Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a blessed and sacred time for Muslims all around the world. During this month, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual activity. This is a way of demonstrating devotion to Allah SWT and as a way to increase faith.
The Prophet (s) has told us that Allah SWT says, “Fasting is Mine and it is I who give reward for it. One gives up his sexual passion, his food, and his drink for My sake. Fasting is like a shield. And he who fasts has two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The change in the breath of the mouth of one who fasts is better in Allah’s estimation than the smell of musk” (Bukhari).
Fasting is the most well-known aspect of Ramadan, and it requires self-discipline and self-restraint. These are positive traits that benefit us year-round. Yet, there are many other blessings that come with this holy month. For one, Ramadan is an optimal time to increase one’s acts of worship and to engage in spiritual reflection and renewal. Muslims are encouraged to act out of good character at all times, yet Ramadan is the great opportunity to push a bit more, striving to overcome shortcomings that we sometimes indulge in. Coupled with spending more time in prayer and contemplation, this can lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and a greater sense of connection with Allah SWT.
Ramadan is also a time of community. Muslims often gather with family and friends to break their fasts together, and many mosques host iftar dinners. This is especially important for those who may not have anyone to break their fast with. Some are converts and some live in areas where they may be a small minority. The community iftars allow them to feel connected to a larger network of Muslims, individuals and families who come together to share their faith.
In addition, Ramadan is a time of generosity and charity. Muslims are encouraged to give to those in need, whether through donations to charity or relief organizations or by volunteering their time to help those less fortunate. This focus on giving back can help to foster empathy and compassion and can lead to a greater understanding and sensitivity to the challenges faced by others.
Finally, Ramadan concludes with celebration. The end of the month is marked by the festival of Eid al-Fitr, a time of joy when Muslims come together to celebrate with family, friends, and the community. This celebration is a reminder of the blessings that come with the month of Ramadan, and of the importance of faith, family, and community in our lives.
The blessings of Ramadan are many and varied. This holy month offers a unique opportunity for Muslims to connect with Allah SWT, with deeper levels of self, and with one another. It is a time to gain greater awareness of the many blessings in our lives, and to strive to be grateful. With Ramadan again here, we should spend some time focusing on the wide scope of potential for us to grow spiritually, to increase and strengthen our acts of worship, to incorporate good character traits, and to purify our hearts. This short piece mentions the following blessings:
• increasing one’s acts of worship
• demonstrating devotion to Allah SWT
• deepening faith
• finding a greater sense of connection to Allah
• engaging in remembrance of Allah SWT and all His blessings
• spending time in spiritual reflection
• striving for spiritual and religious renewal
• practicing self-discipline self-restraint
• gaining deeper understanding of self
• increasing one’s empathy and compassion for others
• developing generosity and charity
• feeling a sense of community and underscoring the importance of faith, family, and community
• celebrating and finding joy
“If you count the favors of Allah, you cannot enumerate them. Surely, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most-merciful” (Qur’an 16:18)