Dear brothers and sisters,
Ramadan has come and it gives us immense pleasure to share our joy with you on this occasion. Ramadan is one of the twelve months in Islamic calendar. Muslims all over the world fast during this entire month of Ramadan. They do not eat or drink and avoid conjugal relations from dawn till sunset. However, that is merely the physical aspect of the fast; the spiritual aspects of the fast include controlling all our senses by staying away from evil acts. The tongue does not backbite; the eyes do not look at unlawful things; the hands do not commit evil acts; the ears do not listen to evil and dirty talk; and the feet do not go to sinful places. Thus, every part of the body observes the fast by which purity of both thoughts and actions are emphasized while fasting. Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) said:
“He who does not stay away from indecent language and evil acts (during the period of fasting), God is in no need of his giving up food and water.”
What is the importance of Ramadan?
Almighty God says in the Quran:
“O you who have believed, Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you may become righteous…Ramadan is the month in which was revealed the Quran, as guidance to mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (to choose between right and wrong). So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast…” (The Quran Chapter 2: Verses 183, 185).
Ramadan is the month in which the word of God, Quran, was revealed. Many have a misconception that the Quran is a book for Muslims alone. The Quran introduces itself as a message of guidance sent by God for the whole of mankind to help us distinguish between good and evil.
We fast during the month of Ramadan to express our gratitude to God and to become patient and God-conscious. The end of Ramadan is marked by celebration known as Eid-ul-Fitr or the festival of fast-breaking. The day is marked by prayers to show our gratitude to God, socializing and festive meals. Before the festivities begin, every person must contribute towards a charity called Zakat-ul-Fitr by providing food to a person in need, to make sure that no poor person stays hungry during this joyous occasion.
Why did God reveal Quran? Do we need guidance from God?
You may ask “Why do we need God to tell us what is good and what is bad? Why can’t we decide for ourselves?” It is a valid question. A just and moral society requires that the individuals living in that society abide by a set of moral laws which are agreed on by everyone. The decision on what is good and bad, what is moral and immoral and what is right and wrong are decided by the people living in the society. The whole moral judgment of the society becomes very subjective as everyone has their own perception of what is good and what is bad.
For example: Incest is considered abhorrent by many countries in the world. However, there are several countries like Argentina, Belgium, Spain, Holland etc which legally permit Incest. This shows the disparity amongst the societies regarding what is moral and what is not.
When humans are themselves allowed to decide on the moral codes without any common yardstick, then, chaos, corruption, riots and disorder in the society will become inevitable because of the differences in the judging standards and criteria people adopt. Moreover, if men make laws, there is always a ‘huge risk’ of partisanship and narrow-mindedness along with selfish motives. Hence it logically follows that humans cannot rule or make laws for other humans but they must all agree to follow the laws made by a central, common, wise authority that is completely aware of human psychology and behavior.
The manufacturer knows best about the product he manufactures. And who can be more knowing about humans than the God who created the universe? God being our Creator knows what is good and bad, moral and immoral for His creation.
Now, if we may call human beings a machine, we are the most complex machine on earth because we have intellect and emotions like anger, happiness, sadness, love, hatred etc. To properly use a complex machine, we need a demo and an instruction manual. If you want to give demo for a car, you will use a car and not a bike. Similarly, God chose righteous human beings to give demo to other human beings on how to live a good life. These demonstrators were the Prophets sent by God. The Prophets were only human and they did not have any divine qualities. God sent Prophets to every country including India. Names of prophets have been safeguarded in some cultures while some have not, like India. Some of the Prophets whom we know by name are: Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Moses and Jesus. The last and final Prophet in the chain of Prophets was Prophet Muhammad. The instruction manuals given by God for our guidance are the scriptures.
What is the significance of the Quran?
Quran is the last instruction manual (scripture) revealed to mankind by God. Quran was not authored by Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). The entire Quran is the Word of God which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) through angel Gabriel. Quran has remained unchanged without any loss, amendments, additions or deletions for the last 14 centuries.
What does the Quran teach?
Quran primarily teaches us three important things. They are:
- Purpose of our Existence: Our Purpose of Existence is to worship and obey only the Creator and not the creations like idols, images, sun, star, planets, humans etc. We are commanded not to elevate anyone or anything to the status of God and not deny the existence of God.
2. Characteristics of God
A) God is only One and there is none equal to God.
B) God is not in need of anything like food, sleep, family, wife, children etc. Hence, God does not sleep, eat or have parents, wife and children.
C) Since God is all powerful and not like His creations, God does not get tired or forget or make mistakes.
D) God loves all humans, and does not differentiate on the basis of caste, colour, race or descent (vamsha/khandan).
3. LifeAfterDeath : The world will come to an end one day. All the human beings from the first man to the last will be brought back to life on the Day of Judgment and will be questioned for their deeds. People who have worshipped the One true God and did good deeds will receive a reward and people who have disobeyed God will be punished. The reward will be Paradise and the punishment will be Hell. The life in Paradise and Hell will be eternal and never-ending.
What is the proof that the Quran is Word of God? Why should we believe in the Quran?
The Quran encourages everyone to think and challenges us to pick out a single error in it. The author of this book, God says “Do they not consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from others beside God, then it would have contained many errors and inconsistencies” (Quran Chapter 4: Verse 82).
The Quran speaks about various disciplines like geology, embryology, astronomy, oceanography, law, psychology, botany, physics, zoology etc. Amazingly, the Quran spoke about several 21st century discoveries in science over 1400 years ago with 100% accuracy, which is impossible for a human being like Prophet Muhammad who lived 14 centuries ago to know on his own. Hence the Quran has to be word of God.
What is so unique about the Quran?
The uniqueness of the Quran is that it addresses the root cause of all human problems and provides practical solutions by providing complete guidance and a criterion on every aspect of human life like economics, law, trade, politics, psychology, marriage, divorce, gender issues, inheritance, counseling, parenting etc. The Quran’s message is eternal and universal, transcending our differences in race, color, ethnicity and nationality.
Our final words
Dear brothers and sisters, the Glorious Quran has come as a mercy and guidance from God for the whole of mankind. Irrespective of the religion we practice, we are all cherished by our Merciful God. The bounties and favors from God we enjoy every moment are innumerable. The least we can do in return is to be grateful to our Creator Who has given us so much and the Quran teaches us how to express that gratitude. It invites all of us to lead a life of obedience to our Creator and thus achieve peace in this world and also in the life after death. In this very month, let us commit ourselves to sincerely serve our Creator by living a life in accordance to His commandments.
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