What is Ramadan? — Muhammad Nazreen
JULY 21 — Recently, I read an article by Tariq Ramadhan entitled “What Ramadan teaches us”. It poses a very significant subject for us to contemplate. Does Ramadan empower Muslims to be respected in that sense of “holier than thou”? From the very beginning, we have failed to conceive that Ramadan is a pride of humility. From the pride of humility then comes faith. And Ramadan paves a magnanimous way for us to revamp our faith. Ramadan is not as a simple as abstaining ourselves from food and drinks. It teaches us to appreciate the value of humanity and to uphold dignity of man.
Ramadan should be respected as a commemoration of social struggles. As a month of fasting, Ramadan gives us insights on how to celebrate the marginalised, becomes a voice to the voiceless and a champion to the oppressed. These are the essences of the holy month of Ramadan. It is a journey of the mind that was predetermined by God to embrace commonalities between the privileged and the needy. By of all means, humanity is a true path to seek divine love. Without humanity, Ramadan is meaningless. Ramadan excites everyone of us to attain the profound command of spirituality as said by Mahatma Gandhi: “I learned from Husayn how to be wronged and be a winner, I learn from Husayn how to attain victory while being oppressed”.
Ramadan unveils vast meanings for us to share. First, the tradition of fasting is prescribed in many religions before and after Islam. Yet, the practices might be diversified but they entail the same meaning — virtue of wisdom. It compels every single of us to renegade the values of tolerance between us. It attributes ample evidence to transcend religious boundaries and brings a vivid and concise explanation of what religions should be respected. Of all differences, we resemble common things in embracing diversity as a universal norm.
Ramadan has created a stream consciousness for us to rethink the system. For instance, consumerism becomes a major hindrance for the development of the marginalised poor. So, Ramadan gives us chances to impose a radical structure on how we look at our society. Did we manage to capture the context of Ramadan? It juxtaposes us to sober up on how the poor are mistreated by the inequalities of the economic system. During this fasting month, we are encouraged to give more and get less. Perhaps, this might be an implicit message that we can learn from Ramadan. As economic repercussions loom everywhere, and capitalism marks its end, Ramadan bears a benevolent claim from society that we need a philanthropic nation.
Ramadan is a privilege for all of us to reaffirm our faith and belief, and disdain for our corrupted state of mind from overwhelming our conscience. It is proved in the verse below that the beauty of Ramadan is an authoritative consideration that was given by God to utilise our own reasoning. And Ramadan has never been an excuse for us to demand respect from others but it is how we build our own respect towards them. As the Quran speaks:
"The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan), he must fast that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number (of days which one did not fast must be made up) from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” (2: 185).
As the verse speaks, it clearly intends an egalitarian manner irrespective of identity and race. It bolsters feasible attempts to exert a strong understanding of its purpose to contrive the future challenges of modernity. As what Tariq Ramadhan said: “Human beings must undertake the fast in a spirit of seeking nearness to the Unique, of equality and nobility among their fellows, women and men alike, and in solidarity with the downtrodden. The core of life thus rediscovered is this: to return to our hearts, to reform ourselves in the light of what is essential, and celebrate life in solidarity.” And this might help us to redefine what is Ramadan.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.