Ramadan, Now and Then

Eid-ul-Fitar has just passed and now we are about to enter month of zilhaj, signifying the arrival of Eid-ul-Azha. Still the jamboree of Eid, its charm and happiness is with all Muslims and we are heading towards another. I would like to say the greatest day of sacrifice. Not in sense of any kind of fight/war but for the obedience of Allah the Creator of Universe. Eid-ul-fitar is a gift from God for all those who fast in holy month of Ramadan. This eid is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. 
What is Ramadan?
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said for Ramadan, narrated by Anas bin Malik ” One night in this month which has commenced, is ( in the point of dignity and honor) superior to one thousand months. Whoever deprives himself from attaining its auspiciousness is deprived of every facility” he added, “Only an unfortunate being is deprived of its facility”( transmitted by Ibn-e-Maja)*

Ramadan is month of blessings when God opens the gates of Heaven and closes all gates of Hell. Commencement of Ramadan brings many rewards with it. This is a month of charity, forgiveness, blessing, generosity. Its days and nights are best throughout the year. Ramadan is holy month when all Muslims are advised to fast from dawn to dusk. This month is for Ibadah ( worship God )for asking forgiveness from Him and to get Jannah ( heaven). Muslims are supposed to pray and recite as much they can. Each prayer offered in month of Ramadan is worth many in other months. This is the month when Allah completed the revelation of  Holy Quran ( the noble book). This month is hiding inside the treasure of the holiest nights of Laylatul Qadr. This month is a gift for all the Muslims, it teaches many things like; controlling our minds, hearts, our desires, to believe God strongly. 

Few decades before the Muslims were happy by listening to announcement of Ramadan and use to prepare themselves for long nights of worship, confession, obedience and days with fasting and reciting.

They enjoyed their long days of fast with hunger and thirst in world’s most hottest areas with out much facilities. They had less food to open and close fast. All night Muslims used to stand in front of God to pray and trembled in fear of hell. They wished if whole year could be Ramadan. They use to fast no matter if they are dying of sickness or hunger etc. They used to isolate and pray to make their God happy.

Contrary to that if we see around today we can understand very quickly that this month is losing its concept. Now Muslims are not taking it as a religious month for offering prayer but as month of festival. Today we emphasize more on decorating our houses , buildings and markets. We are happy with the festivity and enjoy feast of Ramadan. Now we do not emphasize much on fasting and find ways to get rid of fast and enjoy fast food and drinks. We have forgotten the fact that if we miss any fast deliberately we can not get that reward even fasting throughout year. We have uncountable dishes on our dinning tables to start or break our fast. We are enjoying our nights out in
Malls and enjoy; shopping and parties. One who will get best offers during shopping consider him/her to be the luckiest. We wait for Eid-ul-Fitar from first day of Ramadan. We are happy to socialize as much we can in Ramadan to be happy. Sadly, many companies wait throughout the year to make money during this month. Media is also playing its role to attract more people towards markets and have advertised this holy month as some type of commercial festival rather than a religious one. 
We have totally deviated from true spirit of Ramadan.

I wish we sit back and analyze our behavior as a Muslim and try to understand what we were supposed to do and why we were sent to this world. To be happy and enjoy or to make our God happy with our actions. Let us prepare for this month like companions of Holy Prophet( P.B.U.H). Take best out of this holy month by improving your grades in front of Allah. The rewards of fasting can not be measured and performing Umrah is equivalent to performance of haj.

May God bless all of us with many holy months of Ramadans and we utilize its each moment to its fullest. We can make our Ramadan productive by checking this card by productivemuslim.com

Images from:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/7149890.stm
Website is mentioned on one picture.
*. Reference used from a book: Kitab us Sayyam by Iqbal Kilani
Check some pictures of Ramadan here.

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  • Thanks for this post about Ramadan. When I was growing up, it was pretty much only with Christians in our community. We heard of Hannukah, but didn't really know any Jewish people. Now, I know many Jewish people and also quite a few Muslims. It is important that we all understand and respect the religious holidays of others. As well as the non-religious activities of our Pagan friends.

  • I am familiar with Ramadan as I had a friend many years ago who observed this. One observation I would make is that you could just as easily have been discussing Christmas. Once upon a time it was also held precious and it is heavily commercialized. You see Christmas things before it is even Halloween. It is all about the money now. Yes, I am making a generalization. But overall it is true.

  • Hello Lorraine
    Thank you for your thoughts and time.
    we can fast anytime throughout the year. But ramadan is observed in specific month according to Islamic calendar.
    All Muslims throughout the world observe it during same time,with difference of 1 or 2 days as per lunar sighting in specific area of the world.

  • A friend of mine is married to a man from Saudi Arabia, and he practices Ramadan, but he did his month of this in August. Is this a normal practice, Andleeb? To do it in whatever month you want?

  • You sound so sad! 🙁 Try to preserve the spirit of Ramadan as best you can!

