Ramadan: A spring season to scale heights of spirituality

Muslims all over the world will start observing fasting in the holy month of Ramadan, which is due on Saturday or Sunday. This annual observance of fasting is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam. For believers, Ramadan is the most blessed month, which burns their sins and enables them to scale the great heights of spirituality.

June 26, 2014
Ramadan: A spring season to scale  heights of spirituality
Ramadan: A spring season to scale heights of spirituality

Hassan Cheruppa



Hassan Cheruppa

Saudi Gazette






Muslims all over the world will start observing fasting in the holy month of Ramadan, which is due on Saturday or Sunday. This annual observance of fasting is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam. For believers, Ramadan is the most blessed month, which burns their sins and enables them to scale the great heights of spirituality.



According to the renowned Islamic scholar Imam Al-Raghib, the word Ramadan originated from the word ramad, which means that which is intensely or vehemently heated by the sun. And the word ramdhaa means the intense heat of the sun. Ramadan was named because it burns the sins of the believers. Imam Qurtubi, another eminent scholar, said: “It (this month) was named Ramadan because it burns the sins of people with righteous deeds.”



Fasting cleans the believers’ souls and makes them more eager to enjoy the exceptionally spiritual, soul-nourishing experience of Ramadan. During the holy month, the doors of Heaven are open while the doors of Hellfire are closed. The devils are tied up while Allah increases believer’s rewards in multiples for every good that he or she does.



Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the Heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained” (Sahih Bukhari). “There is a gate in Paradise called Al-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said: Where are those who used to observe fasts? They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it” (Sahih Bukhari).



Islam is an amazing blend of materialism and spirituality. It helps believers to stand firm on earth, enjoying worldly pleasures with certain restrictions and at the same time fly high in the world of spirituality to achieve salvation. This is possible more in Ramadan as it is a time for spiritual reflection and improvement as well as increased devotion and worship. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sexual relations and sinful words and deeds.



The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities. Ramadan is the spring season of virtues. It enables believers to have a bathing of their souls in a river of virtues.



Fasting enables them to cleanse their mind and rein in their desires and temptations. It is a powerful weapon for self-cleansing in the contemporary world where selfishness and greed prevail predominantly.



Of course, one of the primary benefits of fasting is spiritual purification, the essential goal of Islamic spirituality. In Islam, fasting is the most important spiritual practice designed to empower a believer in overcoming the self and transcending the ego. Although we tend to think of the mind, body and spirit as separate components, in reality they are all connected and interrelated, and improvement in any one naturally effects improvement in the others as well. Fasting in Ramadan purifies the mind, body and spirit, and thus leading the believer to become more virtuous, pious, compassionate and empathetic. Through family and community gatherings for Iftar, the believers can strengthen the bonds of brotherhood in their own communities besides fostering amity with members of other communities.



The first and foremost objective of all worships in Islam, especially prayer and fasting, is acquiring piety and God fearing (taqwa). The Holy Qur’an says: “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Taqwa” (Sura Al-Baqara). Fasting is a special act of worship which is only between an individual and God since no one else knows for sure if this person is actually fasting. Thus God says: “Fasting is for Me and I only will reward it”. In a Hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) has said: “If one does not give up falsehoods in words and actions, God has no need of him giving up food and drink”. In another Hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s sake, Allah will keep his face away from the Hellfire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).



By fasting in Ramadan, a believer develops the noble qualities of empathy and compassion, becoming more aware of his intrinsic connection and oneness with all human beings regardless of borders or labels that create artificial separation among the members of the humanity. In other words, through fasting, a Muslim experiences hunger and thirst and sympathizes with those in the world who are poor and destitute. Through increased devotion, Muslims feel closer to their Creator, and recognize that everything they have in this life is a blessing from Him. Through increased charity, Muslims develop feelings of generosity and goodwill toward others. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “A man’s wealth is never diminished by charity.”



Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “The Prophet (pbuh) was the most generous of all people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger then used to be more generous than the fast wind” (Bukhari).


June 26, 2014
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