Eid-el-Fitri: Gains, benefits of Ramadan fast
For the past 30 days, Muslims all over the world have been observing Ramadan-fasting and praying. And as they celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitri, what are the gains and benefits of the season? How should adherents of the faith sustain the lessons learned during the period for the betterment of themselves, their neighbours and the world? CHRIS IREKAMBA reports.
‘Muslims Who Fasted Correctly This Period Are Nearer To Allah’
(Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, Vice President General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Rivers State)
Eidul-Fitr is a smaller festival so to say and the significance is that it marks the end of Ramadan. At this period, it is not compulsory to kill a ram or cow. How should the festival be celebrated? We are expected to praise and glorify Allah and whatever thing you were able to gather for the family, eat and enjoy with them, as well as your neighbours. It is also good to visit fellow brothers and sisters, including those sick in the hospitals, to encourage and pray with them. Muslims are expected to spend more time with their families and use the period to cement bond with one another. But do not be extravagant. The gains of this period are into two folds: physical and spiritual. The physical you can see with your eyes, but the spiritual you cannot see, as it manifests in the behaviour of individuals, who fasted correctly. If you fasted correctly in the way a Muslim should, the benefits will manifest both physically and spiritually. But if you just fasted for fasting sake, then the benefit may be one sided. If you do it like the Qur’an enjoins us to fast, by abstaining from all kinds of vices and untoward things we do and say, it doesn’t matter, such as telling lies, backbiting, blackmailing, hatred and all those things that are condemned in the holy books.
However, if you are able to keep yourself away from these vices, you will come out as a cleaner person. That is why they say, if you fast correctly, you are nearer to Allah, you are clean. And if you can continue that way, then you have achieved the purpose of fasting, which as a yearly event, is to wash away one’s sins and brings you closer to Allah. It’s like maintaining your car every six months. So, if you can abstain from food, drink and sexual activities for 30 days, why can’t you sustain it for one year or for the rest of your life? That is the message. In other words, you can do away with all those habits and you will not die. So, the purpose of fasting is for us to be cleansed and closer to Allah. And assuming all Muslims in Nigeria are able to desist from stealing, backbiting, hatred, violence and all kinds of vices, imagine what Nigeria will become? Just Muslims alone imbibing the good virtues, you can imagine what Nigeria will look like. The spiritual aspect is that there is assurance of inner peace. We know that the holy books tell us that the more you pray and submit yourself to Allah, the closer you are to Him and the more peace you will achieve because ultimately, peace of mind comes with total submission to God’s will, which every religion preaches.
But the problem is in practising it. So, Ramadan fast gives every Muslim the opportunity to make that final attempt again and reconnects with heaven. So, as a Muslim, you don’t have any reason to blame anybody that you went to hell because you have been given years of opportunity to reestablish your relationship with your Maker. For those suffering from one ailment or the other prior to the fasting period, they will be amazed to see them disappearing from your body. If we know the value of fasting, then we can use it as a form of healthcare service to ourselves. Having known the benefits, therefore, any good Muslim does not need to be persuaded to keep to the lessons of Ramadan. If you have enough food, you are expected to share with others, give to people who don’t have. The essence is for you to feel the pains of others, which will now propel you to give to those who do not have. The lesson is to be your brother’s keeper, which is why Allah reduced everybody to the level of hunger during the period of fasting. So, any good Muslims does not require to be preached to, because every good thing you do here is credited to your bank account in heaven. If you don’t have any savings, which means you lived a wicked life, of course, you know the reward of the wicked is hell.
So, the proper message is that every true Muslim should continue to live the pious life, which they acquired during Ramadan, and should not go lower. It is a standard now. During this period, Allah has set a standard for every Muslim. You are encouraged to build up your life from that standard, and not return to your former life. You have been purified; therefore, you must endeavour to sustain it. Because you never know when you are going to die. So, every Muslim is advised for his or her own good to ensure that they continue to practise the virtues of Ramadan. If 60 per cent of all Muslims in the country were to adhere to 80 per cent of the Ramadan virtues, the whole problems of this country would be reduced, because that massive number of people would affect a lot of people positively, including non-Muslims. So, what excuse do you have to kill or engage in violence or engage in hate speeches that causes societal problems?
