Let peace fill our hearts this Ramadan.
Ramadan, the holy month, is significant to Islam since it was on Laylat Al-Qadr (the night of power) - one of the five nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan - that the holy book was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A time for reflection and sharing, it is a month of fasting which has more to do with purification and less with penitence. The contrast between the solemnity and austerity of the day's fast and the joyfulness that follows is heartening. In fact, the nightly iftars - gatherings where there is feasting and socialising - are as important as the fast and it is this that makes the month special. The way the devoted give themselves up completely during this month to understand, experience and enhance their faith is inspiring. The observance of Ramadan, one of the five pillars of Islam, is at the core of the religion with faith, prayer and charity forming the basis and fasting the guiding tenet. More than the physical aspects of Ramadan such as abstaining from food and giving up on the material aspects of life, the thawab (good deeds rewarded by Allah), the zakat (provided to the needy), refraining from evil actions, thoughts, or words and reading the Holy Quran gain importance.
Reading the holy book will provide a better understanding of what is written, enabling the faithful to disregard the convoluted interpretations gaining popularity among certain sections of people. The month of fasting, prayers and of togetherness is also a time for spiritual growth, a time to evolve ourselves as better human beings. A period of 30 days when the gates of heaven are believed to be open is an opportunity to get closer to the creator through good deeds and good practices. But the spirit should stay even after the days of fasting, so that we continue to surrender to the higher authority filling our hearts with peace and spreading the message of love in a world torn by strife and intolerance. This Ramadan, let us set our eyes on being better people whatever religion or nation we may belong to.