This article was translated from Arabic
Ramadan, a guest inspiring motivation
By Dr Salah Eddine Arkadan*
Every year, we receive a generous honourable guest who awakens us from the indifference of daily life, to the realm of the heavens. An awakener that reminds us of the Book of which falsehood shall not affect it from before nor behind it.
We welcome the holy month of Ramadan, which Allah has enjoined upon us to fast its days, for He Almighty said: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month” [Qur’an 2:185].
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, taught us to perform prayers during its nights. He (pbuh) said: “Whoever spends the nights of Ramadan in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven” [Al-Bukhari/Kitab Al-Iman].
This is the month in which the mosques become full…
And voices therein are raised with the remembrance of Allah…
And all forms of goodness, charity and service to others are increased, during the day and night.
In Ramadan there are manifestations of goodness that we do not see in other months, such as upholding ties of kinship, good neighbourliness, showing support and solidarity with those in need, withholding anger, forgiving the wrong-doer, and other virtues of the ideal Muslim society.
Ramadan brings forth, like other forms of worship, lessons to Muslims in particular, and to humanity in general. These Ramadan lessons brought us a civilisation that is still awed and revered from humanity for its magnificent achievements in every field of human endeavour. Starting from the elevation of faith and the system of worship, through to intellect and knowledge, to the roots of technical progress and human development.
Islam prevailed during the fourteen centuries by inspiring intellectual freedom, whereby Allah (swt) said: “There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower” [Qur’an 2:256]; and the launch of human rights, as in the words of the Caliph Omar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him: “Since when did you enslave people who were born free!” Indeed, compulsion and coercion undermine the validity of what is said and acted, as is known in Islamic law.
Islam began as an orphan and a stranger, it began with a man, a woman and boy. They were: The Prophet (pbuh), Khadijah al-Kubra, the mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her, and Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. Its followers faced every form of hardship, rivalry and hostility from Quraysh and its allies. Then the few vulnerable Muslims emigrated from Makkah to Madinah…they emigrated to Allah and His messenger. There, in Madinah, they set up the first Islamic community, in which they wanted a community reflecting the faith, in words and action. It was a society that did not live up to the values of intellectual luxury or social planning submerged in idealism, but rather, lived the practical application of Islam in every step, every word, every professional and social interaction, and in every act of worship they performed for Allah.
Thus, Madinah became a unique place, a living perfect example, which was attractive to every human being looking for the truth, such as Salman the Persian (Salman al-Farisi); or for justice, such as Suhaib the Roman (Suhaib al-Roumi); or for freedom, like Bilal the Ethiopian (Bilal al-Habashi).
*Dr Salah Eddine Arkadan was born in Saida, Lebanon. He studied Tarbiya and Sharia in Lebanon and Syria; and obtained a PhD from Glasgow University in Qur’an interpretation. He has been working as a Professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait since 2002.
Muslim Association of Britain
21st May 2018 | 5th Ramadan 1439