  • I found this very interested. I know only the basics about Ramadan and I really got a better feel about it from your description. As others have said, I feel that as time goes by, many religious traditions shift from the pious to the more secular. I guess some view this as good while other view this as a loss. I was not raised Christian (though now that I am married, my husband is Christian), but many Christians will wish me a Merry Christmas, saying that it is really a secular holiday at this point. I'm sure this sentiment would insult the religious Christians, though I understand both points of view. I think the most important thing is to celebrate a holiday in a way that it most meaningful to you.

  • I think it's interesting that you point out the true meaning behind Ramadan is being lost for many and consumer-related activities are taking over. That seems to be something we all have in common.

  • As always very interesting Anna. I have spend several months in countries celebrating Ramadan however your post explained it in a way I have never fully comprehended before so thank you very much for that. Changing over time seems like a necessary evolution of almost everything. Sometimes it works out well, other times it can easily be argued. I wish you well.

  • This is so interesting and informative. I'm especially intrigued by the way this holiday (like Christmas) seems to have lost much of its meaning, caught up in all the commercial aspects that have little to do with the religious significance. It's hard to understand how that can happen, and yet we humans always seem to get our priorities mixed up, don't we?

  • Hi Anna, thanks for this wonderful post about Ramadan. It's important for all of us to learn and respect other cultures and religion. What I found really interesting was your sentence "This is month of charity, forgiveness, blessing, generosity". That is so similar to our Christian thinking of Christmas. Through these posts of yours I find that we may observe things differently but when it gets right down to it. we are pretty much the same the world over.

  • Hi,
    Awesome post which contain very useful information about Ramadan, Now and Then. Very intersting and informative article. I liked it. Great points included in the post.
    thanks for sharing views. Have a great week ahead.

  • As always I have learnt so much from your post…thank you for explaining Ramadan then and now. Very interesting!

  • I was glad to learn about the holy month of Ramadan. I also found it interesting — and sad — that it is becoming commercialized, much like the holy day of Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Christ for Christians. Now, the stores start advertising their wares for Christmas months in advance and it becomes all about shopping.

  • Thanks for the explanation of Ramadan. I didn't know much about it so I found your post very interesting.

  • I agree with others Andleeb, it's fascinating learning about your culture and traditions. Of course I'm familiar with the term Ramadan, but never knew the tradition behind it. Thank you for taking the time to not only explain it as it is now, but as it was originally meant to be.

  • I have visited Muslim countries during Ramadan and also I had a few students at my flight school who observed it. I saw that people really varied in their attitudes toward it. One student simply decided he lacked the strength to study and pretty much slept the days away. I learned in Malaysia that pregnant women can alter the fast so as to nourish their unborn children and I thought that was good.

  • Anna- Reading your post was inspiring and educational as I truly appreciated learning about Ramadan and the traditions of this important Muslim tradition. I agree with your wish for people to sit back, remember and embrace the observance and celebration of the holy month. Your sharing this post and asking important questions makes a difference.

  • Anna, I continue to be fascinated and enlighten the customs that you so deftly explain to us in your blogs. I think it would be a bit unnatural NOT to change over time, yes? Maybe it is how people view the change. Some might view it as progress, while others might view it as decline or the tearing away of long held customs.

  • Anna I love learning about these beliefs and customs from your blog. I had no idea of the history behind Ramadan. Sure I've heard of it and as you compared it in your post, then then and the now, I realized for certain my thinking about it is not complete.

    I was raised in my religion with certain customs that have changed over the years as well. Your post makes me wonder if this kind of thing across the world is what is making life for many so much more difficult.

    Thanks for your post!

  • Hello Catarina

    All the Muslims of the world long to visit Makkan throughout year but specially in Ramadan and some truly know why they do so or wish for and others just follow the path of their ancestors.

  • Hello Donna

    I can not agree more. Religious is not considered as spiritual connection with God and we feel a burden while following the teachings. Now we are becoming moderate in many ways even as far the religion is concerned.
    Thank you for your time.

  • Hello Majid

    You are right about that. We see a lot of excuses during Ramadan and people do not fast to please God but they just take it as a big burden and try to shed it by having a hollow and noisy Fast.

    We must remember the way of our Prophet and do not forget the teachings of islam about the true spirit of Ramadan.
    Thank you for your time.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you. The people stop their normal routine during Ramadan. Office timings are reduced. If you argue for something, mostly people reply that i have fast in a meaning , don't mess with me. The Muslims living in other countries cannot use these excuses. Someone can easily say, if you cannot work then do not make a fast. I think we have to learn the true spirit of Ramadan and have fast in accordance rather than becoming somewhat dormant.

    Majid M

  • I found it interesting to read your take on the changes over time in celebrating Ramadan. I think religious observances in many religions have changed over time, in both good and bad ways. The way almost everything has become a commercial festival is a sad commentary on our times.

  • Catarina

    The Saudis however still go to Mekkah during Ramadan. There's not one person of importance in the kingdom who doesn't go there. If it's of value to them from a spiritual point of view or not only they themselves know.