After the end of the blessed month of Ramadan, it’s important to reflect on one’s performance in fasting. Fasting requires a Muslim to observe all of its elements and conditions, without which the fasting is void. During Ramadan, besides abstaining from food, drink, and other activities that can break the fast, observant Muslims have the opportunity to engage in acts of worship (ibadah) to get closer to Allah Almighty.

Some examples of ibadah include performing qiyam, reciting the Quran, doing zikr, giving sedekah, and more. This special opportunity is only available during Ramadan, as Allah Almighty multiplies the rewards for this ibadah during this month.

Fasting not only requires abstaining from things that break it, but also from sins committed through the eyes, ears, tongue, hands, and feet. The term “fasting” has its roots in the word “imsak,” which means “to abstain.” This perfectly captures the essence of the practice of fasting.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and engage in pious activities to improve spiritually, resulting in purification and good spiritual health. The spiritual well-being of a Muslim is vital as it guides them to obey Allah in all aspects of life. This is the expected outcome of Ramadan.

One of the areas that requires improvement following spiritual training is ethical conduct. The two are interconnected and spirituality can lead to a more ethical way of life. The philosophy behind fasting and all related ibadah during Ramadan demonstrates this connection. Fasting itself can inspire empathy towards the hungry and encourage charitable giving, a highly ethical value in our society.

Helping those in need is highly recommended and often obligatory in our religion. Zakat Fitrah, which we pay at the end of Ramadan, is a way to show our concern for others and bring joy to them so that they can celebrate Hari Raya with support.

The Prophet mentioned the connection between the spiritual realm and ethical values in zakat fitrah as Prophet says: “Zakat al-fitr is a kind of purification to those who are fasting and a feeding to those who are in need”. In this way, it can establish a caring society, which can evolve into a madani society with all members invested in this goal.

In Islam, there are different ways to give to charity besides zakat, such as wakaf, sedekah, and hibah. Each channel can help those in need and bring blessings from Allah. Remember that even small contributions can make a difference.

At another level, fasting is also about abstaining from obscene speech and behaving foolishly as the Prophet says: “Fasting is a shield, so the fasting person should avoid obscene speech and should not behave foolishly and ignorantly and if somebody fights with or insult him, he should tell him twice: I am fasting”.

This is the ethical aspect of fasting, which involves not only abstaining from food and drink but also maintaining patience and good conduct. Abstainingfrom food and drinks is a spiritual dimension of Ramadhan while abstaining from obscene speech is an ethical aspect of it. 

By putting this concept into practice in our daily lives, we can elevate our nation to new heights of civilization and set a standard of exemplary ethical conduct. An ethical nation stands out in the world. It demonstrates a commitment to fairness and respect in every dealing and transaction with others. When a nation upholds such principles, it earns the trust and admiration of the global community.

Ramadan is not just about fasting, it is also a month of ibadah, where one can make their best effort to get closer to Allah Almighty, it teaches us the value of feeling obedient to Allah and submitting ourselves fully to Him. 

Byembracing this physical performance, we can truly feel the presence of Allah in our actions, allowing His divine guidance to steer us towards His commandments. The Prophet, peace be upon Him, says: “And my servant continues to draw nearer to me with nawafil so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hand with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk”(Al Bukhari). This hadith means that all of our actions will be guided by Allah as a result of the continuous ibadah for His sake.

We learn from Ramadhan that besides pouring ourself in personal ritual of ibadah we should strive to embody Islamic values and treat others well in our daily lives.

Having understood this, Muslims should move forward towards transcending the spiritual realm of Ramadhan into ethical behavior, so that Ramadhan can bring benefits to society not only confined to oneself in terms of spiritual enhancement. Our religion teaches us to always maintain a good relationship with Allah as well as with humankind. — AlHijrah Online

BY: Datuk Dr Luqman Abdullah / Mufti of Federal Territory

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