Ramadan: A Month of Discipline
The Arabic word for fasting is ‘sawm’. The literal meaning of sawm is to abstain. During the month of fasting, a person refrains from many things. Thus Ramadan is a month of leading a controlled life. Keeping oneself in discipline is very important. Success is for one who knows the art of discipline. One who lacks discipline cannot achieve big success. The month of Ramadan is meant as training in discipline. Discipline is important both in worldly and religious aspects of life.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Fasting creates a temporary situation where we experience that we cannot create anything on our own. When a person realizes his limitations and helplessness and discovers the truth of All-powerful God, the relationship between him and God is established and strengthened. During fasting a person is ‘cut-to-size’, thus his nearness to God increases in the process.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
The Prophet Muhammad has said, “Islam has been built on five pillars: testifying that there is no god but God, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; saying prayers; paying the prescribed charity (zakat); making the pilgrimage to the House of God in Makkah and fasting in the month of Ramadan.”
Although a building is composed of many parts, what really holds up the entire structure is its pillars. If they are strong, the whole structure will be sound. But should they be weak, the entire edifice will crumble. Those which support the edifice of Islam are of immense strength, but they must first of all be raised up by its adherents if they are to support its structure.
Man’s life is like a piece of land on which he must build a house to God’s liking. His first step must be to set up these five sturdy pillars, without which Islam cannot raise itself up either at the individual or at the community level. These five pillars—#faith, #prayers, #fasting, #charity and #pilgrimage—are meant to engender in man a lifelong piety and devotion to God.
#Faith (iman) means belief in divine truths.
#Prayer, in essence, means bowing before the glories of God, so that any sense of superiority a man may have will be dispelled.
#Fasting (sawm), with its emphasis on abstinence, builds up patience and fortitude.
#Charity (zakat) entails the recognition of other’s needs, so that what has been given to mankind by God may be equitably shared.
#Pilgrimage (hajj) is a great rallying of God’s servants around Him.
These are not mere empty rituals, but the exercise of positive virtues, the quintessence, in fact, of those qualities which our Lord wishes to be inculcated in us. If we can cultivate them, we shall be deemed to possess the divine characteristics so cherished by Islam. Thus it is true to say that faith, humility, fortitude, recognition of the rights of others and unity are the pillars on which rests the entire edifice of Islam.