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Monday, August 15, 2011

A month to redeem

Firoz Bakht Ahmed

The month during which the gates of mercy are wide open, the gates of hell are shut and the devils are chained up is the ninth month in the Hijri calendar — Ramzan — holding special significance for Muslims. This month is the most superior of months in which Allah revealed the Quran. The

sighting of the new moon is a social event in itself. The enthusiasm is such that it is welcomed by bursting of crackers. No matter what religion, fasting from food, water and other things sets a context within which a person tries to establish God’s presence in his soul. He who fasts also knows that he has to keep away from hypocrisy, covetousness, lies, dishonesty, backbiting and evil in all its manifestations.
A fasting person feels very close to other human beings and the rest of the creation as well. He can feel the pangs of agony suffered by a beggar who does not get his food on a daily basis. He is much more forgiving and adjustable and accepting of their co-workers.

He is more liable to overlook others’ frailties, frivolities, whims and petty jealousies. He becomes truly humane.

God’s blessings and mercy are so abundant this month that anybody who truly repents becomes as free of sins at the end of the month as when he was born.

It is a glorious chance offered to us by the Almighty, a chance to cleanse and purify ourselves from the filth of sins and evil.

The Holy Prophet has advised believers: “O people . . . your back is breaking under the heavy load of your sins, so prostrate yourself before Him (in Ramzan) for long intervals, and make it lighter.”

Muslims must make it sure that Ramzan, instead of becoming a season for culinary competition, gluttony and wasteful consumption, becomes a period when the faithful not only show piety and compassion but also use the occasion to send across a strong message of communal harmony with love and brotherhood.

They must remind themselves that there are millions going hungry while they feast during Ramzan.

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