We have entered the second 10-days of Ramadan and we pray everyone’s fast is going well!
One of the greatest lessons we should take from the fast is that the extra effort we put toward practicing the principles of prayer, fasting, community service, reading the Holy Qur’an and more shouldn’t only apply during these sacred 30 days. They should become a part of our everyday lives. If we can accomplish this goal, we will be able to guard against the satan on the inside and the satan on the outside.
Below are a few tips on how each of us can keep the beautiful principles of Ramadan going throughout the year.
“Surely prayer keeps [one] away from indecency and evil; and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest [force] and Allah knows what you do.” (Holy Qur’an 29:45).
“Surely I am Allah, there is no God but I, so serve Me, and keep up prayer for My remembrance.” (Holy Qur’an 20:14)
It is incumbent that we continue to strive hard to make our five daily prayers. During the holy month of Ramadan, many of us set our alarms for prayer and make an extra effort to perform them at the proper times. During the 30 days we are striving to do this, we are building a habit. So once Ramadan ends, we should continue that habit of prayer and do our best to be mindful of them.
Prayer brings us closer to Allah (God) and it is our direct line of communication with Him. He has blessed us with so much abundance, even in the things we don’t take much time to consider. When was the last time you thought to breathe? When was the last time you realized you had all of your basic needs met? From the blessings we consider to be tiny, to the blessings we consider to be huge –– we only have Allah to thank and praise for them all.
Furthermore, in a turbulent time such as this, where death and destruction is literally all around us and Islam is under attack, prayer is a way for us to seek refuge in Allah (God) and Allah (God) alone. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan reminded us on Day 1 of The Ummah Reflects podcast, that the War of Armageddon has already begun. Therefore, it’s more important than ever that we draw closer and closer to Allah (God).
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.” (Holy Qur’an 2:183)
“Fasting, one of the main pillars of Islam, is a principle that must be practiced by every believing Muslim. In fact, fasting has been enjoined in every age, by every prophet that has come to reform the conduct of man.” -The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, “Set Your Mind And Set Your Will For The Great Fast Of Ramadan.”
Fasting is such a HUGE principle. It not only benefits our physical health, but it also benefits our spiritual health.
In Book Two of How to Eat to Live, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad says, “Fasting is a greater cure of our ills—both mentally and physically—than all of the drugs of the earth combined into one bottle or into a billion bottles. Allah (God) in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, has taught me that fasting and the right kind of food are the cures to our ills. He has told me there is no cure in drugs and medicine. And this, the world is now learning. We can take medicine all of our lives until it kills us, but we are still ailing with the same old diseases.”
Jesus fasted for 40 days. Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights three different times. While we may not fast for that length of time, this shows us that fasting from food should become a part of our lives outside Ramadan.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us to fast once a month. He says, “Fast once a month for three days or four days—or for whatever length of time you are able to go without food without harming yourself—and you will feel good.”
He says, “But fasting, as Allah prescribed for us, is to prolong our lives with better health by eating the right food and not eating too frequently. FASTING DOES much for us. A three-day fast will tell the story, you feel better, your body begins to feel lighter and not weighty as it felt when it was filled with food: your thinking is clearer. Let us fast as often as we feel that we have not a desire for food. If you do not desire food, do not eat it. Eat when you are very hungry (of course, this does not apply to the sick, because the sick are exempt from fasting).”
On a mental and spiritual level, fasting helps us to build the will. As the Quranic verse above states, it helps us to guard against evil. Sultan Rahman Muhammad, the Student National Imam of the Nation of Islam, shares these beautiful words in the Final Call Newspaper article titled, “The Month of Ramadan: Fasting is a Shield,”
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad gives beautiful guidance in these words in His book “How to Eat to Live: Book 1,” page 46: “In this month of fasting we shall keep our minds and hearts clean” and in “Message to the Blackman in America,” page 84, He advises, Islam “heals both physical and spiritual ills by teaching what to eat, when to eat, what to think, and how to act.”
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) has instructed, “many get nothing out of the fast except hunger and thirst,” suggesting that there is no true reward or benefit in the fast for the one that is engaged in gossip, slander, idle talk, and other activities that are of sport and play. Muhammad (PBUH) in this same spirit instructs, “Fasting is a shield. During the fast do not use obscenity, nor yell at others, nor act ignorantly towards them. However, if anyone abuses you verbally or attempts to draw you to fight with him, say ‘I am fasting.’”
3. Community Service & Charity
When we look at the great figures within our faith of Islam, we see that their works surrounded the service and redemption of humanity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan all dedicated their lives to the redemption of humanity. The same goes for all of the prophets and messengers sent by Allah (God). So, if we are not serving our communities, then we are not walking in their footsteps.
Sultan Rahman Muhammad, the Student National Imam of the Nation of Islam, shares these words in the above-mentioned article:
“We remind ourselves this Holy Month of Ramadan of the Universal Mission of Muhammad and the Universal Message of the Holy Qur’an are ‘a guidance to men’ Revealed to humanity and that we are obliged to share the spirit of our devotion through the Fast of the Month of Ramadan with all of society to remake the world. The devotional force of this great Fast extends beyond the walls of our mosques, perceived borders of our communities, and nations to seek the renewal of the whole of the human race.”
Our acts of community service and charity could include gathering items from around our home to donate to a homeless shelter; giving a homeless person a plate of food; making sure to donate toward our mosque charities, organizing a concert to raise funds for disaster relief; hosting a workshop to educate our community on Islam and so much more. While our acts of service and charity should increase during Ramadan, they certainly shouldn’t stop once it ends.
4. Reading the Holy Qur’an
“This Book, in which there is no doubt, is a guide to those who keep their duty, who believe in the Unseen and keep up prayer and spend (on good works) out of what We have given them, and who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you,5 and of the Hereafter they are sure. These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that are successful.” (Holy Qur’an 2:2 – 5)
As Allah (God) tells us, the Holy Qur’an is a guide for those who keep their duty. How can it be a guide for us, unless we read it frequently? Everyday, we should strive to seek guidance from this Holy book. It brings us closer to Allah, makes us more acquainted with His Word, and increases our belief and faith.
After Ramadan ends, we could read a few verses of the Holy Qur’an once we wake up, after prayers, or before going to sleep. If we have a Qur’an app on our phones, we could read it during our break at work or at school.
There are so many other beautiful principles that the month of Ramadan puts extra focus on. How do you plan to keep those principles going once Ramadan ends?