We are in the Holy month of Ramadan already. As you read this, Muslims all over the world are celebrating the annual fasting of Ramadan. To help both our Muslim brothers and sisters understand the significance of the holy month, City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE and Senior Editor, BIOLA ORISILE not too long ago, visited the Chief Imam of Lekki Central Mosque in Lagos, Ridwan Jamiu, LLB, LLM to talk about all you need to know about Ramadan. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Ramadan is a holy month. It is a special month. It is a month of giving. It is a month of reading. It is a month of discipline. This is where the significance of the month lies. It is a month for fasting because this is the essence of what we do. We fast. We keep away from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to sunset for the sake of worshipping the God Almighty, which is Allah.
And also when the moslems are fasting, you don’t only fast physically, that is, Physical Fasting when you keep away from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations. But you must also fast Morally. You will guard your conduct, the way you behave. You don’t talk vulgar. You don’t use vulgar language. You don’t abuse. You don’t gossip. You don’t swear. You don’t curse when you are fasting. That is why your tongue too should fast. Also, the eyes too should fast. You should not look lustfully at women; your ears too should fast. You should not listen to gossip. You should not listen to things that are bad. That is fasting in essence.
Then, the month of Ramadan is the month of Giving. If a person is unable to fast, because of age or because of ill health, he/she must Give. You either Fast or you Give because Islam believes in sharing. When you share what you have with others that is when you can obtain Happiness. The happiness that you have shared with others is the real happiness.
A happiness that is not shared with others is selfishness. Whatever you have, you have to try and share it with others. If one is unable to fast, one is supposed to give something in lieu of that, on the number of days that you Muslims observe the fast. If you fast too and you also give it is good. You are doing something great because the Prophet told us that anyone who gives, or provides a meal for a fasting person you have reward equal to the reward of a fasting person. It is often said that Givers never lack. Givers never lack because angels are praying for them and God is especially blessing them. So one is expected to be charitable in the month of Ramadan, to everyone, particularly to the poor and the needy and we know what is going on in the country right now.
People are in hard times. These are the times when you need to be generously charitable to people. So that is the 2nd significance and essence of Ramadan. The 3rd is that Ramadan is the month of reading. What should we read? You read the book of God. That is the Koran. We believe Koran is the final revelation, final testament. God gave Moses a book which is Toaratah. It was the book meant for the world then. God gave Jesus, that is Prophet Issa, Injil, a book which is the Gospel. The Injil is in Arabic. It was meant for the world, to guide the world, during His time. Now, the familiar prophet was Mohammed, God gave Him a book too to guide mankind, that is the Quran. This is the month in which it was revealed. The gospel of Jesus Christ was revealed in the month of Ramadan. The Taoratah of Moses was revealed in the month of Ramadan. The same thing, the life testament of God to mankind is the Qoran was also revealed in the month of Ramadan.
So, every Muslim is expected to be connected with God through the Quran this month, by reading as much as possible from it, not only reading, but reading in other to understand, so that it will be implemented because that is what the book is meant to do, because some of us are religions we are not Godly. We are religious, we are used to the religion, but we are not Godly, because our conduct, does not really show that or sound like we truly believe in God that we claim to worship every time. So that is the 3rd significance of Ramadan and how a Muslim is expected to live with it.
The 4th is that Ramadan is the month of praying. We pray not only the obligatory prayers we know, 5 times a day, we also pray for God’s blessings, because this is a month of blessings.
At a time like this, sins are greatly reduced throughout the world. Muslims constitute one fifth of the population of the world and if this one fifth of the population of the world refrains from committing sins, when you don’t commit sin, blessings of God come down to you, and this blessings should not be understood in material terms only. Blessings do not have to be in material terms. No. The greatest blessing is when you get to heaven because after all we came to this world empty handed, when we are leaving too, we would leave empty handed. So, the greatest favour of God is for you to find yourself in heaven.
So, blessings of God are descending this month, so a Muslim is expected to pray, we must pray for ourselves, pray for our family, pray for our relatives, our neighbours, we pray for our colleagues at work, and we pray for the country too.
And finally, the month of Ramadan is the month of discipline, to have control over the way we behave. You don’t fight when you are fasting. You don’t commit adultery. You have to avoid it completely, when you fasting. You don’t oppress anyone when you are fasting. It is not permissible to oppress anyone; It is not permissible to commit adultery, especially in the month of Ramadan. This is meant to discipline us so that the next 11 months that are coming before another Ramadan, we would have got are used to it, that this is how we have to live our lives in Holiness.
God has given us this special time to discipline ourselves so that we would be able to have control over our Passion and Emotion, so that we would become better persons and better individuals in the society, so that we would be of benefit to ourselves and also benefit humanity. So this is how a Muslim is expected to relate with others in the month of Ramadan, he/she should regard Ramadan as a month of Fasting, as a month of giving, as a month of Reading, as a month of Discipline as a month of Praying.