Thursday, September 13, 2007,3:09 am
The Enlightened Soul. . .

The Holy Qur'an refers to two features of fasting in Ramadan: mental and practical. These are like the wings of a bird on which man flies through the heavenly space of spirituality in the month of Ramadan.

The Qur'an says: "Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong)." (2:185)

This means that in the month of Ramadan, one should get to know the Qur'an better and, through the clearance of guidance, take a broader view of the right and wrong of life. The Qur'an says: "O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil)." (2:183). Here the Qur'an emphasizes piety; that means fighting against and having victory over the false deity of the soul. Imam Ali (A.S.) said: "The bravest are those who gain victory over the false deity of their souls." (Safinatul-Bihar; vol.1, P.689).

In the holy month of Ramadan, human beings are the guests of God; therefore they have to be eligible for His divine honor. The Qur'an says: "We purified him so that he could be saved." (91:9) Also the Qur'an says: "We created man of the best stature. Then We reduced him to the lowest degree." (95:4-5)
God has given man the power and insight to choose his course in life. God has also given man the attribute of knowledge in an abstract form. This is the divine trust that man has assumed. The Qur'an says: "Surely We offered the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to be unfaithful to it and feared from it, and man has turned unfaithful to it; surely he is unjust, ignorant." (33:72) Satan, who symbolizes the wrong and animal dimensions of man, refused out of arrogance to prostrate before Adam and was cast out of Paradise. So, in order to retaliate, he has been tempting man ever since. For salvation, man needs the purification of his soul in addition to knowledge and insight. Such purification is obtained by having heartfelt faith in God. Man's soul should enjoin him unto good, not unto evil. He should break the chains of darkness through reflection and erase the burdens of sin through repentence, then only man can evolve to the higher realms of spirituality.

The Qur'an says: "And I do not declare myself free, most surely (man's) self is wont to command (him to do) evil, except such as my Lord has had mercy on, surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful." (12:53)
Man should not be a prisoner of his soul enjoining himself unto evil. Imam Khomeini (r.a.) said that if man wanted to attain human perfection, he should avoid worldly pleasures and strive to get nearer to God. The Qur'an says:"It is He who has placed you as viceroys of the earth....". Then how can man, as a viceroy of God, be without the attributes of his Lord?" A true man of faith has kindled the fire of faith within him, and fasting is something that enhances his faith. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Fasting is prescribed for man to purify his soul." In Ramadan, the month of fasting, you become the guest of God. Do praise Him with devotion. God will answer all your prayers in this month. Fasting is the glad tidings of God's all-embracing mercy. It is the time where breathing is also worship of Allah. It is the month whose beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end, emancipation from the fire of Hell.

Imam Ali (A.S.) asked the Prophet on the last Friday of the month of Shaaban: "What is the best thing to do in Ramadan?" The Prophet answered: "The best thing is to avoid committing sins." (Yun al-Akhbar ar-Ridha, vol.1). It is also stated that eating and drinking alone do not cause refraining from fasting. It should be known that refraining from everything that causes man to part from God is also counted. Fasting has many advantages. God calls man to His feast while he is hungry, so then man can best appreciate the value of His bounties. It is the time where man realises his significance and the significance of his Lord. He realises through his reflection how infinite is the mercy of the Creator and how unparallel are His blessings. The month of Ramadan is the spring of the Qur'an. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "He who reads a verse of the Qur'an in Ramadan is equal to having read all of the Holy Qur'an in other months." (Bihar al­Anwar, vol.16). Imam Ali (A.S.) said: "Do muse about the Qur'an whose teachings make your heart bloom with divine guidance". (Baharul-Anwar, vol.2). Imam Muhammad Baqir (A.S.) said: "Read the Qur'an while regarding God Who manifests Himself unto man in His words." Quran is guidance for all, it contains the knowledge by which one can be humbled with the remembrance of the Almighty. It is that miracle which has so many layers of knowledge and understanding to it, it is as a vast ocean of knowledge binded between the two covers. It contains the answers to our needs, the cure to our faults, the light to our darknesses and much more. It is the book which if taken in proper instruction keeps us on the 'Siratul Mustaqeem' - the phrase defined by 14 letters, implemented by the 14 Infallibles and the necessary model needed in our lives today.

On the Night of Power pray to God with all your heart and He will definitely answer all your prayers.
The Qur'an says : "Surely We revealed it (the Holy Qur'an) on the grand night. And what will make you comprehend what the grand night. The grand night is better than a thousand months. The angels and Gibreel descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair, Peace! It is till the break of the morning." (97:1-5)

A night when prayers are answered and none are turned empty handed from His door. It is narrated that every lawful wish of a servant is answered in this great night. The Angels descend on this night all over the earth and when they pass through the gatherings of believers, they send salutations and praises upon them, and consider their prayers until the dawn. Believers should keep themselves wide-awake and perform the act of worship unto their Lord overnight, especially on the Night of Power. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Those who are deprived of the divine forgiveness are indeed ill fated." He also said: "Pray to God, repent and He will answer all your prayers." (Uyun al­Akhbar, al-Rida, vol.1)

The feast of Fitr is God's reward for those who fast during the holy month of Ramadan. In this month, man should try to add to his true knowledge of God, do acts of charity for the needy renew his beliefs towards his Lord and this will be a real Bairam (the feast of Eid-e-Fitr) for him. The prayers of the day of Bairam a reason of unity and solidarity of Muslims all over the world. On this day do honor God for His endless and all-enhancing mercy.

With thanks to One who is the best of Planners
Ramadhan Mubarak!

posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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,2:24 am
Fasting: A Divine Banquet

Allah, The Exalted sent messengers and prophets as blessings to humankind, to take them out of the labyrinths of uncertainty and aimlessness, guide them to the right path and inspire in them a virtuous life, which ultimately will be of benefit in the world to come. Allah forbade mankind nothing except that which would bring certain harm; and He enjoined nothing except that which is of benefit both in this present world and the hereafter.

As part of His unbounded grace, the All Wise has enjoined the month of fasting as an obligation on all those who profess to be Moslems. Hence, fasting during Ramadhan could very well be described as Allah's banquet. It is among the wonderful aspects of Islam, which build human character and personality, and help mould social life.

A fasting Moslem experiences the aesthetic pleasure of Allah's proximity and the joy of divine blessings. The feeling thus instils the will in believers to lead a life of content, filled with remembrance of Allah and ever responsive to His command.

A Moslem who fasts, experiences feelings of great spirituality and a profound sense of exaltation. He is sure of himself and is confident of moving towards perfection, because he consciously musters all his senses to direct his powerful will to serve and please his Creator.

The benefits of fasting are not confined to one's inner self alone, but also have social effects in influencing the community as an integrated whole. A fasting community enjoys all the comforts and pleasures resulting from obedience to the Almighty Allah. Society consequently consolidates itself directing its energies towards constructive public welfare. The members of such a society feel a sense of responsibility towards each other, characterized by mutual cooperation and kindness. It is a society, which asserts its supremacy over the mundane world of matter, and feels proud of its adherence to spiritual values.

Fasting, therefore, is a duty of many benefits. It strengthens in the individual and society the will to resist temptation and defy the forces of evil, injustice and deviation. A believer's soul, having tasted the pleasures of fasting, will never submit to other than Allah, and will never
entertain the idea of worshipping other than Him.

May Allah gives us the ability to make best use of this blessed month and may He elevate our souls through our good deeds and may our prayers be accepted in this blessed month Inshallah
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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