us. Such persons acquire tranquility of heart and real peace of mind.

One of the examples presentedby the holy Qur’an of such a person is Prophet Abraham to whom God had revealed heavenly scriptures in this very month of Ramadhan.When the tyrant Nimrod ordered Prophet Abraham to be thrown into a huge fire, the young Abraham was calm and composed and did not panic because he had profound trust in God. He only sought refuge with God. Thus, when he was flung into the fire through a catapult, before he could land in the blazing inferno, God decreed the fire to turn into a cool garden and a safe place for Abraham. The enemies were surprised and shocked but they couldn’t do anything. In ayah 69 of Surah Anbiya, God says:

“We said: O fire! Be cool and safe for Abraham”

However, trust in God does not mean that we should ignore the use of our God-given faculties. Life requires the proper use of the facilities that God has put at our disposal. Therefore we should first have firm faith in God and then strive as was practically taught by all Prophets, including Abraham and the Last and the Greatest of them all, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

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