Islamic Perspectives

The Qur’an and Ramadan

The holy Qur’an is the foundation of Islamic faith, a complete code of conduct for a believer. There is nothing complicated in the Qur’an that would make it incomprehensible to anyone. It addresses all aspects of human life in this world and the Hereafter. There is a description of everyone’s rights and duties. The Qur’an is the final revelation and is, therefore, a guidance for the whole humanity. It was revealed to the last messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), for whom the Qur’an says: “We have sent you forth as nothing but mercy to the people of the world” (21:107). And also: “We have bestowed upon you a Book that mentions you. Do you not understand?” (21:10); “Behold, We revealed this (the Qur’an) in the Night of Destiny. And what do you know what the Night of Destiny is? The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months” (97:1-3). Further, the Qur’an says, “All peace is that night until the rise of dawn” (97:5).

Injunctions regarding the fasting of Ramadan were revealed gradually to have a permanent impact on human psyche, human nature and on human affairs: “Believers! Fasting is enjoined upon you, as it was enjoined upon those before you, that you become God-fearing” (2:183). And then, “Fasting is for a fixed number of days, and if one of you be sick, or if one of you be on a journey, you will fast the same number of other days later on. For those who are capable of fasting (but still do not fast) there is redemption: feeding a needy man for each day missed…” (2:184).

During the month of Ramadan, the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance to people with clear signs of the true guidance and as the criterion between right and wrong: “So those of you who live to see the month should fast in it, and whoever is sick or on a journey should fast the same number of other days later. Allah wants ease and not hardship for you so that you may complete the number of days required. Glorify Allah for what He has guided you to, and be grateful to Him...” (2:185).

Fasting is a blessing in many ways as it is helpful in improving the health of a normal person. The gap between two meals (Suhoor and Iftar) is increased in fasting which is good for the digestive system. Ramadan is like a training period for the whole year. Punctuality is an important lesson of this month. Fasting creates sympathy for the poor and the hungry as the believers personally experience it during fast.

Satisfaction and sense of achievement at the end of fasting can only be felt, its description in words is not easy. Fasting is an essential exercise for achieving self-control and mental peace. Iftar parties, popular with secular political parties these days, represent an inter-community goodwill gesture and cultural speciality of India, but too much politics over it is not desirable.

Prof. Shaista Bano, Aligarh