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Ramadan: The Spring of Souls is Here

“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 Qu’ran, 2:183

The blessed month of mercy and forgiveness is once again back in our life. The purpose of this great month and fasting which is prescribed in it is to make us guard against evil and thus, receive guidance from Allah. This glorious month is the period when our beloved and holy Qu’ran was revealed. The physical and mental exhaustion of fasting softens our hearts and souls, making them capable to receive guidance. As the different climatic seasons have different effects on the fertility of the soil, so is the case of our souls with respect to spiritual seasons. We see that soil becomes most fertile and most productive in the spring season. The water which falls from the sky revives the earth and makes it fertile, ready to receive seeds for growth. Likewise, our soul shows different moods in different periods of a year. Sometimes, our souls and hearts can feel hard, no word of guidance, however wise, can affect us in this rock-like state. Sometimes, we perceive a little softness and we respond to guidance, depending on the state of our souls. But, gratefully, the holy month of Ramadan is the spring time of our souls, we have the opportunity to incline more towards our Creator and have the capability to respond best to guidance. The holy month of Ramadan creates an environment of spirituality in which even the most deviated ones return to remembrance of Allah and their hearts become pliant to listening to the words of guidance.

One of the most well known exegetists of the holy Quran, Allamah Tabatabai elucidates the spiritual merits of fasting and explains how fasting results in piety and nearness to Allah (swt):

“There is no doubt that one may achieve piety through fasting. Everyone naturally feels that for union with the sublime world of holiness and for rising to the height of perfection and spirituality man should first of all restrain himself from gratifying material desires. He should keep away from satisfying the body’s lust and inclinations, and purge his soul from the love of worldly affairs. In short, he should guard himself against all such things, which may carry him away from his Lord. This is piety (taqwa) which is achieved through abstinence from lust and desires. Even more beneficial and more effective for the common man is the abstinence from common lawful desires like food, drink, and sex. This trains him to keep away from unlawful things; and creates in him the will to guard himself against sin and evil, and to come nearer to Allah. Obviously, when he accepts the words of Allah by abstaining from lawful desires, and heeds to and obeys His commandment; he will be more needful and obedient to His words in connection with sins and unlawful things.” [1]

It is mentioned in many narrations that out of all our worship, fasting is done solely for Allah. There can be a chance to show off in other acts of worship but in fasting, one must abstain from lust and material desires. Allamah Tabatabai explains this point in detail:

“Because it is the only act of worship which consists of a negative aspect only, for example, not eating, not drinking, etc., while all other acts of worship, like prayer and pilgrimage etc., consist of positive actions or are made up of positive and negative aspects. The positive actions cannot be absolutely pure in showing the worshipper’s spirit of servitude or the Lordship of Almighty Allah. It cannot be free of materialistic imperfections and limitations, and sometimes it may be done to please someone other than Allah (as in the case of hypocrisy and showiness).

But the fast is an act of worship in which one has just to abstain from lust and desire and restrain oneself from worldly matters. This negative aspect is a thing which nobody can know except Allah. It is a dealing entirely between the servant and his Lord, and therefore this worship is purely for Allah; others can have no share in it.” [2]

This great month is one of the most virtuous roads to Allah. May the weary traveler who treads on this road, find peace and tranquility and is drawn near to his Creator. May this be the season that revives his soul and reconnects him with his Creator.

“And praise belongs to God who
showed favor to us through His religion,
singled us out for His creed,
and directed us onto the roads of His beneficence,
in order that through His kindness we might travel upon them
to His good pleasure,
a praise which He will accept from us
and through which He will be pleased with us!

And praise belongs to God who appointed among those roads His month,
the month of Ramadan,
the month of fasting,
the month of submission,
the month of purity,
the month of putting to test,
the month of standing in prayer,
in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance to the people,
and as clear signs of the Guidance and the Separator!” [3]

1.     Tafsir al Mizan, Commentary on the Verses 183-185 of Surah al-Baqarah
2.      ibid
3.    As Sahifatus Sajjadia, Supplication – 44 , Supplication for the Coming of the Month of Ramadan

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