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Friday, October 10, 2008

Does Ramadhan End With Eid al-Fitr?

Most assuredly you would get a "yes" answer from every Muslim you ask as to whether Ramadhan ends with 'Eid Al-Fitr. Concerning the injunctions for abstaining from food, drink and sexual contact with our spouses during the daytime, these could be easily ascertained from the Quran and the Ahadith. However,when we investigate some of the reasons that make the Ramadhan such a great blessing, we will see that its lessons should be with us every day of the year.

First of all, the fact that we spend from dawn to sunset denying ourselves the normal needs and pleasures of this world builds within us fortitude and self-discipline. This will enable us to develop the most prized virtue of patience (if Allaah wills). Allah (swt) tells us:

{O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer:
For Allaah is with those who patiently persevere} [Baqarah 2:153]

By keeping in mind that we are complying with the commandments of Allah (swt) we will remind ourselves of our purpose in seeking Allah's Pleasure. Ramadhan helps to reinforce our need to be constantly conscious of obeying Allah (swt) and be mindful of the fact that His guidance is the greatest mercy. Allah (swt) tells us:

{O mankind! There has come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing
for the disease in your hearts, and a guidance and a mercy for those who believe.
Say: In the Bounty of Allah and in His Mercy:
In that let them rejoice. that is better than (the wealth) they hoard}
[Yunus 10:57-58]

Through Ramadhan we not only realize that obeying Allah (swt) is the greatest joy, but we live and experience this obedience in a more acute sense as we restrain our desires during the course of the days of this blessed month. Obeying Allah (swt) with love and humility, which is the essence of worship, become the focal point of our lives. For that reason when asked about the end of Ramadhan, we can see that its spirit never really ends as this should be our attitude relative to worship of Allah (swt) throughout the year. We realize that it is just one more stepping stone, a large one indeed, on the path of Islam, which is instituted to assist us to achieve our purpose here in this life. Thus does Ramadhan by nurturing the virtues of patience, focusing our vision on the Guidance and the Mercy of Allah (swt) and fine-tuning our will to obey Him, instill in us the quality of character needed to truly strive in the Cause of Allah (swt). This striving in the Cause of Allah (swt), or Jihad, encompasses every aspect of our lives and is the highest achievement in a Muslim's life. Allah (swt) informs us:

{Those who believe, suffer exile and wage jihaad in Allah's cause
with their goods and their souls, have the highest ranks in the sight of Allah.
They are the people who will achieve (salvation).} [Tawbah 9:20]

The elevated purpose of striving in the Cause of Allah (swt) must reflect the lessons taught in Ramadhan. We need patience and temperance; we need to know the Guidance and the Commands of Allah (swt) as preached and practiced by the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Sallam); and we need to obey Allah (swt) and His Messenger (Salallahu Alaihi Sallam) truly and faithfully regardless of the excesses to which our own desires may be prompting us. Therefore, when Ramadhan has come to an end, let us not lose this great blessing by thinking that it is over, and falling back in our more lackadaisical ways. Let us, insha'allah, take hold of this Divine Mercy and Guidance, shape our lives around it, and become the type of human beings worthy of being called Muslims!


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