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Preparing for the month of Ramadan
1:53pm Thursday 12th July 2012 in Thought for the week
MUSLIMS across the world are now preparing for the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Every day during this month, Muslims spend the daylight hours in a complete fast abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours.
As a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, practise self-sacrifice and detoxify the body. But it is not only Muslims that fast in order to gain closeness to God, all of the major religions have a form of fasting to promote spiritual and physical wellbeing.
Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives. We are to make peace with those who have wronged us, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits, essentially to clean up our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings very much like making a list of new Year’s resolutions and then having a month to enforce and engrain these improvements to our character.
If we are aiming towards an increased awareness of God we are expected to be forgiving of all others. I'm sure most of us can identify a person we are angry or upset with; to achieve awareness of God we must find it in our heart to forgive them, we have the whole month of Ramadan to do so.
Controlling one’s anger is a virtue, and fasting helps us increase our patience. Anger takes away one’s dignity, self-esteem, ability to control emotions and behaviour; fasting helps us to control this weakness. When we are able to tolerate hunger and thirst, we also try hard to get on with others.
Being conscious of God in all that we do is the aim of fasting. Bettering our society is one of the objectives of being conscious of God. We should ask ourselves this question every day: Has my society benefited from me? If not, we need to work harder at getting closer to God. Islam is about benefiting our society, about benefiting our country, about benefiting our world. The Prophet Mohammed tells us that the best of us are those who are of most benefit to others.
Elinor Chohan Altrincham Muslim Association.