‘Muslims Faithful Should Re-dedicate Their Lives To The Cause Of Humanity’
(Arc. Taofeek Wunmi Agbaje, National President, Jamatul Islamiyya of Nigeria/Overseas
EID-L-FITR is a month of blessings, because it is on this day that the strict restrictions (abstaining from food, drinks and pleasure) of the preceding month are lifted. Unfortunately, in some places, resumption of normal activities is misinterpreted as a licence to indulge in activities prohibited in Islam. Muslims should be made to understand the significance of ‘Eidul-Fitr. Religious observances of the ‘Eidul-Fitr are designed to offer thanks to Allah, that He helped us in accomplishing the aim of Ramadhan.
Surely, it would be an affront to Allah, if anybody, after thanking Him for completing that spiritual training, returns to sinning against Him! Such person has not known the meaning and purpose of ‘Eidul-Fitr, which provides an opportunity for us as Muslims to thank God for His blessings. It is also a time of spiritual stock-taking. After the month of Ramadan, a Muslim can now ponder over the strength (or weakness) of his will power. Actually, it is a period of sober reflection.
The well-to-do persons are enjoined to share a portion of what they have with their poor brethren. On the eve of ‘Eidul-Fitr, a Muslim is obliged to give to the needy such things as food-stuff on behalf of himself and every member of his family, including servants and guests, who were sheltered under his roof on that night. It would certainly be pleasing to God, if we did not forget these lessons after ‘Eidul-Fitr.
On this day, special prayers are held the world over, between sunrise and noon, and Muslims are expected to assemble with other adherent of the faith in large congregations, wearing their best dresses. To sustain the benefits derived during Ramadan and ‘Eidul-Fitr, we are encouraged to re-dedicate our lives to the cause of humanity, which is the best way to demonstrate our love for God. Muslims are also advised to live a life that will promote brotherly love and good of the society.
As we mark this year’s ‘Eidul-Fitr, it is very essential we pray for our country and those in government, as they need God’s wisdom to do the right. So, it is our prayer that our leaders will remember to uphold the trust (Amanah), which they have vowed to fulfil and be sensitive to the needs of those they are leading. They are supposed to be selfless in whatever capacity Allah has placed them and also ensure they keep the unity of the country intact.
Allah said in Suratul-Hujuraat Q49: 13 “O Mankind! We have created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into Nations and tribes that you may know each other. Surely the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things).” Going by the above verse, it becomes obvious that we cannot live in isolation. Our leaders should intervene in the ongoing directive by Arewa youths that Igbos must leave their region. Their existence and that of the Igbos in that region is not by their making, but the will and decree of the Fashioner of all things. This case needs to be settled without prejudice to avert disunity.
‘We Are To Be God-conscious At All Times’
(Imam Onike Abdul-Azeez, Ag. Chief Missioner, Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), World headquarters)
THE Almighty Allah Himself says in Qur’an chapter 2 verse 185, that fasting has been made incumbent on the believers for them to be “God conscious.” Numerous social, spiritual, health and economic benefits are inherent in fasting in the month of Ramadan. Man socially exhibits stronger brotherhood, rendering of assistance through provision of feeding and zakat ul fitr (alms giving related to fasting given to the less privileged for them to have the feelings of festival marking the end of Ramadan), etc. He spiritually gets closer and more connected to his Creator by engaging in various extra religious activities, such as voluntary salats, reading of Qur’an, etc. Medically speaking, he gets healthier by allowing his digestive system to have some rest during Ramadan, while economically a lot of new trade, such as increase in the business of fruits merchandise and the likes.
All elder statesmen, religious leaders and all other well-meaning Nigerians are enjoined to join the campaign against tribalism; promotion of hate speeches and drumming of war beats in Nigeria. We have no other place we can call our own. If some elders feel they are enjoying the drama, they have more to lose. A Yoruba proverb says: “You can’t have an elder in the market, while we have a new born baby not well tied to his mother’s back” (Agba ki wa loja, ki ori omo tuntun o wo).
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